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CEO, Matthew Collins, answers your frequently asked questions
Our current funding comes from 4 primary sources.
multiple private donors: 4%
a single private donor: 35%
corporate funds: 60%
Private donors are critical to our mission.
Private donor involvement is all about sharing the vision and mission of Spirit of Wellness with others who will join us on our journey as we create opportunities for lasting change in the communities we serve.
Carrie, a tireless volunteer and donor, in front of one of the many beautiful murals of Ecuador.
Our needs are best broken into two areas.
FUNDS (money) to help build a safety net for our current programs as well as to help us build the infrastructure for future programs.
PARTNERS (people) to help us reach our mission goals.
Spirit of Wellness is comprised of a fully volunteer staff.
Having a localized, full-time, salaried Executive Director would be a game changer for growth and continuity.
This is me, Matt, in our office in Ecuador.
We are enormously proud of the Olón Community Foodbank.
Started at the request of, and in partnership with, the Olón Comuna (similar to a town council), Spirit of Wellness has taken the foodbank from a mere wish to a fully functioning food distribution center that has been able to increase its beneficiary roster by over 40% in less than a year and a half of operation.
Not only does the foodbank provide much-needed nutritional support to vulnerable residents, it serves as a vehicle to educate and train local business members through our Community Development Internship Program.
Food distribution is well underway with the Community Development Interns in full charge.
The foodbank and the accompanying intern program are rapidly becoming models that other communities can replicate to provide food security and other programs to their own residents.
The foodbank serves over 70 families helping to alleviate food insecurity in a region with no social safety-net programs and the intern program is currently at full capacity training 4 future leaders who are already planning their own community projects.
Community Development Interns during an initial meeting to discuss future plans.
The core long-term vision of Spirit of Wellness is to enable the children and families in Coastal Ecuador to receive relevant education that will provide them opportunities to earn decent wages ensuring lives of quality and dignity.
Through our work in Ecuador, we have learned that before we can go directly to the development or implementation of educational programs, basic needs must be addressed. These include food security, sound nutrition, safe school facilities, and language skills.
For Spirit of Wellness, there is an opportunity to forge better connections with the Ministry of Education and local school officials to help improve some of the basic infrastructure of the educational facilities.
For example, Spirit of Wellness receives ongoing requests from local school officials at all levels of education for financial help for projects ranging from the construction of safe bathrooms to the procurement of functioning computer equipment.
We strongly believe, a belief supported by numerous studies, that STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) education needs to be introduced in the 3rd grade and then carried through to the secondary level in order to make a difference. It is imperative that we start early to lay the foundational path for children to follow towards success.
At this time, Spirit of Wellness is addressing needs ad hoc, as they are identified. We are essentially fixing the large pot holes instead of building the new road.
Our goal, and what we are working towards doing better, is to stop fixing pot holes and to start building a sound road that will serve the community for generations to come.
Business class students voice their hopes for the future.
Spirit of Wellness's ultimate goal is to establish a vocational/training school (or schools) in Ecuador that provide practical training in various fields to help improve employment opportunities for Ecuadorians. The schools will cater to underprivileged individuals who can't afford expensive education and training programs.
The purpose of this strategic plan is to outline our approach to achieving this objective over the next five years.
Our mission is to provide quality vocational education to underprivileged individuals in Ecuador, to enable them to obtain employment or start their own businesses. We intend to create a space and programs that will build leadership and educational opportunities.
Our vision is to create a world where everyone has equal access to opportunities for personal and professional development. We envision all children achieving their dreams.
1. To establish a fully operational vocational/training school with modern facilities and equipment within the next two years.
2. To provide training in at least three high-demand fields that are relevant to the local job market. This will include STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), English language and vocational trades.
3. To have at least 100 students enrolled in the school by the end of year two.
4. To partner with local and international business leaders, advisors/donors and the Ecuadorian Ministry of Education to ensure that we are providing a best in class and appropriate education.
5. To ensure that the communities we serve have resources to achieve food security, health education and wellness checks.
