Erwin is energetic and kind — and he works hard, too. The young man lives at Casa de Esperanza as part of the Patzan-Cotzojay family, where he receives all the support he needs to thrive and grow. At 18 years old, Erwin is entering the Inheritance Program — Horizon’s way of continuing to empower and support young adults as they find their footing and take their first steps into adulthood. Through this program and the guidance of caring community staff, Erwin has decided to enroll in auto mechanic school. But before he can chase this dream, Erwin still has some schooling to finish as a result of missing formal school before coming to Horizon.
Sonia, the life coach in the micro community checks with Erwin to ensure that he completes homework and reports to work on time. He continues his studies through a local program offering weekend classes. During the week, he works in the micro community, maintaining the grounds and working on the tilapia project. While Erwin is hardworking, he still requires guidance and follow-up to ensure he gets his schoolwork done. Despite those challenges, our staff in Guatemala has remained dedicated to supporting Erwin. This is the role of a good parent — and in Erwin’s case, some caring program staff as well.
From day one, a good parent starts to work themselves out of a job, giving their children what they need to stand on their own two feet. This is no easy task — any experienced parent knows this. It involves supporting another person through myriad challenges, helping them identify strengths and interests, then helping to develop those strengths and interests, and providing opportunities without creating dependency.
It often means watching the person you love struggle and fail but insisting they get back up from each fall, with an extended hand for support. The process is filled with pitfalls and challenges.
Parents also know that each child is different, and each will need different kinds of support. While Erwin is 18, and technically an adult, he still needs that scaffolding of loving adults to reach his potential. Despite those challenges, our staff in Guatemala has remained dedicated to supporting Erwin. The goal in empowering Erwin is to develop his capacity for self-direction. When that area is strengthened, he will enroll in a trade school to help him become an auto mechanic, which can provide him with a steady income and meaningful work that aligns with his interests. Our team in Guatemala is dedicated to helping Erwin achieve that goal and will work tirelessly and strategically to ensure his success.
Written by Jeff Luehm, LAC Program Coordinator