Brillo de Sol USA
Check out Brillo de Sol USA’s 2015 Annual Report.
Brillo de Sol, Inc. is organized exclusively for charitable and educational purposes, supporting and advancing the education, health and quality of life of children with special needs and disabilities in Guatemala, including:
1. Fundraising, educational and other support to:
• Provide scholarships and other direct tuition assistance to children attending Asociación Brillo de Sol School, a registered Guatemalan non-governmental organization operating a school for children with special needs located in San Gaspar Vivar, in the municipality of La Antigua, Sacatepéquez, Guatemala.
• Provide funding to Asociación Brillo de Sol for capital expenditures, instructional expenses of the school, and for administration of other programs designed to promote and foster special education teacher training and services.
• Educate and provide information to the general public about the educational, social, and health needs of families and children in Guatemala.
2. To recruit and coordinate the efforts of volunteers and professionals from the USA and Canada to assist Asociación Brillo de Sol and its partner organizations in providing educational and health services to children and families in Guatemala.
3. To promote and improve the Education and Health of indigenous communities in Guatemala and to cooperate with other agencies or groups delivering education and health services that augment or support Asociación Brillo de Sol’s programs.
A copy of our IRS 501 (c) (3) determination letter can be found by clicking this link: 501(c)(3) Determination Letter
Board of Directors
Joe comes to us with 25 years’ experience in accounting, information systems and operations management in both the non-profit and for-profit sectors. He has served in a number of volunteer roles over the years, including many years as a board member and finance committee chair for a Catholic Elementary school in Baltimore Maryland, as a Scout leader, and most recently as a volunteer with our partner organization, CasaSito, developing a curriculum and mentoring young entrepreneurs. While there, he worked with Letty to formalize business processes and practices and assisted with the process of organization and recognition of Asociación Brillo de Sol as a Guatemalan ONG. He is currently living in Baltimore, Maryland where he runs an IT consulting business. He holds a degree in Accounting from Loyola University in Maryland and an MBA from Babson College in Wellesley, Massachusetts.
“When I first encountered the children from Brillo de Sol at the CasaSito Festivals, and watched how they looked out for each other, I knew this program was something special. Letty and her team have worked hard to grow the program, improve its organizational and educational capabilities, and are working hard to put Brillo de Sol on a sustainable path for many years to come. Its been a privilege to be a part of these changes over the past couple years. We have a terrific team on the USA board and thanks to the help of our friends and supporters in the USA and Canada, the future looks bright for the school and the children and families we serve.”
Colleen joins the Brillo de Sol board with over twenty years of sales, marketing, brand management and product development experience. She currently works for the State of Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene as the Marketing Specialist for the WIC (Women, Infants & Children) Program. Colleen is a graduate of Loyola University in Maryland and holds a degree in Communications with a concentration in advertising and public relations.
“I was inspired by the stories of the children and staff of Brillo de Sol. I passionately believe in education and its power to transform lives. It’s a privilege to serve on the American Board of Directors; in the words of the great Mahatma Gandhi, “the best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”
Christiane is a speech-language pathologist and clinical educator at the University of Wyoming. She supervises graduate students’ clinical practicum in English and Spanish, and advocates for disability rights both in the United States and abroad. Christiane visited Brillo de Sol for the first time in January 2012 and began fundraising for the school that same year, involving both elementary school children and undergraduate students in Wyoming.
“I feel honored to be serving on the board of directors of Brillo de Sol. As fellow speech therapists, Letty and I connected really quickly. Her founding and successfully running a school for disabled children is such a unique accomplishment, in the absence of the kind of legislation that we have in the US, such as ADA or IDEA. I wanted to contribute to the success of this school that allows these awesome children to obtain an education and with that the opportunity to find jobs upon graduation.”
After serving in the United States Navy and a number of years in the wireless industry, Jaime earned his Master’s degree in Library Science from The Palmer School of Library Science and Information, Long Island University. Afterward, he volunteered for our partner organization, CasaSito as a librarian, then went on to a full time job with CasaSito heading up El Plan Infinito, a community center in nearby Santiago Zamora. There, he coordinated the reading and after-school programs, organized community events and health programs, and partnered with the village elementary school on a number of projects. He was also mentored students in both the Debate Club and Entrepreneur programs. Jaime currently live in Baltimore, Maryland and works as a Librarian at the Maryland Institute of Integrative Health.
“The first time I met Letty, I was touched by the caring and warmth she shows not only to the children, but to everyone around her. Brillo de Sol is a special place. Children that would otherwise be given up on receive the nurturing, education, and values to enable them to be responsible and productive adults.”
Letty López Contreras
Board Member; Founder and Executive Director of Asociación Brillo de Sol, Guatemala
A therapist, she found her mission a long time ago providing education to children with different forms of learning. She began the school with a positive attitude, 2 tables and 8 chairs. As a result Letty’s leadership, Brillo de Sol has grown to over 50 students in the school, added an early learning program, plus programs for speech therapy, psychology, teacher training, parent education, cooking classes, karate , and other academic support. Through various means, she carries the message of how important it is to provide special education opportunities in Guatemala and informs families about the strengths and minds of their children. She is a tireless champion for these children, constantly reminding people of the gifts and potential they possess.
“I work every day to maintain excellence in education and rehabilitation of our students, always ensuring that their education is appropriate to their needs, they learn values such as respect for diversity, develop their critical thinking skills, that they realize how bright they are and, above all, to see life with joy.”
Cristy brings a wealth of different experiences to the board. She is a small business owner, has sold real estate, worked in a law office, attended law school and studied systems engineering. Born and raised in Guatemala, and having spent much of her childhood and young adult life there, she is deeply familiar with the language and the culture. As a single mom who raised a son with special needs, she knows first-hand some of the struggles children with special needs and their families face. Currently she runs a business specializing in computer and network maintenance and repair in Auburn, California.
“I think that every kid in this world has the right to shine, they just need to be given the opportunity. I’ll love to see those little kids with better opportunities through Brillo de Sol.”