Unaware of what to expect, Khatijah, a university student, set off into a journey to the little country of El Salvador. She  decided to visit and see for herself  while researching on youth, how the Supérate Center works . Here she tells us her unforgettable enriching experience.

I had the opportunity to visit during my last trip to El Salvador, while researching on youth, the Supérate Center that from the outside looks unassuming. It is a white building, the size of a very large home with a lone guard standing in front. It doesn’t look like much but what is on the inside was far beyond anything I could have imagined.

I first learned about Supérate through researching programs working with youths and violence prevention. Supérate, while not directly involved with violence prevention, works with youth to provide them a bright future. The model, combining English, morals and technical skills is a unique in the violence prevention program world.

This model is unique because it focuses on the combination of morals, technical skills and English while other violence prevention programs simply focus on one aspect, such as a technical skill. As a graduate of the Supérate program, the students have a wealth of skills in which they excel. The morals aspects of the program, in my opinion, is one of the most impactful because it can restore a student’s sense of worth, build confidence, and help guide them in their decisions about their future.

The first thing you notice when you speak to the students is their hope for the future and gratefulness for the opportunity to be a part of the program. They were all enthusiastic while sharing their dreams, asking questions and retelling their life stories. It is the type of experience that makes you grateful for the opportunities you have been afforded but also makes you want to do more.

“Doing more” has come in the form of mentoring. Mentors play an important role in young people’s lives. They can be coaches, friends or teachers. Mentorship is a part of every program in violence prevention, but also in all aspects of life such as in a career. It is key tool because a mentor will be by your side, working hand in hand with you to achieve goals and dreams. From experience, I can say that mentors can be confidants, cheerleaders, and can have the capacity to shape futures. Having a mentor has helped me make decisions about college, careers and even impacted where I decided to live. They can be your best resource if you utilize them. The mentor and mentee relationship is a two way street, enriching both lives and ensuring a bright future.