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Meet the Mentors

Girl Pioneers are reaching new heights as they become educated and confident young women who are contributing to a more gender-equal world. As we support them, we focus on the “whole girl.” Our approach is not only concerned with the hours that we are face to face with Girl Pioneers at the Starfish Impact School. We know that the keys to her success extend well beyond this—to her family life, interpersonal relationships, emotional well-being, and understanding of her cultural identity.

Starfish mentors are a critical part of providing this comprehensive support. They get to know each Girl Pioneer, accompanying her at the familial, personal, and educational level through home visits, individual coaching sessions, and meetings with her Impact School educators. A mentor’s goal is to help each Girl Pioneer work through her emotions and teach her how to navigate challenges, while still working to achieve her goals.

Program Coordinator Roselia shared, “The mentor is a model for each girl who shows her that she can achieve her goals. The girls know that they can trust their mentors because they are people who know them well and understand their context. Each mentor comes from a community similar to the girl and can empathize with her.”

 

Photo by Janna Overend

 Nina

Community: Panajachel
Mentorship group: Sara Curruchich (7th grade)
University degree: Social work
Why she chose to study social work: “I have always been struck by the different problems that affect my country like nutrition, education, health, and discrimination. I have also discovered that my calling is to help people in one way or another, especially those who cannot defend their rights.”
Favorite part of being a mentor: “I really like listening to Girl Pioneers’ ideas. There are moments when I am expecting a different response than the one they give me, and suddenly their ideas seem brilliant. They help me break out of my bubble.”
Goals for the future: To have an organization that supports children with acute and chronic malnutrition through a rehabilitation center and family support

 

Photo by Livvy Runyon

Irma
Community: Buena Vista in Sololá
Mentorship group: Rigoberta Menchú (7th grade)
University degree: Social work
Favorite part of being a mentor: Developing projects with the families, conducting socioeconomic studies of families, home visits, providing support for challenges that Girl Pioneers face and helping them find solutions
Her personal interests: “One of my personal interests is finishing university and working outside of Guatemala to gain other experience and knowledge. I want to learn about the context of social development in other countries to be able to implement those strategies in my community. I am also interested in fostering the importance of education in my family, especially for my two younger sisters.”
Goals for the future: To have a family business and travel to Spain to get to know the country and learn new strategies for community development

 

Photo by Yihemba Yikona

Isabel
Community: Sololá
Mentorship group: Ana Sofía Gomez (8th grade)
University degree: Social work
Why she chose to study social work: “In the beginning, I wanted to help people, but with time and study, I understood that social work is much more than that. It’s about social processes and has a fundamental role in social transformation through intervention with people, families, and communities.”
Most important lesson learned so far: “I am not the one who has the answer to everything. I have to let things function according to the rhythm of each young woman and her family because I have a lot to learn from each one of them, and their experiences are a great lesson in resilience.”
Her personal interests: Learning about people who defend their land from hydroelectric companies because their passion for defending their rights demonstrates the strength of their community

 

Photo by Yihemba Yikona

Andrea Yessenia
Community: San Pedro La Laguna
Mentorship group: Malala  (8th grade)
University degree: Social work
Most important lesson learned so far: “Education is a way to break cycles of poverty, and it gives hope to women and girls of a more just and equal society.”
Her personal interests: Reading adventure and science fiction books, playing soccer, and social inclusion for the disabled
Goals for the future: “I would like to keep working with women and girls or youth. My biggest dream is to help provide better inclusion for people with disabilities in my community, department, and country.”

 

Photo by Livvy Runyon

Silvia
Community: Chichicastenango
Mentorship groups: Youth Effect and Sololá
University degree: Social work
Most important lesson learned so far: “The families are not defeated. Despite obstacles, they keep fighting so that their children can have a better future.”

Favorite part of being a mentor: Getting to know the families and learning from them. “I like that Girl Pioneers see you [the mentor] as someone special, and I learn many things from them.”
Her personal interests: Making crafts, basketball, and cooking

 

We couldn’t do the work that we do without this dedicated team of mentors!

Posted on July 20, 2018 in Starfish Impact School

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