The community development organization Abriendo Mentes announced Monday that it has officially been approved to receive nonprofit status in Costa Rica.
Founded in 2009, Abriendo Mentes has been providing educational and community development programming in the rural beach villages of Potrero and Brasilito, and it is a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit in the United States.
The process to become a legally registered nonprofit organization in Costa Rica can last many, many months, but it is a designation important not only to Abriendo Mentes’ ability to receive financial support from sources within Costa Rica, but also cements the permanency and legitimacy the organization has worked hard to attain in Guanacaste.
Says founder and U.S. Board President Meradith Leebrick: “We are thrilled to have received this meaningful recognition in Costa Rica. Achieving this milestone will not only open new doors for organizational growth and development but also demonstrates our commitment to putting down long-term roots in Costa Rica and continuing to pursue new avenues with which to enhance our programming and further support our participants.”
Lindsay Losasso, project director and Costa Rican board president, hailed the news as a great accomplishment for the organization and said it is eager to explore the many new opportunities this recognition will bring to the organization.
“Attaining this status shows the local community and our supporters how much importance we place on officially being recognized as a Costa Rican organization, a step that we know will only allow us to better serve our students and program participants,” she said.
Bidiel Moreno Peralta, a lifelong Potrero resident and Abriendo Mentes’ board member, is also the father of two students who receive classes with the organization. When asked about the significance of the new status, Peralta spoke of the importance of Abriendo Mentes to him and his family, stating “For my part, I’m very grateful to Abriendo Mentes because if it had not been for AM, my daughter Verenice would not speak English or be able to be completely bilingual because she would be lacking the education…nowhere can you find access to English for free for children in this town.”
With the stability that this new status brings, it is the hope of Abriendo Mentes that programming will be available to children like Verenice for many years to come, the orgnization said.
Since its inception in 2009, Abriendo Mentes has quickly grown from small, informal tutoring sessions run by founders Ms. Leebrick and Drew Ragland into a fully operational, multi-site community development nonprofit. This growth was spurred by requests from the community and programming decisions continue to reflect the changing needs of the communities of Potrero and Brasilito.
Abriendo Mentes programs include youth and adult English classes, a technology center, community fitness classes, a women’s social enterprise project, Mujeres Activas de Potrero, and much more.