Professor Michael Fraas is a Member of the Brain Injury – Interdisciplinary Special Interest Group (BI-ISIG) of the ACRM and the Chair Elect of Brillo de Sol, USA. Below, Michael Fraas details the great work being accomplished by this organization.
Nestled in the shadow of the Volcano Agua, Brillo de Sol has dedicated itself to assisting and educating children who, otherwise, would struggle to find the support they need. With over 15 years of volunteerism and experience, Brillo de Sol’s devoted educators have helped the special needs youth of Antigua, Guatemala learn, grow, and blossom into healthy and happy students.
By combining proven educational and rehabilitation techniques with non-traditional learning methods, Brillo de Sol has helped special needs and at-risk children socialize, develop confidence, and take control of their own learning. Yet, none of this would be possible without the support of donors, volunteers, and caring sponsors around the world.
Michael Fraas explains how Brillo de Sol helps support the youth of Antigua and how you can also help create brighter futures for children in need.
How Brillo de Sol is Changing Lives
Although it was once the seat of Spanish colonial power in Guatemala, Professor Michael Fraas explains that Antigua has struggled to develop quality educational programs for special needs and learning-disabled students throughout the region. Prior to 2005, these youth lacked access to services that could help them grow and instead mostly stayed home without an education. This is where Brillo de Sol stepped in to help.
Brillo de Sol set out to provide a balanced blend of the national curriculum, researched learning philosophies, such as Montessori, NeuroNet, and Champions, and hands-on non-traditional classes where students learn social skills, cognitive techniques, vocational competencies, and refined motor skills. Yet, at the heart of their mission lies one important purpose—love.
No matter who comes to Brillo de Sol and no matter their challenges, they are welcomed and greeted with an open-door policy. Brillo de Sol is blind to age, religion, disability, and past failures. Michael Fraas says that if a child is in need, they are embraced with kindness and wholehearted love.
Who Does Brillo de Sol Serve?
Although most children are bright and eager to learn more about the world, some require unique help to focus their attentions. Unfortunately, underfunded and undersupplied schools lack the resources to provide for these children.
Professor Michael Fraas explains that the founders of Brillo de Sol recognized the lack of quality educational services for special needs children in La Antigua and set out to fill the gaps. Today, Brillo de Sol works hands-on with:
- Children diagnosed with an emotional or behavioral disorder
- Children diagnosed with a learning disability
- Children who have aged out of their standard school grade
- Children living in extreme poverty
- Gifted children who become easily bored or cannot pay attention in traditional classroom environments
By using specialized therapies, Brillo de Sol is able to understand students’ true learning potentials and help them unlock their hidden talents. With new skills and the power to take control of their own lives, Brillo de Sol’s students are put on track to become their best selves according to Professor Michael Fraas.
How You Can Help
Brillo de Sol is a registered non-governmental organization and relies on the generosity of sponsors and donors to provide ongoing services. You can help further their goals by making a one-time or ongoing donation, by sponsoring a child, or by volunteering at their main campus.
Brillo de Sol is currently partnered with seven different universities, including Sacred Heart University, Luzac College-Lyceum, the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, and the Universidad Rafael Landívar Guatemala, but without additional support, their students wouldn’t have access to the same quality of learning.
Many families feel called to do something and research topics like what is foster care, but it doesn’t have to be that involved to make an impact. Michael Fraas says even if you can only make a one-time donation, you will be helping a good cause. Your sponsorship will directly fund a child’s education by covering the cost of their enrollment, paying teacher salaries, and securing new and better supplies. These include:
- New bookshelves, desks, and tables
- Rugs for therapy rooms
- Playground equipment for recess time
- Laptop computers and tablets
- Microphones for hearing disabled students
- Photocopiers and printers
Your donations and sponsorships are 100% tax-deductible and go to helping children in need. Contact Brillo de Sol directly via email or at their official Facebook page to learn more about their services, how your money is put to use, and discover how you can help create a brighter future for a child today.
Brillo de Sol believes that all children deserve a loving and supportive environment where they can learn and grow. As the only special needs school in La Antigua, Guatemala, Professor Michael Fraas notes that they have a huge task ahead of them, but with help from donors and sponsors, they are quickly building better lives for the students they serve.