Brillo de Sol USA


Brillo de Sol, Inc. is a US nonprofit organization established 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 

  Brillo de Sol 2020 Annual Report


Board of Directors


SabrinaSabrina Cooper


Sabrina is from Toronto Canada and  has been a Registered Dental Hygienist for over 20 years and is a Certified Culinary Nutrition Educator. Her passion for health and mindfulness meditation has led her to lead mindful eating nutrition workshops for youth and adults.   She has a not for profit The Nourish Well Community Project that provides healthy food initiatives for youth and families in local low income communities. Sabrina has been a volunteer with St. Johns Ambulance Dog Therapy program for 10 years with her dog Chico, visiting local long term care facilities.  

Together with her husband Steven Cooper (board member) they have volunteered with Global Dental Relief providing dental care to children in need in the rural areas of Guatemala. They also had the opportunity to visit Brillo de Sol and spend time with the students and staff helping in many ways. After their numerous volunteer trips to Guatemala they are pleased to have the opportunity to get more involved and continue efforts to support Brillo de Sol, the school they fell in love with.

Joe Phebus


As the founder and past-president of Brillo de Sol USA, Joe comes to us with 30+ 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 as a volunteer with our partner organization, CasaSito, developing a curriculum and mentoring young entrepreneurs. While living in Guatemala, 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 runs an IT consulting business specializing in retail systems and finance.  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.  It has been a privilege to be a part of these changes.  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.”     

Brian-NocellaBrian Nocella


Brian hails from New Jersey and currently lives in London, UK. He works in development and events for his alma mater, the London Academy of Music & Dramatic Art (LAMDA), the UK’s oldest drama school. He studied at Syracuse University and LAMDA, and most recently received a Master of Arts in Cultural Policy, Relations & Diplomacy at the University of London, Goldsmiths. Brian also has worked extensively in study abroad and international education. In an endless desire to ‘see the world and understand its people,’ Brian has traveled to sixty-five different countries. He first fell in love with Brillo de Sol in 2016 during a stay in Antigua while studying Spanish.

8a888bd6-b839-414d-81be-4597e12deb85[1]Michael Fraas

Board Member

Michael is a speech-language pathologist and received his Ph.D. in Communication Sciences and Disorders from the University of Cincinnati in Ohio. He has 21 years of clinical experience working with individuals across the life span. Michael’s research has focused on the areas of cognitive-motor interference following stroke, cognitive rehabilitation, concussion in sport, and narrative medicine-based approaches for meeting the needs of adults with acquired brain injury. He is a member of the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine, and is actively involved in several task forces conducting evidence-based reviews of treatments for traumatic brain injury and stroke. Michael has traveled to Guatemala on four separate occasions, bringing college students for service-learning excursions. In 2017, his students spent a month at Brillo de Sol collecting baseline cognitive and linguistic data so teachers would have a way to track student progress. He is thrilled by the opportunity to continue his partnership with Brillo de Sol.

StevencooperSteven Cooper

Board Member

Steven has been in the furniture industry for many years starting in a successful family upholstery manufacturing business. He completed his degree in business and for the past 23 years he has been a marketing specialist with Ashley Furniture. He has successfully led his teams in sales in the greater Toronto area.  Always willing to volunteer and give back he has opened up his heart to the school Brillo de Sol.  Steven and  wife Sabrina are from Toronto Canada where they live with their two dogs Chico and Brix.

Carly Reiser

Board Member

Carly lives in central Washington, where she works as a bilingual speech-language pathologist in early intervention birth to 3, and in rural schools. Carly holds an undergraduate degree in Neuroscience from Lafayette University in Pennsylvania. Because she did not want to spend her professional life working in a lab, she decided to obtain an advanced degree in speech-language pathology from Western Washington University. Carly volunteers with Operation Smile, and also started supporting university programs taking students to Guatemala, as a volunteer supervisor. She supported and volunteered with several universities at other organizations in Guatemala, until she came with a group from her alma mater to Brillo de Sol. She instantly loved the school, the director, and the school’s mission of supporting the whole child – which often includes addressing the significant trauma that children have experienced. Carly has visited the school now for several years. Her experience in educational settings and her bilingualism is invaluable for the USA board of directors. Carly leads a busy life … and, she is a Marathon Runner!!

Letty López Contreras

Board Member;  Founder and Executive Director of Asociación Brillo de Sol, Guatemala

As a therapist, Letty found her mission a many years 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 of Letty’s leadership, Brillo de Sol has grown to over 85 students in the school, added an early learning program, plus programs for speech therapy, psychology, teacher training, parent education, cooking classes, agronomy, and other academic support. Letty carries the message of how important it is to provide special education opportunities in Guatemala to local and national government and community organizations.  She works with families to unleash the potential 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. That they learn values such as respect for diversity and each other, develop their critical thinking skills, and that they realize how bright they are and above all, to see life with joy.”

Brillo de Sol USA is recognized by GuideStar for excellence in govenance and transparency.  Click the image below to learn more.

Brillo de Sol, Inc. is a tax-exempt public charity, a non-profit organization, incorporated in the State of Maryland (EIN:45-5267898).   All donations are 100% tax-deductible as provided by law in section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.    A copy of our IRS 501(c)(3) determination letter, organizing documents, and the current financial statement of Brillo de Sol is available by writing 6605 Walnutwood Circle, Baltimore, MD 21212.   Documents and information submitted under the Maryland Charitable Solicitations Act are also available for the cost of postage and copies, from the Maryland Secretary of State, State House, Annapolis, Maryland 21401.

While contributions from donors to Brillo to de Sol USA (Brillo de Sol, Inc.) benefit the children served by Asociación Brillo de Sol in Guatemala, the Board of Directors of Brillo de Sol, Inc. has discretion over how and when these funds are distributed to Asociación Brillo de Sol, and to what purpose they are to be used.  This allows us to provide sufficient oversight and control to ensure that contributions are used only for purposes that comply with section 170 (c) (2) of the Internal Revenue Code and are tax deductible.  Brillo de Sol, Inc. has established procedures and controls to ensure that donations are used as intended.   For more information, e-mail us at