Cedula Juridica  3-006-204046                                         

Apartado 458

 Santa Ana Centro

 Costa Rica

 Tel. (506) 8837-5205


Year Report 2023

This was the year of dreams. Both big and little, individual, and communal

Finally, the influence of the COVID was done and we were able to imagine something bigger and better than ever before. And thus, the year unfolded.

We began the year with the preparation of 25th anniversary as a legal entity. Founded in 1997 with our logo and well worded mission statement not far behind. We have worked endlessly to improve the quality of life for the most vulnerable populations.  At the same time, we provided learning experiences for volunteers so they can use their resources with empathy, compassion, and Right Action.

Food Security Program

We followed our Spiral Model of Development and continued to provide much needed for to over 2000 per week.  This is thanks to the generous donations of the supermarket chain Auto Mercado. We collected food from five sites every day and brought them back to our Montessori site to process the products and distribute to 30 families per day. We were able to take advantage of the waiting time of those who came for the food and gave informal education sessions regarding health, nutrition, water, yoga, and aging.

We also provide a healthy luncheon to all volunteers who come to work with us.


Once again, we were able to provide housing to hundreds of people.  We continued to support the Nicaraguan refugees with their rental payments and search for housing.  In addition, we bought houses for three different families of single mother’s heads of household.  We upgraded over 30 houses with installation of bathrooms, flooring, improved roofing, and security.

Health Care and Education

With the presence of volunteer medical students, we were able to provide healthcare to over 1,000 people of all ages.  In addition, we had the opportunity to provide eyeglasses to over 300.  We also had seminar sessions for the children, special needs population and other participants in our programs.  Intern Antoni Castillo took the initiative to develop a survey for the people who come to our program for food.  We used the information he compiled to create some charts that explain the results in a meaningful way for both preliterate participants and the professional staff at the local EBAIS clinic. 


Family Well Being Centers

During the year, we successfully managed three Family Well Being Centers in La Caprio. The Centro Modelo is for preschool children as a steppingstone into public Kindergarten. Guided by teacher Marisol, who was once a student in the same place, the children had the opportunity to learn social skills, basic reading and writing and to participate in special community activities. Marisol’s students dressed up for farmer’s, the day of nutrition, and the all-important 15th of September Independence Day parade. Our students marched in the beginning of the parade dressed as their imagined future profession.  We were thrilled to see the creativity of the children and their mothers as the little policemen, doctors, nurses, teachers, and firemen passed by the crowds.  Marisol now has her degree in early childhood education and is looking forward to continuing her studies as a Montessori teacher.

Our second FWBC is called the Libertad where, for more than 20 years, we have served the most vulnerable of the children in La Carpio – the Rio Torres population. These children live in precarious homes and close to a very polluted river.  Our great volunteer friends from Allen Stevenson School in New York have been a constant visitor to our programs for more than ten years and once again, we welcomed her and her boys back for a lively visit in March. Thanks to their donation, Rosario, Zayra and Marlene prepared for their Saturday program called Lunch n Art in which more than 30 children get a hot lunch and artistic activities.

The third FWBC is what we call the Montessori.  Our dream is to make this a real Montessori school for all ages and thanks to the training by volunteers Julie and Julia, we got a good push to reach our goal. Julie sent us wonderful original Montessori materials and we were able to initiate our Montessori Monday program where we brought out the materials and learned how to use them.  Teacher Melisa did a great job working with older kids on important scholastic skills.  We congratulated her when she got a job teaching in a school nearer her house even though we were sad to see her beautiful smile leave our center.  Zuly, a local young woman who helped us out in the interim, replaced her. Finally, we wound up with Fatima, who started working with us 20 years ago in the first Centro Modelo School.   We now have a full working library; a lovely creative Montessori based preschool and an academic area, which also serves as an English classroom for our ICI  – Instituto Carpiano de Idiomas – program.

Everyone who comes to study with us gets a daily healthy snack.

With these three programs as our core academic entity, we branched out to meet for seminars with the group of special needs children, young mothers, and adolescent girls.  We worked to provide materials and funding for a café for the special kids (a work still in progress), a jewelry making small business for the teens, and sewing projects for the grandmothers. 

By midyear, we had created a very moving new theater presentation, which combines the talents of the grandmothers and the teen girls to explore a topic we all must face someday – En El Tiempo que me Queda – in the time I have left. 

Sports Program

Our active sports program continued to flourish after relying on a lot of WhatsApp training sessions during Co-Vid.  We were thrilled to be able to meet in person and restart our active training and competition activities. Over 150 youth participated and by the end of the year, Coach Pedro and his new assistant Gregor were driving the players all over the area to successfully compete with teams at all social economic levels.  Our participants were proud to show up at the events in their brand new “magic school bus”.  Their self esteem was enhanced by greatly using this generously donated transportation. 


