Reunion will benefit Columbia River grads nonprofit in Nicaragua

first_imgDoug Effinger’s mission trip to an orphanage in Nicaragua in 2000 changed his life.“You feel the heat, you smell the smells, you’re out of your comfortable environment,” said Effinger. “With all that going on, I saw these kids living in conditions we wouldn’t allow anybody in our country to live in. They just stole my heart.”That means dirt floors, no electricity, meager education and the occasional landslide or washout that leaves a village landlocked and washes some people away.It’s not a pretty picture, but Effinger fell in love. Over the course of several more trips, Effinger’s wife, Julie, did too. Within a few years, the couple had sold their Felida home and purchased some Clark County rentals to generate income. They worked with one orphanage in Managua, the capital city, and then helped another orphanage pick up and move to an entirely new campus that Effinger helped build.“I was building buildings and helping find the funding to build buildings,” said Effinger, whose background is in construction, remodeling, heating and air conditioning. He is a 1978 graduate of Columbia River High School. “It was a 25-acre property with children’s homes, guesthouses, sports facilities — it was really cool.”Eventually, the Effingers started their own nonprofit organization, aimed at matching ambitious Nicaraguan young adults with educational opportunities. It’s called Nica-Impact and it’s a sort of subsidized boot camp, Effinger said, for poor rural students eager to study subjects such as nursing, engineering and business management.last_img

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