Learning New Skills Helps Kids Achieve Their Dreams

Story and photos by Kalis Parra, Dominican Republic Field Communications Specialist

A Child Champion in the Dominican Republic is teaching teens a valuable skill that will help them earn an income, which can provide them a path out of poverty and a chance to achieve their dreams.

Mary works on fine-tuning her skills as a nail technician instructor at the Hope Center.

Even though Mary hasn’t been a Child Champion at the Miradas de Amor Hope Center in the Dominican Republic for a long time, she still has managed to have a huge impact on the lives of teens registered there.

Mary teaches nail technician skills to the youths living in poverty, at no cost to them, so they can have a vocation that will help them earn an income — and keep them out of trouble.

“I want them to be competent in the work area and take advantage of the time they are in the Hope Center to teach them something new instead of being in the streets,” says Mary.

“The objective of my classes is that when they graduate from the Hope Center, they can be ready to work and be able to have their own salaries and contribute financially, with their knowledge, to their families.”

The nail-tech course takes four intensive months to complete. When they finish, the youths are prepared with the basics to work anywhere or launch their own nail studios. Today, there are many nail techniques to learn, which is why Mary continues to train the girls even after they complete the course.

Mary teaches Yeraly nail-tech skills.

Usually this program is expensive, but the Hope Center offers these girls the classes and the necessary supplies for free.

“Coming to the Hope Center is a blessing to me,” says Yeraly, a teen whose work has stood out in her classes. “I have been attending since I was little. My family and my community have been receiving a lot from them.

“They teach us about the Word of God and they provide me different types of vocational classes for free. Right now, I am learning nails tech.

“I can’t afford this and my family can’t either, but I can do it because the Hope Center is providing me the materials and the classes for free.”

She adds, “My dream is to launch my own nail studio and be a flight attendant someday.”

Yeraly and her seven siblings live modestly. Her father is a traveling iron buyer and her mother works making mattresses. Yeraly’s dream of opening her own nail studio someday would help her family financially.

Yeraly works on her techniques.

The goal of such vocational classes at Hope Centers is to promote the importance of learning new skills in order to generate jobs for youths without presenting another economic burden for their families.

Child Champions want the kids to understand the value of work and how it can dignify and improve their lives and their community in so many ways.

“If we have girls prepared, they acquire other types of values ​​in their lives,” Mary says. “They have less leisure time to get trapped in the wrong behaviors … like drugs, alcohol, pregnancies at an early age, prostitution, and more.”

And the fact that these youths are generating income results in less poverty in the community, she says.

“My dream for my girls is that they assimilate everything that we have taught them, but that they also grow in values,” Mary says. “I want them to achieve everything they dream of.”

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