Help 2,000 at-risk youth in Colombia build peace

Jun 6, 2014

Preventing Violence through Recreational Education

Since our last report in March, our prevention of violence and peace building program has been the cause of positive change in the barrios of Medellin. This semester has accounted for the most registered participants to date! So, we know more youths are catching wind of the program and deciding to give it a try, which is a good thing because once they start, they usually stay with us until high school. This has to do with the positive change they see in their lives, resulting from the new creative skills they build, along with the love and support they receive from our staff.

Over these past few months, there were some major activities that all four youth centers participated in. First, in preparation for the upcoming World Cup, we had a soccer tournament with mutiple teams from each youth center participating. This Saturday we will be having the championship game between the teams El Rojo from the Palermo youth center and Los Tigres from the Picacho youth center.

Also, we saw our youths take great interest in our urban garden project, with each youth center now seeing the healthy fruits and vegetables their gardens are producing. Mmm, delicious!

Apart from those two special projects, the youths continue to participate in the regular activities of open play, board games, reading, creative writing, theatre, dance workshops, among other activities; all with the main goal of stimulating their minds and bodies, allowing for the constructive use of free time in order to build resiliente attitudes towards violence and an affinity towards peaceful coexistence.

Please stay tuned for more updates as we send pictures and more reports. We want to thank all our supporters for the donations and time they devote to this program. Without you, we wouldn't be able to implement these positive changes in these vulnerable youths' lives. 

Happy beginning of summer for all! Enjoy the sun and warmer weather!

Mar 6, 2014

Alternative Winter Break!

The past two months could have been relatively relaxed in terms of planned activities at our youth centers, due to the winter break from school that usually lasts from the end of December until the end of February. Although the ludotecas aren't officially in session during these months, this year we offered an alternative break to our beneficiaries that desired to participate.

In January and February of 2014, we served around 320 beneficiaries; the children and youths from the barrios surrouding our four youth centers. Our goal was to promote good habits in the constructive use of free time through recreational and educational activities, helping diminish idle and delinquent behavior. Based on the smiles and positive energy generated over the past two months (see pictures below), I think it's safe to say we succeeded.

Although it's winter, the weather in Colombia allows for lots of outdoor fun. Over the past two months, our youth centers focused on outdoor and environmental activities, ranging from sports, to trips to local parks, excursions to pools, and the simple act of playing outside in the fresh air!

Another line of focus was awareness and care for the environment. We taught the children how to make small gardens with recycled plastic containers and bottles, along with field trips to local ecological reserves and farms. All these activities help to plant a seed in the minds of these young persons of how important sustainability is, not just in terms of natural resources, but relationships with our neighbors, communities, and rest of the world.

Again, it has to be said that all these activities wouldn't be possible without the aid from our generous donors and supporters like yourselves. We want to thank you for your continued support and let you know that we can only continue to generate positive impact with your help!

Finally, we want to inform you of the first fundraising campaign for FSV in 2014 on GlobalGiving, coming up over the next month. In continuation with our environmental theme, we are going to install and maintain organic farms on four green spaces on the property of the Foundation, not being used for anything. They will help provide food security for our youth centers, providing healthy food from seed to plate to our beneficiaries, along with selling surplus produce in order to help cover program costs.

Please keep us in mind and we hope that you will make the decision to donate over the next two months in order to help continue this project on GlobalGiving!

Donate here!:

Dec 20, 2013

Dream Big Festival 2013

Merry Christmas! Or better said, Feliz Navidad!

For our final report of 2013, we would like to report that the Solidarity Foundation of the Visitacion has enjoyed a year full of accomplishments, everything from more children and youths enrolling in our violence prevention programs to landing this partnership with GlobalGiving, allowing us to spread our mission globally. 

