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¡Supérate! a life changing opportunity

Written by Mariana Gómez, ¡Supérate! JUPÁ Graduate. Translated by Dino Kirten, ¡Supérate! JUPÁ vice principal.

I’d like to start by sharing my experience at the Centro ¡Supérate! Fundación JUPÁ.

I remember this experience as if it were yesterday and it always be with with me. When the news came to me that I had been chosen to be part of this Program of Excellence, I honestly had no idea what it would be like or the sacrifice it would entail. At first I was terribly afraid  I would not get to attain the required level, but during the process I realized that I was not only being given the opportunity to learn a new language, but rather, to learn to overcome my fears to move forward with my schooling, as well as to grow as a person.

As students we tend to want results immediately. Changing that perspective was my biggest lesson after my three years at  Centro ¡Supérate! JUPÁ.  Having learned English, information technology and long term values was what pushed me to pursue my dreams of studying abroad, which did not come easy, but it proved worthy having knowledge of the English language as a solid support when I was granted the scholarship to study International Business at Cesar Ritz Colleges located in Switzerland.

While there I put into practice what I had learned in English, and everything about applications such as Word and Excel made me stand out in my assignments. I understood that what I learned in the Centro ¡Supérate! JUPÁ became a plus needed in our educational system.

I encourage you guys not to be afraid to take the challenge. ¡Supérate! is a great opportunity that will change many aspects of your lives for the better.  Don’t lose faith in your potential, much less deny yourself the opportunity to acquire more knowledge, which, on the long run you would find quite helpful.

The road ahead of us is not easy, life is full of obstacles but opportunities like those provided at the Centro ¡Supérate! JUPÁ are there to helps us to surpass each hurdle and make them small before our eyes.

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Solidarity Bond


Written and translated by Connie Motta, Fundación Alberto Motta Board of Directors.

Let us look at our future with hope.  We should be solidary, collaborating and contributing with those in need.  Remember that help starts with the little actions, and if each one of us helps, the multiplier effect can have a great impact.  Be thankful every day because you are safe, offer your help in the daily households, call a friend just to say hello and touch bases, work in teams to contribute with neighbors and nearby communities.  Our individual empathy and generosity add on to a collective dimension that can lead to an essential impact and change in the lives of others.

Remember that all obstacles we overcome, or defeat will make us stronger. It is in times like this that we need to go through self-acceptance and have patience with one self, live in acceptance, focused in the positive aspects of the situation.  With this I mean to unconditionally value and appreciate all parts of your personality.  We should encounter the situation, letting it transform us into better human beings, this is the way to overcome difficulties.

It is through global solidarity that we can overcome this pandemic.  It is time to reinvent oneself, preserving the sense of social solidarity that this life experience has had provoked. 

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Studying at home

By Angélica Anaya ¡Supérate! Fundación Poma Values Teacher. Translated by Roberto Caballero ¡Supérate! Fundación Poma English Teacher.

In this season of social distancing and home quarantine due to COVID-19, all students worldwide have had to establish a new daily routine and modify the way they attend and interact in class and deliver assignments. 

Changes are always difficult at the beginning, as it involves going through an adaptation stage with new methodologies and platforms in addition to the challenges of finding the right place of study, Internet access and the emotional burden of not interacting directly with colleagues and friends. 

Even though , we can find the positive side in this sudden change: You, ¡Supérate! students, are developing essential skills for the future, both for studying and for working. 

Overall, in the transition from school to university, the biggest challenges college students face are adjusting to managing their time and developing independent study skills. The schedule structure in the institute or school is similar from Monday to Friday within a certain schedule, only in the morning or in the afternoon; while in college, the class schedule can be different each day, as well as having classes at different times. Moreover, the academic load of college subjects requires students to designate time outside of the classroom to review and extend study material, in addition to time to complete projects and class work and group meetings. 

