Preparing Youth For Their Future

Mar 13, 2024

The Vision for Vulnerable Youth Initiative is creating a brighter future for teens and young adults in seven countries in Central and South America. The program uses the Youth Ready curriculum to help young people aged 14–29 grow their social, emotional, cognitive, literacy and communication skills so they can develop a livelihood.

Sheyla, 18, was at a crossroads in her life when she joined Youth Ready. The young mother of two from Peru is an ambitious, hard worker. When her relationship with her children’s father ended, she needed a way to support her family.

“I joined Youth Ready at a complicated time in my life, where they taught me many things,” Sheyla says. “We shared many experiences and there were also moments of reflection; I appreciated every topic they taught us.”

Sheyla chose baking and pastry training as her vocational path in Youth Ready since she wanted to build a business and generate an ongoing income. She grew in self-confidence, and felt empowered in a new and healthy way. Sheyla says that Youth Ready helped her move toward a future of independence and being able to provide for her family.

A group of youth, some of them wearing lanyards, pose for the camera on a grassy knoll in a green garden.

The Youth Ready program helps young people learn more about themselves, step out of their comfort zone, and develop interpersonal and technical skills that will help them create a livelihood.

Similarly, Esther, 23, from Peru, also joined Youth Ready to start a business baking and selling cakes. After she completed her Youth Ready training, she was supported to grow her business with seed capital to cover startup costs.

Her bakery’s name translates to “Sweetness for the Soul” to encourage a positive attitude that was inspired by her mother who passed away. Esther gives back to her community, using some of the proceeds of her sales to help people who need it. Esther wants to keep growing her business to pay for her pharmacy studies.

Running from 2019–2023, the Vision for Vulnerable Youth Initiative, with major support from The Barrett Family Foundation, increases the social agency and economic development for youth in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Peru, Colombia, Bolivia and Ecuador.