In this Q&A, you will meet Raquel, a Future at Home scholar. Raquel is pursuing a degree in Journalism. And is a member of an Urban Strategies’ church partners in Guatemala.
Q: How has being a Future at Home scholar impacted you personally? How do you see it impacting your cohort?
A: Future At Home is a unique opportunity to which few have access. Guatemala is a country where only 2.6 percent of the population between the ages of 18 and 26 go to university. The percentage of students who complete more than two years of college is even lower. Higher education is extremely important because it raises our abilities, and provides us with more tools to face a world with diverse social problems across sectors. Being part of Future at Home makes me lucky, as many young people with scarcity of resources, family problems and other challenges choose to leave the country because they have no opportunities to work and study.
Q: What are some key takeaways you had from the leadership development trainings with Urban Strategies?
A: Being in a process of constant growth opens our imagination to goals and dreams previously could not have imagined; challenges us to give our best efforts in our daily lives; and encourages us to continue striving for a better country. One of the greatest life lessons is am taking from Future at Home is commitment -- not only to give my best personally but to a society that expects us to give our best and be the change.
Q: How do you see yourself, your peers, and the church being involved in community transformation?
A: Young people are not just the future, we are the present and we must raise our voice and make an impact now, not in a few years. I have dreams and goals for my country and community. I purpose to train and motivate myself every day to always give my best, just as Jesus came to give his best, making a sacrifice to show love. My faith and my career must always go hand in hand; therefore, I see myself being part of the transformation of my community by using my gifts and talents to be a good citizen and serve my country. In the churches to which we belong, we have several community transformation programs, and I know that with our careers we can transform the stories of young people and children. Personally I love being able to share impact stories about my community and use my journalism skills to document the stories of transformation.
Q: What is your vision for community transformation?
A: Community transformation is a process, which cannot be done by a single person, but we must work with the community. It is not about carrying out projects but rather truly restoring relationships in the community that have often been broken. The Church must be a key agent in restoring the social fabric, because the church has what many times a mayor or an NGO does not have-- love and passion for the restoration and the full life of each person. Community transformation requires everyone's participation in a community. We have many tools, such as sports, mental health awareness, the opportunity to create self-sustaining programs, etc. We must always give more. Time is progressing and if the church does not insist on being an agent of transformation, I think its vision is very poor.
Future at Home is a youth development program led by Urban Strategies. The program partners impact-minded investors with high-potential youth in Central America to create access to higher education, personal personal development and employment. When you invest in a student, you impact them, their church and their community. Help shape the trajectory of Central American communities by making an investment in enterprising youth like Raquel here.