Annual SchoolBOX charity fiesta comes to Almonte on Nov. 4

Posted on: October 23, 2017


Affectionately known as ‘the little charity that could’, SchoolBOX started with little more than a notebook and a pencil, and a dream to educate children in Nicaragua.

At this year’s annual Latin Fiesta on Nov. 4 at the Citivan Hall in Almonte, community members will rally together to support the construction of SchoolBOX’s 100th classroom in the remote community of El Caracol in early 2018.

Fiesta guests will get an exclusive chance to see SchoolBOX’s brand new documentary short film as part of the night’s festivities. “This new film tells the life stories of our Nicaraguan Director Ronald Chavarria and our Programs Manager Jazmin Lopez,” explained Executive Director Sarah Kerr. “These two are really the heartbeat of SchoolBOX. Born into extreme poverty, they could have had the same fate as nearly half of Nicaraguan children who are not able to complete elementary school. Instead, through incredible perseverance and the gift of school supplies from some unlikely mentors in their lives, they both beat the odds and not only graduated from elementary school but also high school and university. Ronald and Jazmin were able to overcome poverty in one generation through education, and they now oversee the construction of classrooms, the installation of libraries, the delivery of reading days, and they host our international volunteers. They are amazing role models, and together are raising up a new generation of young, educated Nicaraguans.”

Kerr hinted that documentary stars from Nicaragua may make a “red-carpet” appearance at the Fiesta. Fiesta Chair Brad Weir and many dedicated volunteers on the Fiesta committee have also put together a silent auction with unique items and experiences donated by local businesses, artists, and community members as well as a live auction with which will feature a trip to Costa Rica.

To cap the evening off, guests can expect spicy tunes from the live Latin band Azucar Jam and salsa demos from Silver Steps. Get your dancing shoes ready, and invite your family and friends.

SchoolBOX Founder Tom Affleck and Kerr built the first SchoolBOX classrooms in the community of San Santiago on Big Corn Island in 2008, with the help of friends and family from Almonte.

Replacing a crumbling old structure that had been severely damaged by hurricane Mitch, the new classrooms provided 50 children with the opportunity to go to school. At the time, they had already begun giving out simple school supplies to students.

Affleck and Kerr recognized the impact that the supplies had for Nicaraguan families who no longer had to choose between feeding their kids or sending them to school with notebooks and pencils. Together they envisioned the possibility that one day SchoolBOX would be able to build 100 classrooms in Nicaragua and equip thousands of deserving kids with the supplies they needed to get an education. What seemed like an impossible dream in 2008 is about to become a reality in 2018.

“The fact that our 100th classroom is within sight is truly a dream come true. We simply would not be able to reach this goal without the constant support and love from our hometown of Almonte,” says Kerr.

Tickets can be purchased at Baker Bob’s, Mill Street Books, and Equator Coffee Roasters in Almonte, or online at Check out the event on Facebook at SchoolBOX Latin Fiesta.