Peru is a beautiful country with a rich culture that is experiencing rapid growth, but facing the large challenge of distributing that opportunity to all its citizens. In the area where we work, many people don't finish high school and few make it to college. Despite the difficult life many families lead, they value education. For the last 3 years, we have been working with the local community to provide valuable educational opportunities for children and adults. Our main goals are to improve literacy, empower adolescents, present educational tools to those in need, encourage the sharing of knowledge and ideas, and give value to the practice of art in all its forms. At present, we are working to achieve those goals by maintaining a community education center in Coya with the hope of repeating that success in similar communities. Read the full manifesto and see the most recent budget for more information.
We are a dedicated group of individuals led by Ellyn and Nestor in Peru and the Friends of AbrePuertas board in the US.
Use the contact form at the bottom of this page for any inquiries.
Ellyn & Nestor
Ellyn Jameson graduated from SUNY Geneseo with a major in International Relations and a minor in Spanish, and was finishing her last semester in Cusco when she and Nestor decided to found AbrePuertas. She feels so fortunate to be able to work in the areas she is most passionate about--development and education--every day and watch as the project continues to grow and make the world a better place!
Nestor Flores Linares, a native of Cusco, has a degree and a wide range of experience in psychology, and is currently completing his Masters in Organizational Behavior with the Universidad Cayetano Herredia while working at a financial institution. He was inspired to co-found AbrePuertas because he believes that empowerment is the best way to help people change their world.
Nancy Jameson has worked in mental health and educational settings for over 30 years. She earned a B.S. in Sociology and Psychology from St. Lawrence University, a Master's in Health Administration from Whitworth College, a Master's in School Psychology from Alfred University, and an advanced degree in School Administration from SUNY at Brockport.
She lives with her husband Jim, of 27 years, in Penn Yan NY and works in the local school district. She has two grown children, and through her professional and personal experience understands the immense value of the opportunities that AbrePuertas offers to Peruvian youth.
Toby has worked at Northwestern Mutual since 1999. He is a Chartered Life, Financial Consultant, and Advisor for Senior Living, Certified Financial Planner®. He is a current member of the Society of Financial Services Professionals and the Rochester Estate Planning Council. He also has taught finance as an adjunct faculty member through the School of Business at St. John Fisher College since 2004. He is active in the community and is currently a board member of the Rochester Area Business Ethics Foundation as well as the creator of the Anderson Scholarship for Student Leaders.
Susan Tordella-Williams is an activist and volunteer since retiring from careers in journalism, non-profit management and as a speaker and author. Susan can frequently be found at the Massachusetts Statehouse, advocating for criminal justice reform. She has co-founded 12 Toastmasters programs in eight Massachusetts prisons. Susan credits her Unitarian Universalist community as her springboard for social justice.
A graduate of the University of Delaware, Susan also holds a Master’s degree in English from Rivier College, N.H. Susan and her husband of 33 years live in Ayer, Mass., and have four children and one grandson. Susan’s crooked path has taken her to more than two dozen countries, including Peru, to visit AbrePuertas in Coya, where she experienced the children and volunteers Ellyn and Nestor have opened doors for.
Richard Anderson, CFP, CLU, ChFC, CASL. Rich has worked at Northwestern Mutual since 1999. He is a Chartered Life, Financial Consultant, and Advisor for Senior Living, Certified Financial Planner®. He is a current member of the Society of Financial Services Professionals and the Rochester Estate Planning Council. He also has taught finance as an adjunct faculty member through the School of Business at St. John Fisher College since 2004. He is active in the community and is currently a board member of the Rochester Area Business Ethics Foundation as well as the creator of the Anderson Scholarship for Student Leaders.
Rich graduated summa cum laude from St. John Fisher College in 2001 with a B.S. in Management, and earned his Masters in Financial Services from The American College in 2013.
