In 2003, Founder Deborah Young, PhD created an auxiliary of local Nicaraguan volunteers in the Jalapa valley to provide ongoing project support. This auxiliary, named “Asociacion de Programa Integral Educando con Amor y Tenura” (APIEAT), consists of 10 members. Each APIEAT member receives 3 months of training in order to support the projects of Poverty Matters International. APIEAT efforts provide assistance for the community projects identified by Dr. Young’s CEPET Program in 12 different Nicaraguan communities. These communities include: La Chureca, El Tismal, Jalapa, Champigny, Pasmata, Chusli, El Trapiche, Teotecacinte, El Libani, Nueva Esperanza, El Escambray and La Limonera . Assistance from APIEAT volunteers includes home visits, educational instruction, overall project implementation, monitoring, and evaluation.
Projects supported by APIEAT include the following:
- Sustainable Food Project – education and practice in sustainable agricultural practices for backyard, community, and school gardens; composting; cooking; nutrition; preventative health practices; food-sharing; and economic marketing alternatives including bartering and trading.
- Vitamin Project – providing vitamins for pregnant women and children ages 6 months-5 years of age
- Stop Child Labor Project – preventing child labor in the tobacco fields
- Education Project – construction of three educational centers
The beneficial impact of APIEAT is staggering, not only for the communities in which services are provided but also for the lives of its individual members. The following testimonies reveal examples of the personal impact of APIEAT membership:
- Arelys del Carmen Vanegas Lazo – I became a member of APIEAT in 2010, a social program that has helped me a lot in my personal growth. I am very proud to be part of the program since I can help others. I have received trainings on gender at the IPADE School, located in Managua. I received a certificate. We went to Managua one week bimonthly to attend this program. I am currently studying to finish high school and continuing to work with APIEAT.
- Berling Antonio Joya Quintero – I found out about APIEAT through a friend. The fact the APIEAT address issues related to children, ladies, and teenagers caught my attention and interest. I identify myself with street children as I come from the same social strata, and I know and understand the life style they are leading. Any time that I see and talk to one of them, I recall the time of my teenage. I am so proud of being part of the APIEAT program, and I acknowledge that is a program with a high level of responsibility and committed. It is an outstanding program. I thank God because APIEAT is part of my life.
- Juanita Arauz Lizardo – In 2009 I entered APIEAT as a volunteer. I have been awarded certificates for good work. In 2011 I also received recognition from AACC for my 1245 hours of work serving with love and tenderness to communities while working with APIEAT. I was the president of the association for one and a half years. In APIEAT I have learned a lot during the training sessions, workshops, group studies, and while working with the communities. I have learned to communicate and socialize, and help others. In 2012 I received a certificate from the city of Jalapa in recognition of my support of the culture of our community. My dream is to continue learning every day.
- Lisseth Zamora Osorio – When I was 15 years old I found out about APIEAT, a program working toward the well-being of children. I got interested in being part of this organization, so I went through a selection process and I finally became an APIEAT member.In APIEAT I learned to communicate with people and to become a better person. I love the program, and I love to care for others in the APIEAT group. I am appreciative that others take care of me as well. We support each other in the good and bad times. I consider it very important to work with the children supporting their development, to give them love and tenderness through story hours and also teaching and training the families.Due to God and APIEAT I have been successful with my education as I have got a lot of knowledge from APIEAT. I am very appreciative to Debbie Young, our teacher. I wish to continue working with APIEAT and keep helping people in the communities and especially the children who are the main focus of the program APIEAT.
- Denis Antonia Gonzales – In June 2012, I started working as a volunteer for APIEAT. I have been doing it for 7 months. APIEAT is a very professional group. To enter APIEAT, I had to go through a three-month training. During this process, I learned a lot. I have experienced a lot of changes in my personal attitude. I now feel confident in sharing this information with people who need it.
- Celia Aurora Cruz Espinoza – In 2001, I worked as a volunteer teacher for the shoeshine children working on the streets of Jalapa. In 2002, I met Debbie Young who trained me, along with a group of women in Jalapa. I got a certificate in Early Childhood Education. In 2009, I traveled to the United States now that I am a representative of APIEAT. During my trip, I obtained recognition for attending Love and Logic classes. I also took classes about immigration. In 2012, I volunteered teaching adult classes and was a leader for the women in my community.