Learning doesn’t just take place in the classroom and it does not end with graduation from school or college. Both for those who work in an organization or have their own entrepreneurship, working life involves continuing to learn, to know work processes and tools and also to keep abreast of the latest trends in the labor market. 

There is a lot of talk about the great changes of the digital age and it is at this time that we can have a direct look at those changes. For example, the offer of virtual, blended and distance careers has been increasing in recent years in Salvadoran universities. Similarly, many companies begin to make the permanent transition to remote working modalities or offer their products and services online. 

Being successful in these changes implies having skills like the ones you are developing in this quarantine: time organization, flexibility, innovation, personal motivation, creativity, being self-taught, in addition to managing various communication and computer tools.  Regardless of whether you study or work in person or remotely in your future, developing these skills and adapting to change will make you stand out as a professional. 

It has been a different time of study, which has required extra effort and patience, but your hard dedication will definitely pay off in your present and your future.

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Walking the Extra Mile

Increasing Personal Brand Value 

Written by Erick Gerónimo, ¡Supérate! Merlet Graduate. Translated by Soraya Marroquín, Andrea Cruz and Oscar Ayala, ¡Supérate! Merlet English Teachers.

I remember very clearly the first time I heard one of the calls to action from the ¡Supérate! Program: “Walk the Extra Mile”. I didn’t understand at once because I had just recently joined the program at Centro ¡Supérate! Merlet.

In spite of the short time I had spent in the center, I was able to have a better understanding of what it meant to “Walk the Extra Mile”. Through my English, Core Values and Computers classes and other extracurricular activities, I learned that it meant to give more than what is expected. For example, when the teacher assigned an oral presentation, our main goal as students was to exceed out teacher’s expectations.

Practicing this call to action since becoming a ¡Supérate! student has been significantly useful, not only for me but for every former student that has started their higher education studies where the academic demand is more challenging.

During this stage, where all students begin to develop professionally, it is very important to have a constant practice of values and to walk the extra mile. The lack of values or giving less than what is expected, results in lesser opportunities for the future. Therefore, walking the extra mile gives that extra value to personal branding that many employers are looking for. In other words, personal brand value is not only the knowledge that can be acquired, but rather the combination of values with knowledge and professional abilities.

Putting into practice this call to action must be the start of a positive change in our homes, with those close to us: friends, classmates, and work colleagues.

It is very important to highlight the multiplier effect that can result when we practice this call to action constantly. Salvadoran communities and our society can improve little by little if we support each other and give more than what’s expected.

What we learned at age 15 can have a positive impact that can be shared with those who didn’t have the opportunity to receive all the knowledge and learning that ¡Supérate! gave to all those who were part of the program.

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Building citizenship means building peace, freedom and union

September is a month when all Salvadorans talk about independence. We discuss historical dates and reflect on the present of our country. This time, I want to lead you to think of a word that complements the feeling of freedom and union, the word citizenship.

Written by Elvia Mondragón, ¡Supérate! CASSA San Miguel Graduate. Translated by Fredy Márquez, ¡Supérate! Grupo Q English Teacher.

Luis Moreno, in his article named “Citizenship, social inequality and welfare state”, explains that the term citizenship in the 21st century is understood as “the condition of belonging and participation in the “politeya”, or political organization where the members of a society are integrated”. Also, it broadens the concept and describes that we can understand it as a “status conformed by access to basic resources for the exercise of rights and duties”.

At first glance, the meaning of citizenship sounds complicated or tedious, however, it is easier to understand it as the union between the citizen and the state to which he belongs.

Nowadays, in the midst of a social environment so unequal, confusing, and to some extent hostile in social networks and in everyday life, it becomes necessary to emphasize the concept of “citizenship in social networks”.

To do citizenship in digital channels such as social networks, means managing yourself through real accounts, not fake, respecting other users opinions, tolerating that your opinion is not an absolute truth and understanding that networks are a space for dialogue that can enhance democracy or minimize it. In this month of such historical importance it is necessary to reflect on what we need to build and de-build.