Our love and respect for indigenous groups continued this year with a return to the communities where I used to live as a Peace Corps volunteer.  We see that there is about to be a big tourist boom in the indigenous areas and are concerned about the influence of sudden money and visitors will have on our friends.  In this area, we created the first of ten libraries with the goal “My Book is My Friend”, books about, for and BY indigenous populations.

We were honored to have the continue help of the Tree of Life School in the first library. They helped build the physical space and sort the existing books.  We got a donation from Fundameco and Limones and Naranjas of quality wooden furniture and high-quality materials.  Michael and Michaela gave us their children’s quality materials as they moved back to the States.

Tree of Life also prepared the building for the second indigenous school in Amubri where the priests who lived as missionaries for more than 40 years used to live. It is a fitting testimony to their work that we will be able to put a real library and Museum in this building.

Once again, Montessori influenced all our materials and academic philosophy.  Nela’s creativity came in handy as she oversaw making didactic materials out of simple things found in the home. She experimented with these materials with the government run preschool program and at her own home.

We were also glad to inspect the three aqueducts, clinic remodels and build of a clinic after two years of completion. We found that not only was it all functioning, but the local government had also taken the initiative to maintain and improve the buildings and systems.

This community is reaching the highest level in our model. Leonel, our close ally is now a representative in the local government and his son is the auditor for the teachers in their territory. To think there wasn’t a school when we began working there and few could even speak Spanish. We are now looking at another Cabecar community which requires urgent assistance.

Special Activities


In March, I was invited to go with Wells Mountain Initiative to their conference in Nairobi, Kenya.  I have been on the board of this organization since 2012 and they are our fiscal responsible entity in the US so donors can get tax exemption for their donations to us.  It is a great organization that has had an impact on thousands of people, mostly n he African continent.  Their Dream Big Conference brings over 600 young people together to meet and greet and learn.  The youth are students who are sponsored by the organization to complete their studies and return to their homes to improve the life of their fellow countrymen and women.  This trip was indescribable.

But suffice it to say, it was life changing.  To meet actual people from places like Rwanda (where horrible massacres occurred), Sudan (where hunger was rampant), Ethiopia (where great kings and Queens ruled) Ghana (where slave ships took off for the New World) and discover that we have so much in common. Their enthusiasm, their work ethic, their interest in everything was mind-boggling. And to top it off, we spent four days on safari.  My first view was of ten giraffes walking majestically on the top of a ridge at sunset in profile.  It was hard to believe I was there.  And to top it all off…there were a lot of Montessori schools in Nairobi. And we went to the house of Karen Mortenson who wrote Africa Mia.  I felt like I was in another epoch, place, universe. And I was so happy to be able to share my experiences with the people of la Carpio through daily WhatsApp pictures and texts.

The Grand 25 Year Gala Dinner

On May 7, we hosted over 100 people for our celebratory Gala Dinner/fundraiser.  I chose the Hotel Marriott for the event because that is the site of our very first fundraiser dinner in 1997.  And they worked with our street children projects also. I was honored to have a meeting with the manager of the hotel in which I explained all the accomplishments of our organization in La Carpio.  He then arranged to give us a special price for our event.  We worked for many months to prepare our presentation and exhibitions for the visitors.

Our team of collaborators organized an exhibit of all the programs we have.  Guests were able to see examples of our Montesori work, the bunkbeds, the food basket program, a timeline of our accomplishments and financial results, the My Book is My Friend program, the housing projects, indigenous and our cooperative crafts program.  In a quiet space, Nela, her daughter, son and granddaughter presented the story of the street kids.

In the additional room we set up our theatre props and presented three of our productions.  We began with the story of Felicita who lived in Nicaragua and emigrated to Costa Rica from the grandmothers. The teen girls presented their play about teens Anne Frank, COVID in Carpio and war in Ukraine. The third play was presented by the men of our group who bravely showcased the difficulties that men in Latin America must show their vulnerability.

After a delicious Marriott dinner buffet, we were treated to presentations from each of our groups.

The Montessori Littles began the evening with their presentation of “We are the Flowers of the Garden of Life”.  They were followed by the soccer teams marching into the room to the music of “We are the Champions” showcasing their many trophies and a mockup of their Magic Bus.  The elementary kids walked through the room with a sandwich board showing their heroes in picture and written form.  At the end of the evening, the soccer team presented “You Raise me Up” with a choreograph.  Finally, the Libertad group sang our favorite song “Love Grows…one by one, two by two, four by four”.

My son Fransisco was by my side when we gave our thanks to the gathered crowd.  Our words were heartfelt and well thought out and we appreciated the attention given to our speeches.

In my mind, I was reliving that first fundraiser in 1997 organized by founders Patricia Reich and Gyda Weeks when we had a dream and a vision. Little did we know how much we would be capable of accomplishing over the years. Here was the most poverty-stricken population in the country proudly presenting at the most lush hotel resort of the country. It was a true momentous magic moment.

 After everyone left, I stood alone in the empty room and reflected in fast time over the last 40 years since I boarded that plane to come to a foreign country and “save the world”.  I was filled with gratitude and joy for all the accomplishments and some sadness for the people that got lost along the way. Life is Life.