6. To achieve financial sustainability within five years of operation.
1. To identify potential locations for the school that are easily accessible for the target population.
2. To secure funding and support from local and international organizations.
3. To hire a team of experienced educators who can design and implement a comprehensive curriculum.
4. To develop partnerships with local businesses to provide internships and job placement opportunities for graduates.
5. To establish a sustainable revenue model that includes grants and donations.
1. Conduct a needs assessment to identify the most in-demand vocational fields in the region.
2. Develop partnerships with local and international organizations to secure funding and support.
3. Hire a team of experienced educators to design and implement a comprehensive curriculum that includes both theoretical and practical training.
4. Collaborate with local businesses to provide internships and job placement opportunities for graduates.
5. Establish a marketing and outreach plan to promote the school and attract potential students.
6. Develop a fundraising plan that includes both short-term and long-term strategies.
7. Implement a financial management system to ensure financial sustainability and accountability.
1. Conduct a needs assessment to identify the most in-demand vocational fields in the region.
2. Identify potential locations for the school and evaluate their accessibility and suitability.
3. Develop partnerships with local and international organizations to secure funding and support for the school.
4. Hire a team of experienced educators to design the curriculum and select teaching materials.
5. Develop a marketing and outreach plan to promote the school and attract potential students.
1. Begin construction of the school and purchase necessary equipment and materials.
2. Develop partnerships with local businesses to provide internships and job placement opportunities for graduates.
3. Launch the first set of vocational training programs.
4. Recruit and enroll at least 100 students.
5. Establish a sustainable revenue model that includes grants, and donations.
7. Conduct a midterm review of the school's progress and performance.
1. Complete construction of the school and hire support staff.
2. Expand the school's programs to include additional vocational fields and certification courses.
3. Establish a network of alumni and partners to promote the school and support its growth.
4. Develop a fundraising plan that includes both short-term and long-term strategies.
5. Implement a financial management system to ensure financial sustainability and accountability.
6. Develop partnerships with local and national government agencies to expand funding opportunities.
7. Conduct an annual review of the school's progress and performance.
During the past two years we have been busy laying the groundwork for our ultimate goal of establishing a vocational/technical training school that can be replicated throughout the regions we serve.
We have established partnerships with the local community and have begun to offer courses, programs and assistance that demonstrate our commitment to providing the resources necessary to achieve our mission.
The establishment of a vocational school in Ecuador will provide
opportunities for underprivileged individuals to acquire practical skills and knowledge that will enable them to gain employment or start their own businesses.
This strategic plan outlines our approach to achieving this objective over the next five years.
During my military service in South America, I had the great fortune of spending time in Ecuador.
I found Ecuador to be an amazing place with even more amazing people who are living in an interesting dichotomy. They desire to preserve their historical way of life and a richly diverse environment while understanding the real need to make 21st century wages.
Because of the strong focus on maintaining their heritage, many young Ecuadorians are not presented with avenues to obtain the skills and gain the knowledge that is required to take advantage of all the opportunities that exist in today’s world.
Coastal Ecuadorians do not have any modern industries or access to an advanced educational system. They lack basic resources (such as access to the internet) to either earn 21st century wages or learn 21st century skills.
The Ecuadorians desperately want to have financial security but not at the expense of their environment. Tourism is the main economy, but even so, the global brands and resort hotels are kept away to preserve the local way of life. This means that many who work in the tourism industry, are paid very little, often barely enough to feed themselves and never enough to support a family.
The local Ecuadorians where we work desire better schools and support. Yet, they are not asking for “hand-outs”. They seek partners and collaborators that can help educate their youth and young adults and guide them to resources so that they create their own solutions to preserving their heritage while adapting to a modern world.
To accomplish this, organizations and individuals with knowledge and resources are needed.
As a trained engineer, I have a passion for STEM education and technical trades training. I understand the desperate need for this kind of education to be introduced into the Coastal Ecuadorian school system and the importance of a dedicated training center to build on the education introduced in the primary grades.
The local community leaders have echoed both the need and desire to partner with Spirit of Wellness to develop a true technical/vocational center.
Unfortunately, as I share this long-term vision of an educational center with you, we must address the current lack of basic school facilities and help with school improvements before more sophisticated educational programs can be introduced.
One of the many beachfront "Cabana" restaurants run by local families.
Little Stars of Knowledge Learning Center requests safe bathrooms.
Resources paired with dreams equal safe bathrooms for the school.
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Spirit Of Wellness - All Rights Reserved.
Spirit of Wellness is a 501(c)3 organization registered with the IRS; all donations are tax deductible.