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More Than Just a Bracelet

Jonathan Button and Quinn Vandenberg left the United States in May 2012 and moved to Nicaragua to create a business that gives back to the community.

And now – less than a year later – they are operating a successful business that buys and sells bracelets created by local artisans. 

For every bracelet Jonathan & Quinn sell, they give school supplies to a child here in Nicaragua. 

More Than Just a Bracelet

– Life Out of the Box kickin’ it at Pitaya Festival 2013

More Than Just a Bracelet

– LOOTB offers different styles with something to suit everyone

To learn more about Jon and Quinn and Life Out of the Box click here.

Since meeting this lovely Californian couple eight months ago we’ve become great friends. 

We believe in Jon and Quinn and the Life Out of the Box vision so it was without hesitation that we bought a bracelet for our little miniature schnauzer Maggie Mae.

More Than Just a Bracelet

– Maggie’s bracelet makes a comfortable and stylish collar

One thing we love about about Life Out of the Box is that we actually got to see the child we impacted. Each bracelet is stamped with a unique number that corresponds to a specific child.

Maggie’s number is 328 and the child she provided a gift to is David.

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This is what Jon & Quinn had to say about him:

“This very sweet guy is David. He’s 14 years old and loves school. He had the biggest smile of all the kids we’ve met here in Nicaragua, a smile that will just make your heart melt.

He goes to school at Los Pipitos, which is a school in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua dedicated to children & adults with disabilities and special needs. He was so happy and thankful when he received the notebook we gave him on your behalf on the first day of school.”

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Each time we look at Maggie’s LOOTB bracelet we are reminded of David and the difference we made.

To purchase your very own LOOTB bracelet, give school supplies and see the child you’ve impacted click here.

Loans That Change Lives

Elisha and I just loaned $25 bucks to this dude…

– A restaurant in the central park in Granada, Nicaragua

…and $25 bucks to this chick.

– A shoe store in the central market in Granada, Nicaragua

Sound random?  Well it’s not – it’s a non-profit organization called Kiva.

In many developing countries the average resident can’t just go to the bank to get a loan and almost no one has a credit card. If an individual wants to start or expand a business, build an addition onto their home, fix their roof, etc. they need to the find funds to do so some other way.

In Nicaragua there are organizations like MiCredito, CEPRODEL, Fundacion Leon and AFODENIC that work with residents in need of micro-loans. Some of their funding comes from a Kiva who receives ALL of it’s funding from people like you and I.

What I like about this organization is that it’s not a charity.  Members loan money to individuals who are struggling to better themselves.  These people simply need a helping hand in the form of a little cash. As a lender you are providing a hand up, rather than just a hand out.

The individuals shown in the photos at the beginning of this post had each requested a loan of $500. 

Manuel wants to buy additional tables, chairs and umbrellas to expand his small outdoor restaurant. Julia Justina is looking to secure a large quantity of flip flops to expand her current selection.  

Elisha & I along with 39 other Kiva lenders will pitch in $25 each to fund these loans.  The loans will be repaid monthly over the next 12 months. As Manuel and Julia repay their loans, the portion we lent to them will be deposited back into our kiva account.  We can then choose to withdraw the cash – or better yet – lend it to another entrepreneur.

It was five years ago our good friend Michelle Colford gave us a Kiva gift card  as a Christmas gift.  At first I thought the donation might have been to The Human Fund”, (Seinfeld reference) but once we learned what Kiva was all about we were excited to register and use our gift card for our very 1st Kiva loan.

To date we have lent money to 26 people. All of which have either repaid their loans or are on schedule with their payments. Loaning money through Kiva is one way that we’ve been able to make a small difference in our community.  We have been able to positively impact 26 people with the last two recipients owning businesses that we walk by almost daily.

If you want to learn more about Kiva and find out how you can “empower people around the world with as little as $25″ click here.

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