“Hopefully, after our Glasswing gala in April we will be able to expand these programs to Latino youth in the U.S.,” said Carmen earlier this year, referring to the valuable work currently undertaken by the El Salvador-based charity she mentors, that supports some of the most vulnerable children across Latin America. But growth has come earlier than expected, and Glasswing are now bringing their expertise and experience to the United States. Particularly following the tragic wave of violence in schools within the U.S. the past year, Carmen and Glasswing hope that the programs can help offset some of the root causes, as they have been shown to do in Latin America.
Established in 2007 by former humanitarian aid worker Celina de Sola, Glasswing International works with children across 15 Latin American countries who are facing poverty and extreme violence, and through a variety of education, workplace and health programs it aims to foster change through community empowerment and engagement. Since its inception, over 250,000 children have benefitted from Glasswing’s education initiatives, 16,500 mothers and children have been supported by their paediatric and community health services, 92% of children and young people have reported an improvement in their relationships with peers and family, and 86% an improvement in their self-esteem.
After visiting the charity in San Salvador in January, and spending time with the children it supports, Carmen donated $100,000 to the cause, joined the organization’s board and started mentoring founder Celina de Sola. She was keen to help them expand their work to Latino youth outside Latin America, and with her support, the charity has now been able to realize this aim, and has recently started working on a coaching/internship program with youth in New York City.
Glasswing is now supporting a group of U.S. high school students who have faced more obstacles and had fewer opportunities than many of their peers, but who hold the same human potential. It will be providing them with opportunities to develop their life skills - including leadership, with confidence, critical thinking, communication, teamwork and resilience – as well as their financial, employability, and entrepreneurship skills. And one of the charity’s first projects will be to revitalize the students’ school, lead by the students themselves, who will each bring in aspects of their individual cultures (they are originally from five different countries).
“Thanks to Carmen’s vision and generous support, at Glasswing, we have been able to apply our expertise and experience with Positive Youth Development in Latin America to Latino youth in the United States,” said Celina de Sola. “We feel so lucky to be working with these young men and women, and have no doubt this project will have a huge impact on everyone involved.”