Glasswing on the International Stage

Glasswing on the International Stage

The work we do at Glasswing is local, but the conversations we have about driving change are global. We believe in and engage in a borderless exchange of ideas around the world.

To that end, members of the Glasswing team recently participated in several international events: 

  • In Grenada, Dionne Delgado, Senior Program Specialist for Glasswing New York, spoke about workforce healing.
  • In Washington, D.C., Walter Leiva, Chief of Party for the USAID project NIDO, discussed how to build and sustain youth systems in Central America.
  • In Poland, Sonia Arteaga, Regional Volunteer Coordinator, talked about the societal impact of Glasswing’s Community Schools.
  • In Florida, Celina de Sola, Glasswing’s co-founder and president, gave a talk about democratizing access to mental health support.

Each event was an opportunity to meet with leaders and changemakers, reflect on impact and implementation, and share ideas and insights. 

Dionne Delgado on workforce healing

Dionne Delgado spoke at a Technical Working Group meeting organized by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), in collaboration with the Government of Grenada and the CARICOM Secretariat. The working group was part of the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI).

The conference, titled “Adaptive Management in Citizen Security,” took place in Saint George, Grenada, from January 10 to 12, 2024. 

Dionne introduced SanaMente, Glasswing’s mental health program that is supported by The Audacious Project. She conveyed its message that “Stress isn’t what’s wrong with you. It’s what’s happened to you.” The conversation centered on protecting and healing the workforce through trauma-informed care. 

Dionne talked about the importance for frontline workers of building self-awareness, understanding their own experience with trauma and stress, and learning techniques to regulate or cope with stress. With this knowledge and these techniques, she explained, frontline workers “can take care of themselves and each other. Collectively, they can take care of the people they serve. Teachers are better able to teach; doctors are better able to heal.”

Her talk used guided meditation and awareness training to share with participants how trauma-informed care doesn’t just have a restorative effect. It also helps them serve and support their communities.

Walter Leiva on youth systems

Walter Leiva, Glasswing’s Chief of Party for the USAID project NIDO, attended the Positive Youth Development Symposium 2024 in Washington, D.C., from January 23 to 24. This was a forum where thought leaders in the field of youth development shared insights across an array of topics, from holistic youth programming to mental health and well-being.

Glasswing students in the Dominican Republic

Walter participated in a panel titled “Understanding and Influencing Youth Systems.” He and fellow panelists shared lessons learned about systemic approaches to improving opportunities for young people. He discussed Glasswing’s Community Schools, describing how the program builds youth capacities while engaging and mobilizing different actors at the local level, including government, communities, volunteers, and the private sector. 

Walter said of the event, “In addition to explaining how we work in close coordination with ministries of education in the countries where we operate, I also presented the case of the Dominican Republic, where the government adapted our extracurricular club methodology to be part of the recently approved extended day curricula at public schools.”

NIDO: Building Safe Communities, the USAID-funded project that Walter manages for Glasswing, reaches local populations in San Salvador, Santa Ana, and San Miguel, El Salvador. Its initiatives span:

  • Schools and learning spaces through the Community Schools program and Glasswing’s Núcleo LabHub
  • Livelihoods programs 
  • Violence prevention and trauma recovery through SanaMente
  • Private sector participation to “raise awareness around the advantages of working with diverse individuals to create greater opportunities for people in target communities”

NIDO is a five-year, $20 million project, with half invested by USAID and half by the private sector. It runs through September 2026.

Sonia Arteaga on schools as centers of community

From February 6 to 9, more than 200 community leaders from 25 countries gathered in Warsaw, Poland. They came together for the 2024 Global Summit on Social Impact hosted by the nonprofit Points of Light. Glasswing is one of more than 145 volunteer-mobilizing organizations in the Points of Light network.

This year’s theme was “One World, One Response.” As Points of Light board member Jeff Hoffman described, “This was an important theme for a unique and challenging time in the world. We talked about polarization and how volunteering, civic engagement and service not only help a challenging situation at hand but can bridge divides in a common pact of humanity.”

Sonia Arteaga, Glasswing’s Regional Volunteer Coordinator, said that attendees came together to “share ideas, strategies, and best practices with the goal of promoting collective impact. The event provides a diverse cultural experience that enriches the understanding of civic engagement globally.”

Sonia was there to share about Glasswing’s Community Schools. During a “Spark Session,” she described how Glasswing implements Community Schools at the regional level in eight countries, depicting the impact that volunteers have had on youth participating in the program.

Stowarzyszenie Centrum Wolontariatu, a Polish network affiliate of Points of Light, co-hosted the summit and invited attendees to participate in volunteer projects. Sonia contributed to a project making traditional bead necklaces for Ukrainian refugees.

Celina de Sola on access to mental health care

On March 4, Celina de Sola, Glasswing’s co-founder and president, spoke at “Unlike. Any. Other,” the fourteenth annual Imagine Solutions Conference from the nonprofit Searching for Solutions Institute. Celina was one of 18 thought leaders at the 2024 forum, held in Naples, Florida. 

Celina spoke about what it means to have access to mental health support. She explored the outcomes of increasing access to mental health care, from improved emotional management to reduced re-victimization. 

But she also took a step back to rethink what “mental health resources” fundamentally are. 

She emphasized: “We can interrupt cycles of violence by addressing underlying stress and trauma with better access to mental health support. How do we do this, when we know that access to mental healthcare is virtually non-existent in so many places? If we re-envision who these resources could be, we could help flood communities with mental health support.

Celina described how Glasswing is training over 100,000 government employees in trauma education and self-care. The goal is to cultivate a corps of lay mental health workers on the front lines, empowering them to better manage stress and trauma for themselves, their peers, and those they serve. 

“The power lies in people, in relationships, in a community healing itself,” she said.

Thank you to the organizers of the Technical Working Group meeting, Positive Youth Development Symposium, Points of Light Summit, and Imagine Solutions Conference for giving us the opportunity to share our perspectives and learn from others. We are grateful for the spaces you build for open, thoughtful conversations geared toward driving lasting impact.