On February 23, 2017, the Staff Association of the Inter-American Development Bank hosted a Table Talk in collaboration with Mentoring International. The power of mentoring youth at risk was evidenced in the testimonies of experts, mentors, as well as mentees.

In El Salvador, only 22% of students keep on studying after high school. The alarming percentage raises the question as to why the remaining 78% do not continue their education.

With little to no options, many opt to work while leaving their studies behind. In order to change what seems as a gloomy future, mentoring programs have motivated students to keep on studying. After a Table Talk organized by Mentoring International and the Inter-American Development Bank´s Staff Association, in which the role of guiding youth at risk was analyzed, attendees were witnesses of the power of mentoring. Inspiring testimonies from mentors as well as mentees proved that achieving goals is possible, as well as gratifying.

Among the speakers there was Laura Ripani, a Labor Markets Lead Specialist, who analyzed the role of mentoring and how firms are looking for individuals with socio-emotional skills. According to Laura, mentoring can help individuals become more valuable assets for firms, hence they are more likely to be hired. Additionally, Elena Heredero, a Youth Lead Specialist at the Multilateral Investment Fund, recognized the many barriers children face in Latin America and again underscored the importance of building socio-emotional skills and of mentoring saying that “mentoring can cause great impact in youth’s lives in a short period of time.”

Mentors such as Sandra Murcia and Gerardo Arias were able to share their stories with a common theme, expressing how gratifying it is to be a mentor. Ivania Martinez, a mentee, also shared her powerful story describing how she found a mentor that made her dreams come true. She ended with encouraging words as she stated, “I ended up convinced that it is possible.”

The Director of Mentoring International, Maria Luisa Hayem ended the talk on a high note as she urged for an “injection of positivity.” After a series of Q&A, attendees were able to learn more about the program that motivates at risk youth by providing viable alternatives and helping them achieve their academic and professional goals.