2001 – Lee Shainis and Shawn Camden reach out to Latin American immigrants to begin to teach them English
Intercambio was born from a desire to connect immigrants and volunteer teachers in Boulder County to lift lives and strengthen our community. Lee and Shawn learned that language was a huge barrier but not the only one — immigrants expressed feelings of deep loneliness and alienation. They also possessed great talents that were underutilized for the community. At the same time, volunteers were excited to teach English and connect with newcomers, so they created a simple, safe platform to connect these segregated populations through English classes.
2002 – First La Fiesta Celebration Draws 1,300 People
The First La Fiesta celebration draws 1,300 people.
2003 – Affordable English Expands to Lafayette and Longmont
Efforts to reach more immigrants expands the program to Lafayette and Longmont. Intercambio receives NOVA Award from Community Foundation for Education Innovation and Excellence.
2004 – Lee Shainis Receives Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award
Lee Shainis, Executive Director and co-founder of Intercambio, receives the Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award, University of Michigan Business School.
2005 – English Classes Offered to Immigrants from All Countries
Boulder County offers affordable English classes to immigrants who come from all over the world. Receives: Daily Camera Pacesetter Award: Education Multicultural Award from Community Action Programs
2006 – Longmont Office Opens and Curriculum Under Development
Intercambio begins to develop it’s own adult, life-skills-focused curriculum to be taught by volunteers.
2007 – Purchases Boulder Office and Completes New Curriculum
Intercambio now owns it’s main office in Boulder, Interactive English Adult ESL Curriculum is ready to go to press, and receives more awards from a grateful community: Boulder Champions of Diversity Award from YWCA Innovation IQ Award from Boulder County Business Report Nonprofit Business Citizen of the Year Award from Microbusiness Development Corporation.
2011 – Distributes over 20,000 copies of The Immigrant Guide
Intercambio shares their award-winning model and The Immigrant Guide with communities n Michigan, Georgia, Missouri, Rhode Island, California, Oklahoma and Arizona.
2012 – National Program Offers Curriculum and Resources to Other Organizations
National Program reaches across the country to sell curriculum and all other Intercambio immigrant resources to similar organizations.
2014 – Chosen as Pilot for Social Enterprise Investment SVP Program
Intercambio was selected to receive enterprise assistance from Social Venture Partners in Boulder County for one-year to help build capacity through hiring additional staff for managing their educational resources and develop a national partnership strategy and improve marketing efforts.
2015 – Purchase Longmont Building
Opens a campus in Longmont, featuring 7 classrooms, 7 offices, a childcare room, community space and kitchen. At capacity, the space can hold 111 students in classes at one time!
2019 – Launches new Confidence and Connections curriculum
Intercambio’s very own curriculum, Confidence and Connections, was launched in 2019 for our local program and 600 partner organizations nationwide.
2020 – Begins offering online classes
When in-person classes came to an abrupt halt due to the COVID-19 outbreak, Intercambio pivoted to online classes using the Confidence and Connections curriculum.