When you last heard from us we had just wrapped our second intervention (with the Forteleza group), reporting 85% employment/entrepreneurship, along with other extremely promising statistics. We'll we are proud to let you know that Forteleza's employment and entrepreneurship statistics haven't changed, and we've now started our third intervention.
The latest group started three weeks ago and is still 19 strong (from 21 orignially), which is by far the best retention rate we have ever seen. They have passed through the full personal develpment cycle, working on self-esteem, communication, conflict resolution and other topics, both in groups and individually with the staff psychologists.
This week they began the skills development phase, which will last unitl mid-January, when they will start jobs or start businesses. There is a lot to do between now and then, but we're really excited about this group.
If things go as well as they have with the previous two, this will the the third of four gangs in our community that have committed and changed thanks to your support and the hard work of the Esperanza technical team.
If you're thinking of a gift for the person who has everything this year, why not make them a member of the Esperanza Social Venture Club. It's kind of amazing what a lot of people giving $25 per month can do!
This is the title of Enlaces Program’s most recent dance presentation at Teatro Anita Villalaz, one of the theatres at Panama City’s historic Casco Antiguo. For this show the children trained and rehearsed for more than 4 months, where they explored the relationship between their bodies as a tool for success and source of self-confidence and self-respect. Within the creation process they reinforced the importance of taking care of themselves and the concepts of individuality and how a group can act as a whole, too.
It is beautiful to see, how they become more professional with each presentation. They understand theatre codes, and see the stage as a sacred place. Their concentration was outstanding, and so was their coordination and teamwork. With each show they feel more engaged with their identity as performing artists.
We had a full house, for the first time the families of each one of them were present and so were some of their schoolteachers. The following days the event still pounded in the streets of Casco Antiguo and in our hearts. The children were completely satisfied and eager to work on the next show and share their art with the community. Stay tuned for the next presentation!
When Kimmy arrived to Fundacion Calicanto we saw a young 18 year old girl with an introverted personality, monotonous speech, low self-esteem and if she ever answered a question, it was usually a shy and awkward yes or no answer with her head tilted toward the floor, avoiding eye contact at all costs.
The first week of CAPTA, Kimmy had difficulty communicating with the other women in the classroom; she had a child-like attitude and cried every time a teacher insisted on her participation. She had not finished high school; she only made it to 9th grade due to learning difficulties and because her mother couldn’t afford to send her to school any longer. By the time she entered CAPTA, she was financially dependant of her mother, and so was her younger sister.
On the third week of the course, positive changes in Kimmy started to show through the interventions of the psychologists and teachers. In the Computer Literacy course, she impressed the teacher with her high abilities to use the computer and finishing first in all of the assignments; and due to her dexterity in this class, the teacher asked her to help the other women in their work. This sparked a new attitude in Kimmy, for the first time in her life she felt she was good at something, and she spread this new feeling of self-satisfaction and self-confidence in the other courses. She began to express herself with her classmates and everyone who works at Fundacion Calicanto. Her personal appearance changed; she would come with impeccable hair, dress and make up. She started to be more outspoken, and would even volunteer for small tasks that would involve having to ask for things or talk to someone else.
During the practice at the International Hotel School, she excelled and received a recommendation letter and a diploma for her high performance. Kimmy was chosen by her classmates to be their spokeswoman in the graduation ceremony and received a Perseverance Award. A few days after graduation she passed by Fundacion Calicanto for an update, she said she couldn’t wait to start her new job and continue her path towards personal success.