Let’s build a culture of peace in our everyday life, regarding the digital area, let’s work on conflict resolution to reach agreements and country consensus. As Salvadoran citizens, we have the right and duty to ensure the further development of our nation, not only in the economic, but also in the social and human parts. A society focused on the practice of values ​​that create respect and empathy for others.

Let us deconstruct misinformation with greater education, let’s be self-taught people, let’s analyze media and political events. Let us study the causes and consequences of the facts, let us verify the information. Let us do more citizen comptroller by questioning our rulers or public officials.

This general context of the country deserves that we live up to it and that we commit ourselves to ensure respect for human rights and also to fulfill our duties.

We can build democracy, taking our share, working responsibly, contributing in our community and being dedicated to our studies and the place where we study. Actions such as dumping garbage in the right place foster a culture of peace. Actions such as voting, participating in non-partisan and partisan political processes, also build democracy.

In the ¡Supérate! Program, we promote and practice values, we have 5 that represent what we are: solidarity, integrity, leadership, overcoming and excellence. Join us to practice them and to promote peace, kindness and respect.

These values ​​are promoted within our ¡Supérate! culture. They define us as students, teachers, principals, allies and sponsors because they have taught us that if we practice them we can promote citizenship.

Finally, let’s reflect on the practice of valuing the people around us, respecting differences and being supportive, promoting peace and growth for our country.

Walk the extra mile, give back and raise the bar.

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What are employers currently seeking?

Nowadays, business sector has human capital as its most important resource for productivity. Lately, it´s acknowledged that people´s potential have an exponential impact on the results and outcomes of an organization. Social, cultural, technological, and economic changes of our world have made this fact even more evident.

Written by Ángela de Jarquín, ADOC Human Resources Director. Translated by Irvin Romero, ¡Supérate! ADOC English Teacher

In the past, employers hired people who exclusively contributed to obtaining more profits for the enterprise through the job for which they had been hired. The rationale that prevailed at that time was to “seek competitive employees who added to the results of the company”. Employers focused on identifying competences and technical skills of potential employees that would make them ideal for a specific position and that is why a lot of emphasis was put on the years of experience as a guarantee for that requirement.

Nevertheless, it is now known that for someone to wholly contribute to the success of an organization, it is indispensable to show other skills (in addition to their technical knowledge) that will make them stand out from others who only know how to do one task. This kind of people creates a competitive advantage in the short and long term; therefore, seeking them and hiring them has turned into one of the most relevant priorities in an organization.

Let’s talk a Little about these attributes:

Soft skills: Experience is not that important anymore since it has been shown that success at work is achieved through a set of skills that lead someone to constantly learn new things, solve problems or be innovative.

It is known that someone who has just graduated from university has very little experience but if he shows and maximizes his skills, there is no doubt that he will have a successful career in the world of work. 

The set of soft skills is rather wide and each employer will define those that are vital for their organization depending on their industry, strategies, or challenges in the market; however, it is common to value flexibility/ adaptability, effective communication, problem-solving skills, interest in technology, positive attitude, creativity, among others. Identify yours and make them stand out.

Cultural fit: It is one of the main areas of interest of recruiters when seeking talent since it is a fact that for an organization to work well, there must be a perfect synchronization between people and the culture of the company.  It is a two-way relationship: the values and behaviors of its members produce a culture that is lived in the organization, and at the same time, organizational culture -with its values- determine the kind of person that can fit in.

Knowing the values promoted in a company and evaluating how compatible they are with your personal values is a vital task that must be done when applying for a job… It will definitely be one of the most demanding requirements that your future employer will check.

Meaningful work: There are many reasons why someone works, some of them are obvious (to earn money) while some others are not (to help a cause). The way people look at their job, the meaning they give to it and the connection with their mission in life, is vital to determine the personal fulfillment they have and, as a result, to create a positive impact on the organization for which they work.

