Spring is the epitome of new beginnings and with new beginnings come new challenges and opportunities. On April 6th, Mentoring International launched their first program of the year, in which mentors and mentees were given a brief introduction as to what is to come in the following months.

Our Founder and Executive Director, Maria Luisa Hayem, started off with introductory remarks, highlighting how the program’s mission is to provide the mentee with an opportunity to grow, to be exposed to a positive influence, and to motivate them to continue their studies in order to combat and ultimately break the cycle of poverty and violence. As Maria Luisa mentioned: “Our students have the capacity and the potential to reach their goals, and our task is to channel that energy and potential.”

This year we have mentors from all over the world, ranging from Brazil to France. Also, it will be the first time we will have mentors directly working in El Salvador, which is a new approach we have taken since our founding.

The event concluded with some inspiring words by ESEN student, Carlos Chávez. Living in a large household, Carlos was entrusted with the large task of supporting his family. While working with his dad selling bread, Carlos knew that his passion lied elsewhere. He knew he wanted to study and that he wanted more out of his life. He highlighted the importance of taking that extra step, working hard even when things seemed dim. So, what made him continue even though he was under difficult circumstances? He attributes that seeing the positive side of things made him work through everything. Always giving more than expected and being humble made him the person that he is today, a law student on his way to Spain to keep on learning. Positive influences and his commitment to learning distinguishes Carlos. He believes in looking for opportunities, not expecting them to be handed to him, as life has shown him that he is capable of making the best and getting the best out of every situation.

With his testimony, Carlos showed the future mentees a glimpse of what may become of them, given that he experienced the benefits of learning, practicing, and having someone to talk to. The power of mentoring, of opportunities and chances have shown us that there is a way to help at-risk youth. The key, as mentioned before, is to channel that energy and potential and thus convert it into something positive.