Mauricio finds a second family in Glasswing
Mauricio grew up with his great-grandparents in Las Palmas, San Salvador. His mother left when he was two years old, only to come back eight years later and then leave again. Although he lived with his father and his great-grandparents, throughout many points during his life, he felt alone. A history of alcoholism, violence, and negligence from his father, small disagreements with his great-grandparents, and his mother’s absence left him feeling this way.
At school, he had worked hard to find his place, committing to being class president and an active member of the school’s student body since elementary school. But in 2012 when his mother came back into his life, he made the decision to never speak to her again. And soon, he began to feel that his family life was too great of a burden for him. It was hard for him to concentrate in school and he didn’t feel like he had a place to study at home. “There was just too much going on,” he said. It was at this moment that Mauricio started missing class, stopped doing his homework, and began to have frequent health problems, all of which contributed to a decline in his academic performance. Mauricio weighed his options and decided he wanted to drop out of school.
That’s when Lidia, Glasswing’s School Coordinator at the time, stepped in. Mauricio had known her through the after-school program Glasswing ran at his his school Centro Escolar Republica de Canada and he informed her about his decision. “I was convinced I wanted to leave school. But after speaking with Lidia, she encouraged me to stay and motivated me to become a student leader for the Leadership Club. She told me I could take either path, but that she recommended staying in school. She believed in me. And, I decided to stay.”
Mauricio’s first outing with Glasswing was a volunteer day at Merliot Park. He says that after that day he was hooked, and continued to get more and more involved. He said that there was rarely a Glasswing outing or field trip he didn’t participate in. Shortly after becoming a student leader, he joined Glee Club as a volunteer, as he had always had a passion for dance. His attendance started to improve, as did his grades, and he regained motivation.
Mauricio expressed that his involvement in the program helped him discover what he wanted for his life in the future. He graduated from high school last year and is currently pursuing a degree in Gastronomy at ITCA (Instituto Tecnologico Centroamericano). Through different opportunities presented to him by Ingrid, the new Glasswing School Coordinator, and Lidia, who he felt served as a mentor to him, Mauricio came across an opportunity to apply for a scholarship from San Benito Parish and they are now sponsoring his studies.
Mauricio is the first member of his family to attend university. His mother has since come back into his life and supports his decision to pursue a career. They now have a better relationship. He attributes this to the mentorship he found from Lidia and his fellow volunteers. He says they encouraged him to put away his resentment and move forward with his life.
“The school and Glasswing were like my second family. The other family that I came here to find, because, at home, I could not find anything to hold on to. Here, I found another way. If I had not been involved in this program, I would have stopped studying. I would be into other things… Perhaps not bad things, but I’d need an education at this point.”