To provide education and rehabilitation support to the children of Guatemala while respecting their unique and individual learning abilities, building self-esteem, fostering creativity, and promoting discovery.
Allowing Brillo de Sol Guatemala to be a self-sustaining, model learning centerthat champions the unique learning abilities of Guatemalan children, promoting equity & celebrating diversity for all.
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
Board of Directors
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.
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.
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.”
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.
Steve is a doctor of audiology for the Veteran’s Administration Puget Sound Health Care System in Lakewood, Washington. His work includes diagnosing and treating those with hearing loss by way of technological and/or medical intervention, as well as counseling and educating individuals on ways to develop effective strategies for optimal communication. Steve was born and raised in Olympia, Washington, where he received his Associates of Arts degree at South Puget Sound Community College. Furthering his educational career, he moved to Bellingham, Washington and attended Western Washington University (WWU). Here he received his Bachelor of Arts(BA) in Communication Sciences & Disorders, as well as his Audiology Doctorate degree. While working on his BAat WWU he met current Brillo de Sol USA Board of Directors President Dr. Michael Fraas and was given the opportunity to travel with him and other WWU students to Guatemala for a one-month-long service-learning trip in 2017, for which he gladly accepted. During his month-long stay, he was spent much of his time at Brillo de Sol, helping the school develop their playground, help in the classroom, as well as evaluate children’s current cognitive and communication abilities. He developed life-long memories while serving at the school and is grateful to continue his involvement.
Sujatha is a trained Pharmacist and accomplished Professor in the College of Pharmacy. Sujatha has a passion for Pharmacology and has motivated many of her students to excel in their programs and go on to be successful executives in the Pharmaceutical industry. Sujatha holds an undergraduate and Masters degree in Pharmacy. She has counseled many a student in their undergraduate years to help shape and mold them for their future careers. Sujatha has volunteered in several organizations in the past and is proud of being associated with her foster kittens program and being associated with the school Brillo de Sol. Sujatha and her husband Ravi are from Sugar Land, Texas where they live with their two dogs, 2 cats and foster kittens!!
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.”