We produce our award-winning coffee at La Finca, a Young Life camp and farm in the mountains of Nicaragua -- a beautiful retreat from the harsh realities of a poverty culture.
Truth be told, we "stumbled" upon growing Nicaragua's finest coffee. Back in the late 1990's we purchased a piece of land near Jinotega, Nicaragua, to develop a Vida Joven (Young Life) camp. We found coffee plants growing on the property, so we harvested a little coffee, cupped it, and realized what an extraordinary product our land could produce. Little by little we began to plant more coffee and now have 30 acres under development.
When our coffee won a blind taste test against eight Kona coffees in Hawaii, it confirmed what we already knew: our cup was superb.
We began to host over 550 North American visitors to La Finca every year, many of them on short-term mission trips. While with us, part of their work on the farm involved fertilizing, weeding, and sheltering young coffee plants against the wind.
Many of these North American partners who put their hands in the soil of La Finca, now put the fruit of their labor to their lips every morning. This interest in our coffee from our friends up North convinced us that 41 & Change Coffee Co. could bring something special to the North American market.
It's hard to believe, but in Nicaragua the median age is 21 years old due to underdevelopment, wars, and natural disasters. Because of these harsh realities, many youth become alcoholics, drug addicts, and apathetic about their future. This leadership vaccuum created a need for organizations in Nicaragua aimed at empowering youth.
In 1988, at the invitation of local Nicaraguans, Jim and Sarah Hornsby began the work of Young Life (Vida Joven in Spanish) in Matagalpa, Nicaragua, by making contacts with youth through English classes and sports. At the same time, they searched for adults who could build Christ-centered relationships with local youth.
By 1989, a group of 15 adults formed the National Adult committee, and in 1999, Fundacion Religiosa de Vida Joven came to life. The ministry grew. In March, 2011, Holman Mendoza became the first Nicaraguan team leader of the ministry.
Vida Joven began with the purpose of helping youth accept Jesus Christ as the center of their life, believing that this would help them become transformed people capable of valuing themselves and their neighbor, of not only surviving, but growing and developing in difficult circumstances, and helping others to do the same. It starts with a change of heart but goes much further.
Transformed people transform society. Which is why Vida Joven serves Nicaragua's youth in practical, concrete and integrated ways. In other words, we believe in responding to their total needs: spiritual, cultural, academic, economic, recreational, and social.