La Escuelita de Esperanza
La Escuelita de Esperanza is an after-school arts and literacy program in a community of impoverished Nicaraguan immigrants in San José, Costa Rica. It was started in June of 2005 by Elizabeth Bakalyar on the second floor of a church in the community. Over the next 14 months, the program grew to be an important fixture in the community; the children of Proyecto Cristal do go to school, but only for half the day, and the Escuelita became a safe space for the children to play, read, get help on their homework, and do art projects. In July of 2006, Morgan Leap came to take over the position of program director. Under her leadership, the program has grown to serve 120 children in the community between the ages of 2 and 15. Recently, it has become necessary for the program to move out of the church, both for the needs of the church and because the program needs a much larger space in order to serve the community effectively. Morgan and Elizabeth are currently in the process of finding funding for a new space so that this important program can continue. Elizabeth's home church has graciously been acting as the nonprofit organization for the Escuelita while we seek official non-profit status in Costa Rica.