Our four youth centers have been extremely busy, preparing for the end of the semester and the artistic exhibitions that accompany that process. You see, all your support helps go to programs like this, and these end of the year shows help show what these youths have learned. They spend hours practicing and making constructive use of free time, instead of being out on the streets after school. As you'll see in the attached You tube videos, not only are they developing creative skills, they are gaining a sense of pride- all of which contributes to the development of resilient attitudes towards violence and delinquent behavior. 

All through December, these groups of talented young people are putting on performances in the name of peace and transforming their neighborhoods for the better. Through dance, music, reading, and acting, our young people are changing the social landscape of Medellin through the creation of values in themselves and those around them.

There is nothing like seeing a child discover enjoyment in a talent or activity. All the smiles flying around today are proof of that.

Once again, thanks to all our donors and supporters for making this possible and make sure to check out our Facebook page.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from sunny Colombia. We'll see you in 2014!

-William Winters

Assistant Project Leader


Nov 25, 2013

One beneficiary's tale of progress

John Esteban Leon
John Esteban Leon

The story of John Esteban's journey along side the Solidarity Foundation of the Visitation began on February 5, 2005 (then 8 years old) at our youth center in Playon; a decision that would soon alter the path of his life in the most positive of ways. 

He fondly recalls all the memories and things he has learned over the past 8 years at the youth center of Playon, commenting on how this supporting, loving environment has helped transform him and his community. John says, "I met my best friends at this youth center; learning and playing together for so many years has made our bonds unbreakable. We have grown together in the process of becoming respectful citizens in our communities, and now instead of bullets and apathy, we are happy to participate in the youth center's activities!"

Now sixteen years old, John and many others have continued from a young age in our program of prevention of violence. This is such an important victory for the city because we are helping mold its future leaders; leaders who know the importance of valuing themselves and others, all of which contributes to a more peaceful and secure environment. 

It is only with your support that we can continue these vital programs, so thanks again for you partnership and we hope it lasts for years to come.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Nov 7, 2013

New Alliances, New Beginnings for Solidarity in Medellin

Two months ago, the Solidarity Foundation of the Visitacion embarked on a new path of raising international awareness for our cause; competing for and successfully obtaining a permanent spot on the GlobalGiving website, allowing us to reach out to more potential donors, especially in the United States.  Due to the successful results of our first attempt at on-line fundraising, we were able to strengthen our ability to offer recreational education (RE) to more youths from marginalized neighborhoods in the city of Medellin. During this past month of October, we attended to more than 650 children and young persons at our four youth centers in the city, engaging them in a grand variety of activities in RE.

In October, these young people participated in multiple activities. Apart from the dance workshop of capoeira that took place at the Picacho youth center (see video in link), the other three youth centers in Palermo, San Pablo, and Playon also participated in workshops that taught the elements of dance with respect to choreography, time, rhythm, and history/style. The kids learned Michael Jackson´s Thriller dance and performed it for their Halloween party! Other activities that took place in the youth centers this month included a field trip to a natural reserve in the city in order to appreciate and learn respect for the environment, reading classic literature out loud, musical instruction in playing the flute and drums, construction of family trees with various kinds of art supplies, and 6 hours of sports/games each week. Bettering motor skills, exercising, reading, or being creative; it’s these types of actions that promote learning how to love themselves and others, which is the basis for prevention.

One of beneficiaries Nicole Giraldo had this to say: ¨I´ve experienced so many new things at the Picacho youth center! I love the dance we learned this month and can´t wait to learn new ones in the future. I feel like this is my second home and helps me be a better person…¨

Thanks to all of you and your generous contributions, we can continue to be committed to bettering the lives of these children in need. It´s wonderful to see the joy on their faces when they are learning and having fun.

So PLEASE continue to support this project! This December, we will be having our Year-End campaign on GlobalGiving. Bonus awards are available to organizations that raise the most money, therefore we want to encourage you to help make another earth-changing action.

See you in December!


Nicole Giraldo
Nicole Giraldo


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Project Leader

Francisco Beltran

Medellin, Antioquia Colombia

Where is this project located?

Map of Help 2,000 at-risk youth in Colombia build peace