Seeing life from a different perspective

Published on 28 September, 2017 by Glasswing

Seeing life from a different perspective

Mourning the death of his grandmother, failing nearly every course, living in a different city from his parents, and making poor decisions, Emmanuel felt he was losing control of his life. He was in the sixth grade when on February 14, his grandmother was admitted to the emergency room. She passed away two weeks later, leaving a major void in Emmanuel’s life.

Emmanuel is a student at P.S. Marcelino García Flamenco, a Glasswing Community School. Two years have passed since that “difficult year” and today he is in the eighth grade. He has now been a member of the Finance Club, implemented by Glasswing and the Citi Foundation as part of the Youth L.E.A.D. program, for one year.

For Emmanuel, Glasswing has provided holistic support. He has participated in extracurricular programs since 2013, the year that the Community Schools program entered his school. He was enrolled in the Soccer Club the first few years, then he joined the Communications Club and now he is also in the Finance Club.

After his parents divorced when he was four years old, Emmanuel went to live with his grandparents. Nine years later, his grandmother passed away and he lost his maternal figure and guide in his life. That year, Emmanuel’s grades decreased significantly, never achieving above a failing grade. He was accused on multiple occasions of drug addiction, a potential gang member, and felt as if everything in this life was falling apart. His attitude worsened every day and he was not interested in improving. However, he always continued to attend the club, at that time he was only enrolled in the Communications Club. He claims that participating in this club helped him move forward, gave him a sense of belonging, and showed him that he mattered.

During this process, there was one person who marked a before and after: Renato, a Glasswing volunteer. He provided support and direction for Emmanuel during that difficult time because Renato taught him that problems could be overcome and that he couldn’t lose hope. With his help, Emmanuel slowly began to overcome his situation.

Over time, Emmanuel’s grades began to improve. Now he averages between B’s and A’s in every class. To achieve this, Emmanuel says he had two driving forces: his “Profe” Renato and belonging to the clubs. “With each session, I was learning not to give up and, instead, working towards organizing my life,” he said. “The Youth L.E.A.D. program has helped me to see life from a different perspective. I now know that I won’t always be the ‘disorganized student.’ I have to look to the future and believe that I will be successful in life.”

In addition to improving his grades, Emmanuel has positively improved his behavior. He is currently competing for a scholarship to help him achieve his goals of graduating from high school and pursuing higher education. He acknowledges that good behavior is essential to reaching these goals. Emmanuel hopes to study at P.S. Walter A. Soundy for high school, another Glasswing Community Schools and, in the future, dreams of becoming pilot.

A recent study conducted by the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile found that Glasswing’s Community Schools, and specifically the extracurricular programs, benefit students in many ways, not only providing them with critical academic and life skills. These benefits help students do better in school, enabling them to thrive in some very difficult circumstances.