Brian McArthur - Director
Brian has a passion for discipleship, being real and living life to the full. That passion is born out in the work we do with the young people who come through our adventure therapy camps. It's a perfect combination of thrill, adventure, relationship building, challenge, growth and wonder.
A current master's student in Clinical Mental Health Counseling with a concentration in Adventure-Based Psychotherapy, Brian has a BA in International Development from the
University of Arizona in Tucson. Brian was a project manager in Washington DC before moving to Bolivia to start Fundación Aventura. Improving the lives of marginalized youth has always been the focus of Brian's work.
The idea for Fundación Aventura was born during a short term mission trip to the Bolivia Life Center orphanage over New Years 2010 through National Community Church. On this trip Brian felt a strong desire to return to Bolivia to work with these boys on a more permanent basis, incorporating his love of the outdoors into a therapy program that would address their needs as trauma victims. In February of 2011, he came to live and work alongside them in Bolivia.
Having grown up in spectacular northern Arizona, Brian strives to share his love of the outdoors with the young people we work with and hopes they discover a way in which God meets with them as well. He is inspired by the victories our participants have had over fears, a sense of impotency and victimization. They are growing to be strong; decisive, daring, compassionate, honest, and responsible. God is doing an amazing work and he is thrilled to be a part of it.
Anna Hart Mamani - Deputy Director
Anna, an Oklahoma native, earned her BA at Palm Beach Atlantic University where she discovered her great loves of psychology (her major), for at-risk youth while volunteering for an inner-city ministry, and for South America after mission trips to Brazil, Bolivia, and Venezuela. After graduation, Anna became a counselor and supervisor for a Wilderness Education Program for juvenile
delinquents and quickly added adventure therapy to her list of loves with canoe trips down the Suwannee River and backpacking the Appalachian Trail.
A few years later, Anna began leading mission trips to Bolivia and jumped when the opportunity arose to move to Cochabamba and live full time in an orphanage. Meeting her greatest love at a bonfire, Anna was married to Angel Mamani in 2013. Now working with Fundación Aventura an ideal combination of what Anna loves has been found. She looks forward to working and adventuring with you!
Lauren Allen - Experiential Learning Advisor
Born and raised in a small rural town in Ohio, Lauren developed a heart to serve others as a pre-teen as she began seeking for volunteer opportunities in her surrounding area. Consequently feeling led by God to pursue a degree in the helping professions upon graduating high school, Lauren obtained her BA in Psychology from Bellarmine University in Louisville. During her time at Bellarmine, Lauren felt called to mission work overseas and joined a mission team traveling to Haiti shortly after the devastating earthquake to
provide support for an orphanage affected by the tragedy.
Upon receiving her Masters in clinical counseling in Cincinnati, Ohio, Lauren began working with children, adolescents, and adults within a community mental health center. While working within the agency, Lauren became interested in experiential and adventure therapy modalities as an avid nature enthusiast and athlete herself. Lauren was visiting NCC church in DC while in town for a triathlon and was fortunate to learn about Fundación Aventura during the service. Realizing the foundation was utilizing the exact modalities to inspire hope and change in the youth in Bolivia she had been researching, Lauren excitedly jumped on the opportunity to volunteer with the organization.
Lauren quickly realized the immense impact the foundation was having on the lives of the youth in Bolivia and shortly after returning home, accepted a position at a therapeutic boarding school in West Virginia for girls where she is continuing to develop and hone in her skills in experiential therapies by taking the girls on trips such as white water rafting and camping as well as spear heading mission trips to Nicaragua. Lauren looks forward to ongoing growth and using her skills to continuing to support and assist the foundation in whatever capacity she is able.
Brian Lopez Muriel - Adventure Therapy Facilitator
Born in Cochabamba and raised at the Bolivia Life Center, Brian dedicated himself to volunteer leadership opportunities within Fundación Aventura from age 14. Eager to apply the lessons he learned through his own adventure experiences, Brian began co-facilitating adventure therapy camps for younger participants from his own home and others. A natural leader, Brian brings compassion, responsibility and a unique ability to empathize with program participants to the team.
Grover Muñoz Arispe - Adventure Tourism Consultant and Adventure Therapy Facilitator
Raised in a variety of residential settings including the Bolivia Life Center, Grover was born in Anzaldo, Bolivia, where he inherited a love of the outdoors and strong thirst for adventure. A current business student at the Universidad Mayor de San Simon, Grover is best known for his tireless capacity to surmount any physical barrier and to help others do the same.
National Community Church
Fundación Aventura is an independent non-profit supported by National Community Church in Washington DC. The idea for the program began with a missions trip led by NCC to the Bolivia Life Center in January 2010. You can watch a video explaining the trauma therapy background of this first trip. Each year, NCC sends additional teams to Cochabamba to support the adventure therapy program.
Read about their trips in these blog entries!
2013: You Decide
2014: Making Vision Reality
Bolivia Life Center
Our strategic partner since 2011, the Bolivia Life Center orphanage has served as the home base for the program, as well as the residence of our first participants. Our founder, Brian McArthur, also lived and worked as a dorm supervisor at the BLC for nearly four years. The Bolivia Life Center was built and is operated by Children's Impact Network, a non-profit based in Lake Worth, Florida.
Local engineer Goretty opened up her house to serve as a shelter and educational center for children from the red light district of Cochabamba. These young people are often pressured into working as prostitutes and pimps themselves, and so along with Goretty, Fundación Aventura is working to provide them a window into a different world and programming that will help them heal from trauma and be resilient in the face of overwhelming societal pressure.
Jireh/Casa de Amistad
These facilities, sponsored by the Canadian Baptist Church and run by local organization OBADES, house two programs that support roughly 200 students from lower income neighborhoods and children whose parents are in jail. Many of these adolescents used to live in the jail with their parents, while others have lived and worked on the street. Fundación Aventura is working with the oldest group.
Villa Infantil Nueva Esperanza
A mixed-gender orphanage housing children and adolescents age 5 and up, located at the feet of the Christ Statue in Cochabamba. Nueva Esperanza's residents have experienced a mixture of abandonment and orphanhood. The home is supported by organizations in Norway and Sweden.
Aldea Cristo Rey
A village-style group of homes run by the Order of Saint Augustine, this home shelters children and adolescents whose parents or guardians are incarcerated. They aim to provide holistic development opportunities for their residents and to strengthen families divided by incarceration.
Christian Camping International
Fundación Aventura has partnered with CCI to provide ACCT certified trainings to camp directors, youth pastors and psychologists in several countries in Latin America. The goal is to raise industry standards in safety and practice while encouraging the use of adventure activities in both therapeutic and recreational settings.
A local foundation that has done an excellent job of stepping in to rescue badly administrated orphanages and turning them around to become places of growth and life for the boys who live there. Fundación Aventura is working with the older boys at their orphanages in Chilimarca.
A major Christian Camp located on the banks of Lake Corani near Cochabamba, with more than 50 years of effective and exciting work in discipleship and adventure. Their facilities include a zipline, climbing wall and high ropes course that they have offered for us to use free of charge as part of their ministry toward the young people we bring on our adventure camps. Plans to enter into a cooperative agreement and partnership are under way, allowing each of us to maximize our resources and the effectiveness of our programs.