Kristin T. Anderson is the Coordinator of Institutional Assessment and Accreditation in the Office of Planning, Assessment, and Institutional Research at St. John Fisher College in Rochester, New York. In this position she works with internal and external constituents to provide data to aid in College planning and decision making. Also at St. John Fisher, Kristin is a freshman advisor, where she teaches a for-credit seminar course and is the academic advisor for 20 first-year students each year.
Kristin graduated from St. John Fisher College in 2000 with a B.A. in Communication/Journalism, earned her Ed.M. in Higher Education Administration from the University at Buffalo in 2002, and graduated with her Masters in Business Administration from Fisher in 2009. Kristin worked in Student Affairs and Residential Life at the University at Buffalo, Duke University, and the University of Rochester before coming to Fisher in fall 2005 to help with the School of Education’s national accreditation.
Jeannette is a Graphic Designer in Boston, MA. She loves helping others grow their businesses and pursue their aspirations. With expertise in both web and print design, she has worked with a variety of small and large businesses, non-profits, start-ups, and individuals.
Jeannette graduated magna cum laude and earned her B.F.A. in Communication Design from the University at Buffalo in 2010. She has always been passionate about helping others. In her spare time, Jeannette uses her design skills to help non-profits and charities, including AbrePuertas, pro-bono. When not designing, you can find her hiking, doing yoga on the beach, painting, or shopping.
We welcome volunteers from every corner of the world. At AbrePuertas our volunteers are encouraged to design their own workshop or series of classes and share their own unique talents. We are here to help every step of the way with translations, advice, transportation, and enthusiasm. We also offer certificates for volunteer work upon request. There is no monetary fee for volunteering, but we happily accept material donations upon arrival. We also request that part-time volunteers make a minimum commitment of one month to the project, in order to be able to form good relationships with the children and families.
Whatever we were doing be it reading books, growing grass out of homemade "Mr. Potato Heads", relay races, scavenger hunts, puppet shows, or making and flying kites, the youth were enthusiastic and cooperative... AbrePuertas, like the town it is in, is a modest place. The funds are limited but the creativity and passion is not and that is what makes the place so special.
Arielle Aronoff, US
Dear AbrePuertas, not only do you open doors for the children of Coya, you have also opened your doors for me and for that I am really grateful! Thanks so much for helping me to do my masters research in Coya and I have loved working with you and the children. Highlights were the painting of the building and the huatia oven that collapsed, haha. Love to all of you!
Nienke Jansen, Holland
I did not realize that my work at AbrePuertas was more than just educating young children until a few weeks of volunteering. Once I became friends with the children I was spending time with, I realized that I, and everyone at AbrePuertas, was creating more opportunity for them; and it is inspiring to imagine how they may choose to take advantage of that opportunity.
Tomas Sowles, US
Nestled in the Sacred Valley, Coya is a gem. And the children in the town are what makes it sparkle. AbrePuertas is a wonderful organization that opens a space for kids to partake in the creativity of learning, while letting the volunteers partake in the creativity of the kids themselves. My first day I was nervous that my rocky Spanish would betray me, but the children were so excited to play and mime that the language was not a concern. We learned about centripetal force through a science experiment with a bucket and water, and one of the girls ended up with a lesson in gravity's strength as the water came tumbling down from the bucket because she didn't quite swing it fast enough. I think she laughed louder than everyone else. Volunteering at AbrePuertas connected me to Peru. I made friends there and learned more about a beautiful country than any four day hike could provide.
Kelsey Kilgore, US
If you have any questions about AbrePuertas or would like to contribute in any way feel free to contact us. We prefer email, but you can call as well at +51 993484404, +51 973582815, or +51 084 238181. To donate please send checks made out to "Asociacion AbrePuertas" to the Lyons National Bank at: 205 Liberty Street, Penn Yan, NY, 14527. We prefer checks because 100% of your donation goes directly to AbrePuertas, however you may also donate via Paypal. For material donations, our mailing address is Asociacion AbrePuertas, Urb. Covituc B-3, San Sebastian, Cusco.