8-14-20  |  Shared Stories

30 Years Persevering

BY: Kevin Marinacci, CEO

Asked if my story could be highlighted as one of perseverance, I shrugged my colleagues off. “But you have been at it for 30 years,” they said. “Perhaps I am slow and/or stubborn,” I replied.

Though I lost the fight of being featured, I learned something as I reflected on my past
three decades at Fabretto. My story is not just my own; it is intertwined with the stories of the numerous individuals and organizations whose collective efforts have brought us to where we are today. I am in awe of what, together, our students, parents, teachers, and you, our benefactors and partners, have been able to build through challenging times.

I remembered the war and its great toll on Nicaragua, the elections, and the promise of
peace and a new beginning. I recalled the profound loss of our founder, Padre Fabretto, and how we struggled to follow in his giant footsteps as we began to rally colleagues, alumni, donors, and partners to structure an organization to carry on.

I always remarked that it was like trying to sing after Sinatra, but we kept at it. My father, Carl, came to visit and suggested I come home and get on with my life. I replied that for now, this was my life. He quickly caught the “Fabretto bug” and came to realize that the American Dream that he had lived transcended borders. It was then that we established the Fabretto Children’s Foundation in the US to raise awareness and resources to continue Padre Fabretto’s work.

With that critical early support, we replaced leaking roofs and dirt floors with functional classrooms, libraries, and lunch halls. We invested in our team, many of whom grew up with Padre Fabretto and went on to become
alumni of the program. Through working alongside Padre Fabretto, they had the passion and knew the true joy service brings but had never had the opportunity to further their studies. We began to offer them training as teachers, counselors, and administrators.

We built meaningful relationships between communities in Nicaragua, the US, and Spain through mission trips, child sponsorships and scholarships, and we celebrated this at our Night for Niños events, bringing more people to the Fabretto community and the cause.

These resources, human and financial, allowed us to make the transformational change that has brought us to today. 30 years ago we did not know where the next meal would come for the children. Today, our students and families now build food security by growing, processing, and marketing their crops and produce. Back then, we worked to get students back into school after the war as a first step. Now, we deliver quality education through innovative methodologies like Montessori, Escuela Nueva, and SAT. From an operation run out of Padre’s old satchel and glove compartment, we have progressed to data-driven modern management that helps us focus on community priorities and a sustainable future.

I now believe and appreciate that these accomplishments were through perseverance, not stubbornness. The distinction is that those that persevere like Lester and our SAT grads know their roots, follow their aspirations, and inspire others. Our roots and aspirations are founded upon Padre Fabretto’s Faith and Action. He shared those gifts and inspired others, helping them overcome the most challenging times and disasters, both manmade and natural. Certainly, Padre inspired many, myself included. I am thankful to you all that his good works persevere and I feel privileged to continue to be a part of it.



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