Open Windows Foundation
|Headquarters||Tempe, AZ, United States|
Open Windows Foundation is a US-registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization focusing on youth education and programming in San Miguel Dueñas, Guatemala. The center was founded in 2001 by Ericka Kaplan, Jean Uelmen, and Teresa Quiñonez and now serves over 1,000 members of the Dueñas community.
To provide education and community development opportunities for children and families in Guatemala.
The Foundation first opened in 2001 with an enrollment of 20 children assembling in a small room. The original 300 books for the center were donated from a library project that had recently closed in Rio Dulce, Guatemala. The Foundation’s primary function was to act as a dynamic library with the aim of getting kids to read for pleasure.
Over the years, Open Windows has continued to accumulate students, books, funds, and other resources through the personal networking of the founders and the community. In 2003, Rotary International donated 10 computers to Open Windows. This donation allowed Open Windows to expand their services to allowing students to use computers for homework and offering computer classes. Open Windows also launched their initial website in 2003 which allowed for greater publicity.
In September 2005, a formal library room was built and is now filled with over 15,000 books including picture, fiction, non-fiction, and reference books. Two years later 2007, an impending donation from Rotary International for an additional 10 computers prompted the building of a second story computer center at Open Windows. The center was completed in April, 2007. In this time, the mission had been expanded to include enhancing technology skills and to provide educational programming and tutoring for students.
Open Windows currently provides three primary programs: the after school program, the activities program, the computer center.
After School Program
The after school program allows the students time to finish their homework with the supervision and assistance of the seven teachers at Open Windows Foundation. Because of the close relationship between Open Windows and the local schools, homework for the students is often designed with the specific resources of Open Windows in mind.
The activities program is designed for the students to participate in an interactive reading and learning activity as a group. Every afternoon the teachers at Open Windows Foundation use a book read aloud to ground an activity designed to emphasize reading, writing, creative, listening, and thinking skills.
The computer center was completed in 2007 and is composed of 20 computers donated from Rotary International. Classes are provided for children and adults and for various computer programs. In addition to the classes, 10 of the computers are now equipped with internet access for research and other educational purposes. The computer center is always in high demand as it provides the only public-access computers in the area.
Scholarship Program Thanks to donations of young Tom Sullivan, a scholarship program was set up in 2003 to enable motivated students from low-income families to go to high school. Most students in San Miguel Dueñas can not afford to attend high school because they do not have the money to pay for the tuition, books, and uniform costs. Unfortunately in Guatemala the government does not pay these costs. The High School Scholarship program was established in 2003 with three students. Open Windows has since sponsored more than 400 scholarships. This year there are 30 scholarship students. The chosen, talented students are given funds to cover the costs of uniforms, books, and transportation. In return, they are asked to keep Open Windows informed of their progress. We find that high school graduates, in turn, help their brothers and sisters attend school. Open Windows also helps graduates in preparing for new job interviews, which includes writing a Curriculum Vitae. We hope to place these students in the local job market. In return, Open Windows scholarship students or family members take turns cleaning the library early each morning. In 2011, we started the community service program. During vacation the scholarship students come to the learning center to help small groups of primary children with math and reading skills. This, in turn, helps them learn to teach, work with others and speak in front of a group. Only $500 sends a scholarship recipient to high school for one year.
Today, Open Windows is led by director and co-founder Teresa Quiñonez. The administration of the Foundation is made up of two boards of directors; one based in Guatemala and the other in the United States. Additionally, there are seven teachers on staff.
The Foundation also depends on work from volunteers.
- "Open Windows Foundation" (PDF). Foundation Center. Retrieved 21 December 2017.