In the past 10 years the ¡Supérate! Program has provided better opportunities of life through the high quality education in English, computer science and values to more than 3,800 youth in El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Panamá.
These talented youth have managed to simultaneously graduate from high school and our Program with outstanding results by adapting and overcoming a great number of challenges and adversities regarding their social, economic and emotional environment.
Resilience, “term that belonged exclusively to the physics subject, it expressed the ability of some materials to recover their original form after undergoing a deforming pressure. A few years back, however,this term was adopted by the social sciences to refer to the ‘ability of human beings to cope with the adversities in life, overcome, and even learn from them.’” (1)
In the ¡Supérate! Program, our youth have been exposed to violence, insecurity, economic adversity, unemployed parents and many other risky situations have managed to overcome these challenges and learn valuable life lessons through these.
“Resilience becomes important in the educational context because it has been proven that after the family, the school is an important environment where children and youth acquire the needed skills and abilities to succeed. Thanks to their ability to overcome adversity, these are powerful environments for building and fostering resilience.” (2)
Resilient people are very committed to themselves, they are aware of their control on the circumstances and are open to changes in their lives. Every ¡Supérate! Center is focused on developing values and self-esteem.Furthermore, our five institutional values are present in every action and process of a ¡Supérate! Center: Self Improvement, Excellence, Solidarity,Integrity, and Leadership.
When a ¡Supérate! student starts to recognize and value himself he “starts to identify his virtues, strengths, weaknesses as well as his talents and how to express them. He is guided in the process of learning how to recognize and appreciate their value; forgive their mistakes and start seeing these as a life lessons.”
During the second year, after getting to know themselves and their strengths , the students discover and recognize the different social support systems available to them. “They are encouraged to cultivate and treasure relationships with other people, as a reflection of their relationship with themselves. They learn to ask for help as well as to give help (especially volunteering through ¡Supérate! Volunteers), as a chain of love that is built and in constant progress. As their relationship with others improves, and they are able to open up and express themselves, their comprehension, support and respect will increase” which strengthens their ability to overcome adversity by improving their ‘ability to respond’ or their ‘responsibility.’” (4) It is from here that the concepts of our ¡Supérate! family is born, given that the community of each Center becomes a second and sometimes a first source of affection, trust, solidarity and acknowledgement. Our ¡Supérate! Teachers are an example of all these fundamental aspects. They selflessly give themselves to their students and oversee the process of rebuilding values and other concepts that are misconceived (given the students’ hardships and surroundings) and make them learn and build the “normal” principles and values of friendship, family,compromise, trust, self-improvement, excellence, solidarity, and integrity.
Finally, during the third year, the ¡Supérate! students acquire the ability to analyze and appreciate the challenges to come in the road ahead, they translate it into a search of opportunities for their professional development (scholarships or job opportunities) through their high performance, skills, and leadership. At the end of the three years in the Program, the ¡Supérate! graduates do not see themselves as victims of their circumstances or the adversities they have faced but as survivors and agents of change of their life, their surroundings, their community and their country.