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Young Ambassador Malin Akerman at EMA Event on Opportunity Nicaragua at the Microsoft Experience

By Abbi Antablin

Environmentalists, Opportunity staff, and some of Hollywood’s finest came together to support entrepreneurship, microfinance and education at last week’s benefit hosted by Malin Akerman and the Environmental Media Association (EMA). The benefit raised funds for Opportunity Nicaragua’s Emprendedora School, located near Granada.

From left: actresses Carla Gugino, Malin, and Emmanuelle Chriqui.Microsoft generously hosted the event at its new venue, The Microsoft Experience, and pledged a donation of five computers to be delivered to the school in February.

Malin, who personally visited the school this past July, explained in an exclusive interview with Tonic why the model is so effective in equipping students for the future. “The Opportunity International school has a plot of land where they teach kids to garden organically […] they then sell [the produce] to Opportunity International and the money goes back into the school, so it’s a self-sustaining school where you’re teaching kids academically what they need to know and you’re teaching them about their culture and their land.”

From left: Opportunity’s Abbi Antablin, Geralyn Sheehan, and Malin.The self-sustaining agriculture initiative caught the attention of the EMA, and prompted them to co-host the event with Malin. The EMA sponsors organic gardens in LA area public schools to help students with special needs.

Geralyn Sheehan, Opportunity Nicaragua’s Program Director, described Opportunity’s Asset-Based Community Development model as one which focuses not on the needs of a community but on cultivating its assets. Opportunity develops strategies around those assets to grow the local economy through the development of small and medium enterprises so that over time, healthy, vibrant and sustainable communities can be achieved and people are equipped to break the cycle of chronic poverty.

EMA President Debbie Levin (left) and Malin Akerman.Malin spoke at the event about her her long-term commitment to Opportunity’s work and to the school.

Attendees included TV and film stars Emmanuelle Chriqui, Carla Gugino, Joe Truglio, and Beth Dover, as well as Opportunity staff, including our very own Young Ambassadors for Opportunity Director Abbi Antablin, and Regional Director Dan Bodwell, Vice President Reed Hartley, and Senior Vice President Jon Yasuda.

To learn more about Malin’s involvement with Opportunity or support the Entrepreneur School in Nicaragua, visit opportunity.org/malin.

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