Abriendo Mentes, which is Spanish for ‘Opening Minds’, was established in 2009 by founders Meradith Leebrick and Drew Ragland. The couple had been living in Potrero for several years and were asked by their Costa Rican neighbor if they could begin offering some English classes for his daughter and her cousins. What began as very informal tutoring sessions with no supplies, no resources, and no physical classroom space, grew steadily into a full-fledged after school program for dozens of local children.
Since 2009 the organization has continued to grow by leaps and bounds, with highlights including the addition of adult education programming, the donation of our computer lab leading to the establishment of our technology program, the creation of our women’s economic empowerment programs, the development of our international volunteer structure, and a formal program expansion to the neighboring community of Brasilito.
We have achieved many of our objectives over the last several years: we have delivered thousands of hours of classes and community development programs, more than 200 volunteers have joined our team and supported our work, and we have consistently met our ambitious fundraising goals. However, the communities where we work still face great challenges, and we continually strive to enhance our program offerings for the local population and future generations.