Nurturing empathy and inclusion in Guatemala through our programs

Nurturing empathy and inclusion in Guatemala through our programs

Bullied as a child, Mariana learned that empathy and compassion are the highest virtues we can cultivate as a society. Now 27 and an educator with the Central American Service Corps (CASC), she has a clear vision for how she wants to make an impact on her community.

Mariana’s participation in CASC began after she graduated with a degree in Industrial Psychology. She saw CASC—which provides mentorship and community service opportunities for young people in Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras—as a platform where she could contribute to her community’s development. 

Her participation proved how much of an impact one person can make.

Through her work with CASC, Mariana encountered a young girl named Cristel. Cristel had been marginalized and scorned by her peers because of a speech impediment that she had developed from chemotherapy. 

Mariana saw a chance to make real, lasting changes in Cristel’s life and community. No longer the vulnerable, bullied child herself, she mobilized the community to ensure that every child at school learned sign language, so Cristel could communicate with her peers. This act of compassion and inclusion helped Cristel to finally communicate. She started to thrive.

Mariana deeply understands the principle of paying it forward and believes in the strength that resides within each person. Working with CASC marked a new beginning for her. It taught her how her skills could be harnessed to support others.

Today, Mariana is an educator at CASC and an unwavering advocate for empathy and inclusion. Her story shows that when we commit to service and compassion, each one of us has the power to effect meaningful change and transform lives.