Strong Missions Empowered Communities

Vision

A Latin America where a dignified life is within reach for every family.

Mission

Develop communities in Latin America through sustainable strategies of local investment that break the cycle of poverty, reduce delinquency, minimize social risk, and change global perspectives.

About the Program

Since 2004 Strong Missions has been working on construction projects including churches, public schools, homes for the poor, orphanages, children’s parks, and additional projects requested by local community leaders.

In 2006, we began working with a feeding program in Los Guido de Desamparados, a large precario (slum) in southern San Jose. The following year we realized that as important as the feeding program is, it does very little to break the cycle of poverty.  At that time, we began the implementation of various education programs.

Through the years we have always kept an open mind as God continues to bring to light new ways to grow and develop local communities. For this reason, as well as our deep connection to the communities we serve, our community development projects have grown and evolved to include various year-round feeding, education, and extracurricular activity programs. We continue to see dramatic improvements in grades, attention span, discipline and self-esteem, and we look forward to seeing these results develop further as the programs grow.

One hundred percent of the following programs run on donations, both from inside Costa Rica and from people such as you. We hope that you will read more and prayerfully consider partnering with us in this work.

Education

Approximately 40% of all Costa Rican youth currently receive their high school diploma.  Education is the key to breaking the cycle of poverty, and education is available to all in Costa Rica, but for the extreme poor there are barriers to receiving educational stimulation at an early age.  They begin school already behind. 

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We continue to see grade improvement among our arts and sports program participants, but we’ve changed gears regarding specific educational programming. After ongoing evaluation of early school-age children in poverty-stricken areas, Strong Missions endeavors to find ways to better stimulate preschoolers to prepare them for public school. Preschool stimulation is costly and most lower- income families even forego kindergarten, as it isn’t mandatory. Uniform, transportation, and material cost is at best difficult for mandatory school years.

In early 2018, we partnered with the University of Costa Rica’s Education Department. We have a continued relationship with the UCR School of Architecture and the UCR School of Social Work.  We hope to offer an early childhood stimulation program (along with a healthy snack for attending children) in Los Guido de Desamparados by early 2019.

If things go well, we hope to implement early childhood stimulation activities in the feeding program in Carrillos soon after, and then a permanent afterschool program in our center in Calle San Jose in future years, when we have adequate infrastructure. 

Feeding Programs

It’s clear that education is the key to break the cycle of poverty, but a child does not study well if he/she is thinking about the next meal that may or may not come. Healthy diets equal healthy minds and bodies.

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Although they are fully monitored and funded by donations made to Strong Missions, local volunteers administer feeding programs in area community buildings and churches. Meal recipients are determined according to demonstrated need and available space. The size of each respective program depends on community need and their capacity to serve. There is usually an extensive waiting list, and so we also continue to increase numbers being fed in each location if the community is able. Local and US 501c3 donations fund such programs.

Dance Video

Karate Video

Extra Curricular Activities

Most public school schedules are short in Costa Rica, leaving a significant part of the day free for primary and secondary students to roam the streets. Too much extra time in at-risk areas can lead to delinquent behavior, as there is a tremendous amount of peer pressure from negative influences. Extracurricular activities such as fine arts, sports, and martial arts give these children a positive alternative to hanging out in the streets, where they are exposed to gangs, drugs, sex (underage and unwed pregnancy is widespread), and violence. Getting kids involved in such activities is key to defending both the future of these kids as well as the general security of Costa Rica.

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We have seen a rise in gang activity and violence all over northern Central American countries and Mexico and attempts have been made by gangs to organize in Costa Rica and Nicaragua. To protect our world we must protect the children and families, and offer them opportunities that can help them improve their decision-making and potentially change their lives and their descendants forever.

We are excited about the differences we are seeing (increased self-confidence and fitness, better grades and behavior, etc.) and so we continue to organize additional sports, martial arts and fine and performance arts programs in all areas of the country so that young people have a strong foundation for future success. Tournaments and camps are included in such programming, and give students the chance to visit unknown areas, challenge their comfort levels, and make new friends from other parts of the country; an opportunity not otherwise afforded them. Plans are also being made to open a permanent Christian after-school program so that children have a safe and spiritual place to learn and play until their parents return from work each day.

Such programs and effective leaders being present in the lives of local children also helps us identify individuals and areas deserving additional assistance, such as education and feeding programs. Such programs are funded by US 501c3 as well as local donations.

Construction

All projects are proposed by local church and community leaders and evaluated by Strong Missions to ensure that the project can be completed in a timely manner, that there is enough work for teams, and that the project fits with the overall goals and missions of both the community and Strong Missions.

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Strong Missions works on construction projects including churches, public and special needs schools, houses for the poor, orphanages, children’s parks, and additional projects requested by local community leaders.

In addition, Strong Missions is constructing its permanent home camp, where we can lodge mission teams and local camps, bus in local students and families for existing and future programs and events, and better reach out to all parts of Costa Rica.

Both work teams and US 501c3 donations fund such construction projects.

 

 

 

Our Communities

We are currently and will continue to be involved in the following communities, maintaining the current programs and working to offer more opportunities to the residents thereof. In addition, our ministries will continue to expand into other areas of the country and small programs are already planned to begin outside of the Central Valley of Costa Rica.

 

Click on the map below for more information

 

 

Los Guido de Desamparados

Los Guido de Desamparados, San Jose, Costa Rica

Los Guido is one of the largest precarios (slum) in Costa Rica, with new census estimates as high as 100,000 people, of which 80-90% live in abject poverty. Los Guido has recently been formed into a larger district with surrounding at-risk neighborhoods, and various new censuses estimate the number of needy children between 30 and 60 thousand. Because many parents of these children are here without legal documentation (at least 60% are Nicaraguan), they are not often open to take part in such censuses, as they fear deportation.

Strong Missions has been working in Los Guido since 2006.

Carrillos Bajo de Poas, Costa Rica

 

Carrillos Bajo de Poas, Costa Rica

Carrillos is a small rural community outside of Alajuela and was home to the Strong Missions facilities from 2009-2014. Strong Missions has been involved in various construction projects throughout the community including the creation of a local children’s park, construction of the administration building and other facility improvements for the local elementary school, and 2 major church facilities at the Evangelical Methodist Church and the Pentecostal church in order to provide them with space to open year-round feeding programs. Carrillos is also where our first karate and dance programs were started which launched our extra-curricular programming throughout other communities.

Strong Missions has been working in Carrillos since 2009.

San Isidro de Grecia, Costa Rica

San Isidro de Grecia, Costa Rica

Strong Missions moved to San Isidro, a small rural community in the mountains Northeast of Grecia, in the fall of 2014, after having worked in this area previously. After years of renting and moving, we look forward to building a permanent Mission Center that can be used to house our teams as well as serve the people in the neighborhood. We will also be partnering with local churches, schools, and city boards to provide feeding, education, and extracurricular programming in our new community, as well as helping local schools, churches and communities develop in healthy ways.

Strong Missions has been working in San Isidro since 2010.

Strong Missions S.A., Calle San Jose de Grecia, Alajuela, Costa Rica

e-mail: info@strongmissions.com

You can reach us in Costa Rica by calling :

(office) 011-506-2444-0321 

(cell) 011-506-8357-9893   -we also use Whats App and Facetime

Or, in the US by calling:  (325) 305-6193

Specializing in short term missions trips to assist the children of Costa Rica