Where passion and dedication meet...
Since our initial discussions about the need in Brasilito in 2022, the team at ACCAI has been working tirelessly to champion our cause. We are incredibly fortunate to have a diverse group of volunteers and staff who bring their unique expertise and resources to everything we do. This is what allows us to efficiently achieve our goals. While there is always more work to be done, there is no doubt that we are making a significant impact. We don't measure our success solely through facts and figures but through the smiles on happy faces and the heartwarming feedback we receive.
Co-founder and Academic Director
Originally from San Jose and currently residing in Potrero, Erika has been an English teacher for children in the Potrero, Brasilito, and Huacas areas for 15 years. Teaching is not just a job for her; it is her profession and passion. Erika thrives on human connection and finds immense joy in witnessing her students' understanding through their eyes and smiles.
Erika, along with Karen, co-founded ACCAI because they were deeply saddened by the academic disparity among the children in Brasilito. She saw that the children lacked the same opportunities and privileges as students in other school districts. The teenagers had no resources to expand their minds. Erika recognized the urgent need to help these students catch up academically and dreamt of seeing them graduate from high school, ready to pursue higher education or vocational training.
Passionate about life, Erika wholeheartedly commits herself to everything she does. She cherishes quality time with her family, including her beloved pets.
Co-founder and Director of Social Programs and Community Service
Meet Karen Cerdas, a proud Costa Rican who has spent most of her life in Cartago but now calls Guanacaste her permanent home. With a degree in Social Work from the prestigious University of Costa Rica, Karen brings over 20 years of experience in working with social programs and community welfare.
Karen's journey as a co-founder of ACCAI began when she and her partner, Erika, recognized the pressing need to support ambitious young individuals who yearned for educational growth. They witnessed firsthand how these dreams often crumbled due to a lack of support and guidance. Driven by her passion, Karen aims to empower individuals to discover their potential and seize better opportunities in life through her work.
What sets Karen apart is her genuine desire to connect with others. She thrives on sharing, listening, and providing unwavering support to those seeking to improve their surroundings. In her eyes, it is a fundamental human right for individuals to have the necessary tools to enhance their quality of life.
Meet the Team
Born and raised in Mexico City, boasts an impressive academic background, holding a Bachelor's degree in Special Education, a Master's degree in Educational Science, and even a second Bachelor's degree in Environmental Engineering. His dedication to education and the environment showcases his commitment to making a positive impact on the world.
Federico's journey with ACCAI, is rooted in his belief that everyone has a unique purpose in life, which is to be a blessing to others. This belief motivated him to join ACCAI, where he could actively contribute to making a difference in people's lives.
Remarkably, Federico began his teaching career at a remarkably young age, starting at just 18 years old. His passion for teaching and his proficiency in the field are evident in his work, especially when working with students with learning differences.
Federico's philosophy centers around the idea that nothing is impossible, while making continuous mathematical and statistical improvements.
Head English Teacher
Originally hailing from Canada, EJ Avey spent 25 years living in the United States before moving to Costa Rica in 2018. While her professional background lies in nursing, she is now incredibly grateful for the opportunity to be involved in ACCAI as one of the Head Teachers in the English Program. Her ultimate goal? To witness the youth of Brasilito flourish and pave their way towards a fruitful future.
Before joining ACCAI, EJ dedicated her time to volunteering in various educational programs in Brasilito. It was during these experiences that she discovered her passion for working with young minds and witnessing their energy for life and learning.
When she's not busy shaping the minds of tomorrow, EJ indulges in her hobbies, which include cooking, baking mouthwatering treats, getting lost in the pages of a good book, and expressing her creativity through painting.
She is originally from Iowa. Her adult life was mostly spent in Colorado. She relocated to Costa Rica in 2020.Tammy had a career in Employee Benefits. She did underwriting for 10 years and 15 years as a Benefits Consultant. She decided she wanted a career change. She became a Realtor for 8 years. She is now retired.She became a part of ACCAI because she believes in the work it has been created and continues to create. She has a passion to see the Youth empowered to achieve their dreams. She sees teaching as a way to birth a desire in the Youth to succeed in their education. Tammy loves the outdoors! From hiking to horses, from beaches to mountains, she will take outside activities over inside activities. She is thankful for the life God has given her.
She grew up in the Bronx, New York. She joined the military, which allowed her to live in many places around the world. For 17 years she lived in Aiken South Carolina as the owner of a Horse Ranch. Her professions included being a Federal agent in charge of Special Operations, and a firearms instructor.
Kathie’s passion is teaching people the love of Pickleball. She desires to grow the sport and form an Olympic Team. She joined ACCAI to introduce Pickleball and instill a passion for the sport. She has a love for animals big or small, land or sea. She says “ I seem very strict on the outside. I am soft on the inside, I just don’t show it.”