Identifying your calling and turning it into your job is one of the greatest responsibilities you have with yourself because, not only will it make you more attractive to recruiters, but it will also transform you into a happy person, eager to make the world a better place. Employers will focus more and more on seeking people passionate with what they do because, whether you will have to work with clients, analyze data, or be part of a CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility), your passion will leave a positive mark and will turn you into someone worthy to the organization to which you belong.

Desire for belonging: Loving the opportunity to belong to an organization and make your career in it may be the icing on the cake for any employer. This characteristic is the hardest to find as it must be genuine and to make it last, it takes the commitment of both parties: The organization and the people in it.

Possibly, this feeling must be similar to that of belonging to a family, in which there is reciprocal and unconditional love and each member feels responsible for the well-being of the others. It is this commitment that keeps everyone together to achieve extraordinary results.

Remember that education, technical skills and experience always take an important place in the requirements enterprises seek in their workers; therefore, take advantage of the opportunity to study and continuously learn. Just keep in mind that these aspects are not the only ones that define your potential, nor are they the most important.

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Why should everyone know how to program?

The importance of programing in the academic and professional development of ¡Supérate! Students.

By David Rajo, Computer Science Teacher at ¡Supérate! Fundación Poma.

Article translated by Diana Medrano and Gloria Rivas English Teachers at ¡Supérate! Fundación Poma.

We live in a technological world. Nowadays technology surrounds us to make different areas in our lives better. Doesn´t matter where you are, what you dedicate yourself to or your profession, technology is present to make your life easier. This is thanks to people who found the opportunity to use technology and apply it to everyday and frequent tasks. With this achieved we can work with major efficiency, as many times necessary and at the required moment.

Many of the most popular applications of our time have been created by people that don’t necessarily dedicate themselves to the technological area. For instance social media, maps, operating systems and others have been created by men and women with innovative ideas, which would make our lives easier. Their creators were people that saw a specific need and had the courage to make them a reality. Beginning with a lot of creativity and applying basic programing knowledge, that most of them acquired on their own, their initial idea was finally materialized with the aid of a team of developers. For this reason knowing how to code and understanding programing should be a subject that everyone must be exposed to in this era.

Many of the most popular applications of our time have been created by people that don’t necessarily dedicate themselves to the technological area. For instance social media, maps, operating systems and others have been created by men and women with innovative ideas, which would make our lives easier. Their creators were people that saw a specific need and had the courage to make them a reality. Beginning with a lot of creativity and applying basic programing knowledge, that most of them acquired on their own, their initial idea was finally materialized with the aid of a team of developers. For this reason knowing how to code and understanding programing should be a subject that everyone must be exposed to in this era.

There are many studies and publications that have been warning of the lack of professionals in software development that exist around the world, especially in more developed countries. For this reason they seek professionals in this area no matter where they reside. Information and communication technology (ICT) facilitates communication with businesses and people that dedicate themselves to software development and it doesn’t matter where they are in the world. This gives them the opportunity to opt for a position related to the development of applications or IT solutions by simply having a computer and stable internet connection.

In our country there are many businesses that have grown thanks to this opportunity. They have managed to develop their businesses, which gives them an overall advantage. For this reason they require a team composed of developers that are trained in the different platforms. There is a high demand in this industry, but very few people are qualified for these types of opportunities, mainly due to lack of specialization.

However the information is found at a click of a button, the learning tools are at hand to all those who have internet access. But the most important thing is that they have the courage, discipline, dedication, and desire to overcome the obstacles that are within. We create limits in our minds by thinking that something is difficult, complicated, or that it’s unreachable due to lack of the necessary knowledge, but we can overcome them if we have the conviction and determination to achieve it. Taking into account the infinite possibilities of technology and development of applications that exist in the world, it doesn’t matter what career path you choose or have chosen to study; there is always a possibility of changing how something is normally done and making our everyday tasks easier becomes doable when you have the basic principles of programing.

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Resilience Developer

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.

How?

“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.

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