9 Out of 10 Youth Agree
Every year, as sponsored youth near graduation from the program, we ask them to complete a survey to rate their overall experience as well as the support they received. According to this year’s results, 89% indicated that CI programs have improved their chances of having a better future. That’s because they believe they are healthier, more educated and/or more motivated to reach their goals.
Check out what some of our youth had to say about their time in the program – then head over to children.org and check out our 2011 Youth Report Card to see how surveyed youth scored their overall experience.
My name is Cristian Aragon, and I am 19 years old. I study systems engineering.
When I finished high school, I thought about working, and once I had enough money, I could start my university studies. However, one of the Children International educators had faith in me and my skills and suggested I apply for a HOPE scholarship.
If it were not for the HOPE scholarship, my life would be very different. I would probably be working and, more than likely, my willingness to study, become a professional and help my family would be an unreachable dream right now.
My parents and Children International have been two main pillars of my formation. I learned the most important values from my parents, and I received benefits and financial and emotional help from Children International – but, above all, the opportunity of meeting a kind-hearted person like my sponsor, a person who made a difference in my life. My parents and Children International have faith in my skills. I acquired them because I was part of the youth group. I participated in the Youth Health Corps and trained for many years with people who think I am an important person.
Even though I graduated from the Children International program in February 2011, I still participate and help out with my knowledge because I am aware of the importance of returning the favor – and I want more youth to live the wonderful experience of being part of Children International.
Not only do I study, but at night I help adults who want to obtain a high school degree in only two years. I will never forget my first day of classes when everyone stood up and greeted me, saying, “Good evening, Teacher.” That showed me that I am a very lucky youth because I have the opportunity of studying to improve the quality of my life.
In the future I want to use my career to create health programs that improve the quality of the people in my country. I am aware that this is a great opportunity and that I have a great responsibility too. I know that reward comes from gratefulness and humbleness, values learned during my years in Children International.
I have always believed that whenever a person perseveres in achieving one’s goal, he or she will always find a way to achieve it.
As a sponsored youth of Children International, I have been through many sacrifices in life, and I must say that living in poverty is not easy. I grew up in a family which could hardly provide for our basic needs. It became even more difficult when our father left us and didn’t return home. Since my mother is a plain homemaker, me and my other siblings were compelled to stop studying and instead find a way to help our mother earn a living.
Once I graduated from high school, I did not enroll in college; I opted to work to help out with my family’s needs. I learned about perseverance for the benefit of my family. After nine months of working, a blessing came upon me. I was given a chance to continue my studies through the Into Employment program. At first, I was not so sure whether or not to take this opportunity because I didn’t want to quit working. But after attending the first orientation, I decided to take the course of Food and Beverage Service (FBS).
I was not wrong taking the FBS course because of the benefit and experiences I’m now getting from it. I like the technical and soft-skills training. They also provide us the budget and allowances for our daily transportation, and it’s really helping develop our life skills.
The Into Employment program helps me to improve my life because of the chance to finish my studies. My parents were not able to pursue their education – so I’m lucky because Children International is around to help less fortunate sponsored youth.
Though I’m confronted with many trials, I’m optimistic that someday I will achieve my simple dream of becoming a chef. I’m facing a new journey, and I have high hopes that I’ll get through this.
My name is Bittu Mondal. I live near the Special Economic Zone and have been working there from a very young age. My father and both my elder brothers also work there.
As I was not very keen to study, I dropped out of school and followed in their footsteps. Initially, as I had no skills or training, I was an errand boy for all those who were working in the factory workshop. I would get a free meal and some money at the end of the day. Then I heard of this opportunity being offered by Children International. Having been in the sponsorship program, I knew a course run by CI would address the needs faced by the sponsored youth like me. So I went to the center and took an aptitude test. I was lucky to be selected into the welding course.
We had both theory and practical classes and then went for on-the-job training. The training enabled me to get a job at Sigma Search Light Limited.
Presently, I get paid 150 rupees (about $11.50) every day, which is more than what my brothers or father get, and I have been promised subsequent increases. With my income added to the family kitty, we are now slowly being able to spend money on little extras that had not been possible before.
Even though I work long hours, there is job security and the satisfaction of knowing that if I perform well I can grow within the organization. My thanks to Children International for making this happen.
My name is Margarita Rosa Gómez Cabarcas. I am 18 years old, and I have been with Children International for 15 years. The program has given me education, health and many other benefits.
Right now I am studying my fourth semester of Business Administration at the University of Cartagena with help from a HOPE scholarship from the foundation. I live with my mom, who only made it through the 9th grade and doesn’t earn a lot in her job. She also watches over my 17-year-old brother, who is also part of the program.
Thanks to the HOPE scholarship, in 2009 I had the opportunity to get to join the Youth Program since it was a requirement for the scholarship. But then I started to really like participating in all of the activities and getting involved.
Upon seeing my participation, our leader saw a lot of qualities in me – as did my peers. Thanks to this, I was able to become the leader of the Youth Council in less than a year – a big challenge for me. Then, with the help of my friends in the Council and the youth coordinator, we organized four projects which have been carried out with the object of improving youth.
The programs are based on healthy recreation, education, ecology and promoting the proper treatment of children. In addition to that, we have given talks to youth to keep them away from drugs, alcohol, irresponsible sex, pregnancies and family problems. It also teaches them to value themselves more as people and to love what they do and believe in their dreams and goals. Since the moment I decided to become a member of the Youth Council, I learned that it wouldn’t be easy to win over other youth in my community, so I worked really hard to meet the volunteers and make them see that I was a leader. I feel like I am.
Being a leader in the Youth Council has allowed me to be a leader in my own life, for my family, and for the well-being of my community and Cartagena. The most exciting thing about this whole experience has been that in every activity, we reach a lot of people’s hearts and their hearts come together even more to improve our community.