End of Year Activities

For the tenth year in a row, our generous donor and his staff prepared the Amazing Christmas party.  This year, we took the step of hosting over 400 children and 100 adults at the National Amusement Park.  We included the group of thirty special needs children, their parents, and siblings, as well as our entire staff and their families.  Everyone had a great time going from ride to ride, eating a lunch and sharing time together.

We also had several other Christmas parties for the community of Birri and youth who were too young to go to the theme park, the ‘littles’ as we call them.

Empathy, Compassion and Right Action


After a long dry spell, we began to gingerly receive volunteer groups this year.  Some of the groups were long time friends and others were new to us.  We enjoyed working directly with the group leaders instead of having a middleman We welcomed   back Pepperdine, Ivan, AIFS, Elizabeth, Minor, Dale, Elizabeth, Linda James, Sam Houston State, Aaron and Sylvia with World Strides and Franz.

As each group came to us, our team became more confident that we could meet their needs while making sure our populations were served.  Heidi and her group Praxis provided medical care for more than 300 people. We hosted a few new groups such as Baruch College, Rick White and the Lakshmi Yoga group. And we were thrilled to have a dinner with Sarah Nelson a volunteer who shared the change in millennium with me in 1999-2000. She arrived with her seven-year-old daughter and her new beau who then became her husband.  Another well-known volunteer group, Global College spent a day with us.

Thanks to Lenore Marcotte and her husband, and previous volunteer Claudia Nielson, we started our bunk bed project once again and were able to provide beds to many of our special needs students.

Our most intense group was the Co Creators Convergence group of 19 dedicated peace professional and holistic health workers. We spent months preparing for this group and it was well worth it. 

They had a fun and heart filled day in La Carpio, got to interact at the University for Peace, spent several nights in the sacred Orosi Valley, took a trip to Guayabo and soaked in the hot springs, and finally upgraded the Centro de Amigos para la Paz hostel and its Peace Pilgrim statue. They also coordinated the planting of a peace pole and a flag ceremony.

The friendships formed there during these unique experiences were deep and will last for a long time.  This group was the first of what we hope will be many signing up for our “The Path of the Seed People” visitor initiative that we created several years ago.

In the final days of 2023, we hosted a family of six – mother, father and four kids.  It has been a wonderful experience to share the wonder of the children as they enjoy their first monkey siting and the parents as they go adventuring with us to little known sites.  They worked very hard and helped to paint and upgrade the Montessori program in La Carpio, played soccer with Pedro’s boys and helped host a Christmas party for 50 children.

Partners and Affiliated Organizations

I have never been a fan of going to meetings to “plan”.   However… this year we affiliated with several great organizations. First, the Professional Women’s Club of Costa Rica who really came to the fore by having the teen girls sell at their meetings, showing up full force for our gala dinner and fund raising for our causes. 

We also had positive interactions with the local carpio clinic, EBAIS, Rotary International, ACNUR, University for Peace, Paniamor, Hotel Marriott, CEN CINAI, and the local public school.  The municipality of San Jose sponsored a series of workshops with our teen girls as well.

Administrative and Legal

This year was the one in which I had to prepare all the paperwork to get legal approval for our Foundation.  It requires reporting to the tax department, the bank, the treasury department, and they all must see original documents of our founding, our board members, our accounting records and make a site visit.  It was very intense and time consuming. But. I am happy to announce that we passed with flying colors all the scrutiny.  It was a pleasure to host the people inspectors from tributación/Hacienda and they could see with their own eyes all the goings on.  Chris Thomas is now the legal representative of crhf for the office of the president and soon, Francisco will be a member of the board. 

There were also interactions with the judicial system, and we won a case that a former collaborator had filed.  We now have legal precedent to be able to invite people to help us out while they await their legal papers.


To all of you from all of us…you allow us to keep on dreaming and scheming and trying and finding the way to get people out of tough situations.  Without Gary, Howard, and all the others we would fall far short of our vision to provide food, shelter, health care, education, sports, small business, self-realization, and peace to all our population.  Your Empathy and Compassion continue to give us Hope.

Future Ideas

In 2024, we want to strengthen our economic base. We need to find ways to have enough funding top pay an executive director. Gail will be phasing out her daily presence in La Carpio so she can dedicate more time to the indigenous libraries and her own books.  She realizes that if we do not systemize our initiatives, the work will become just a footnote in history.  We will be searching for a way to pass the torch on to hopeful young people who still have some vision for a better future.

We will be doing some grant writing and are looking into the possibility to run an independent tourism business.  We have all the pieces, just need to put them in the right places.

We look forward to 2024 with optimism and confidence. 

Thank you for sharing our dream

Please be sure to read our separate year report for each of our teachers, the soccer league, and the Auto Mercado food program.

Please consider supporting us with recurring payments through paypal here.

Financials are available upon request.