From Street Gang to Service Industry in Panama

 
$42,304
$17,696
Raised
Remaining
Mar 24, 2014

Casco Viejo's Thrilling Esperanza Graduation (6 Week Recap)

Post Graduation Day Cleanup
Post Graduation Day Cleanup

In a room full of inspired neighbors and businessmen, Esperanza’s second class celebrated their graduation this past Friday with a beautiful ceremony held at the local American Trade Hotel.

 

The 10 young graduates in this particular class have turned a lot of heads for several reasons…

 

First, for their fortitude.

 

The past six weeks were peppered with a number of setbacks and roadblocks, but the graduates showed that they were willing to overcome pretty much any odds including a temporary pause to the program due to safety concerns.

 

This "ganas" to succeed is something that is new (and reassuring) to the technical team.

 

Another reason that this particular class was so inspiring was their entrepreneurial drive.

 

Never before had the technical team seen young men with such desire to create their own businesses.

This had an interesting way of enticing local entrepreneurs to support the program as well as scoring several international press opportunities.

 

The graduation ended with a business plan presented by the group's Leaders to coordinate high-end dinners in the ghetto (a model designed to bring attention to the neighborhood via partnerships with successful local restauranteurs).

 

Several of Panama City’s top food and beverage executives were in attendance have already expressed serious interest in participation.

 

The graduation also marked another milestone as the young men officially renounced their previous gang title (Ciudad de Dios) in favor of a new and inspiring name, “Fortaleza” which can be interpreted as “Strength” (as in, “one needs Fortaleza to succeed here”) as well as “Fortress” (as it relates to the historic stone wall remnants that once defended Casco Viejo from pirates.)

 

This was an organic and monumental decision by the graduates, not necessarily to forget where they came from, but rather to demonstrate where they are going.

 

All in all, Esperanza San Felipe as a program made great strides in this, our second phase of reintegration.

 

Eyeing several large grants as well as a constant flow of recurring $25/monthly donations from inspired supporters, financial backing seems to be one of the few yet tangible cruxes to our success.

 

While there are still a lot of challenges and we're maybe only half way towards our goal of turning the former Ciudad de Dios territory into a "Zona de Paz" and integrating these guys fully into the community, our first report represents a spectacular start.

Retreat: Day 1
Retreat: Day 1
Retreat: Day 1
Retreat: Day 1
Retreat: Day 2
Retreat: Day 2
Graduation
Graduation

Links:

Comments:

About Project Reports

Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.

If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating or by subscribing to this project's RSS feed.

donate now:

An anonymous donor will match all new monthly recurring donations, but only if 75% of donors upgrade to a recurring donation today.
Terms and conditions apply.
Make a monthly recurring donation on your credit card. You can cancel at any time.
Make a donation in honor or memory of:
What kind of card would you like to send?
How much would you like to donate?
  • $25
    give
  • $50
    give
  • $100
    give
  • $1,700
    give
  • $25
    each month
    give
  • $50
    each month
    give
  • $100
    each month
    give
  • $1,700
    each month
    give
  • $
    give
gift Make this donation a gift, in honor of, or in memory of someone?

Project Leader

Keyes Hardin

Panama City, Panama

Where is this project located?