The Success Academy is expanding rapidly in Guatemala thanks to donors giving generously, staff working hard, and God guiding the ministry. In January, Orphan Helpers started work inside Guatemala’s detention center for girls. Facilitators Norma and Lucia launched the very first Success Academy in the country. They successfully taught life skills and faith formation to nine girls who made the commitment to work towards a better future.
“For these girls, the Academy has been an opportunity to learn how to get along with others. They are learning to trust themselves and work as a team. Most importantly, they are beginning to think about the future. Most of these girls have never dreamed or set goals,” Norma shared.
“I see the girls struggling daily but we want to stretch them, to become aware of habits they need to change if they want a better life. Being confronted with the need to change is not easy, but they do want to change,” Lucia said.
In June, the nine students gathered with family members and government officials to celebrate their completion of the first level of the Academy. The celebration inside the detention center included prayers, poems, short speeches and words of encouragement for the girls to continue their journeys.
With positive results in the girls’ detention center, the Guatemalan government gave Orphan Helpers official permission to work in all of the country’s juvenile detention centers for the next five years. When a donor couple heard the news, they eagerly wanted to fund the expansion.
Country Director Juan Colmenares conducted a search for candidates willing to go inside two boys’ detention centers each day to teach the young men. He found Rudy and Oscar. Rudy has training as a facilitator in trauma healing and Oscar has extensive experience as a pastor and teacher.
Today, our Guatemalan team of five full-time staff are serving 44 youth in three detention centers. We are blessed to see them making an immediate impact in the lives of incarcerated young men and women in Guatemala.