– February 4 2021
Over 200 young people in Latin America receive skills training
Through a Salesforce mentorship program, young people received employability and skills training. Results show that the program helped them grow while overcoming obstacles to access training during the pandemic.
Without any doubt, 2020 was a year of challenges. COVID-19 affected everyone in different ways, including the young people supported by SOS Children’s Villages. The pandemic came right in the midst of their own transition process to independence.
The young people faced obstacles in areas such as education, training and access to employment on their path to self-reliance. Despite the difficult situations they experienced, young people from SOS Children’s Villages in nine Latin American countries enrolled in virtual mentoring sessions under the umbrella of YouthLinks, the digital component of the YouthCan! Program. YouthLinks uses the power of technology to strengthen young people’s skills through training, mentorship and networking opportunities, supporting them on their path to becoming self-reliant.
The mentoring initiative, which ran from November 9 until December 15, 2020, successfully managed to bring together 207 young people from Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Venezuela. A total of 44 mentors based in Mexico, all employees of Salesforce, were each in charge of a group of five to six young people between 16 and 21 years old.
"Certainly, with the moment you start preparing yourself to be a mentor, it becomes an opportunity for yourself to identify where you are in your personal life, reflecting if you are living in a meaningful way. And in fact, that is the main message I want to leave to my mentees: to always remember that their values are their main strengths," said Yuridia Resendiz, Sales Development Manager at Salesforce, from Mexico City in Mexico.
An additional 44 youth facilitators accompanied the young people on their mentoring journey. During the engagement, mentors and mentees could choose between two different content modules depending on their needs and preferences: one focusing on the development of social and life skills and the second one aiming for the development of employability skills.
"This activity is of great significance because as mentors, we touch the lives and dreams of young people with great futures ahead," said Alejandro Melendez, Business Development Representative at Salesforce, also from Mexico City.
Every week, for six weeks, the young participants logged into the YouthLinks platform through computers or mobile phones to connect with their mentors, across distances of thousands of miles.
"I have learned a lot,” said Abraham, 19, from Cuzco in Peru. “For example, that a well-organized resume and being prepared for a job interview can make a difference."
Throughout the mentoring program, the young people created their own tree of life to identify their personal and professional goals, practiced writing their resumes, learned about personal finances and practiced for job interviews—all supported and motivated by their mentors who were sharing their corporate expertise.
"What I liked the most was making the tree of life, which has motivated and taught me what my weaknesses and strengths are. This will guide me on what I want for my life from now on," said Guadalupe, 19, from El Alto in Bolivia.
Feedback from the young people proved the successful outcome of the program:
- 88% of young people could reinforce skills and attributes to help them define their future
- 75% of young people could clearly identify and understand the main skills that employers seek in the labor market
- 75% of young people now know how to create realistic objectives
- 81% of young people are able to set financial goals and apply saving habits
- 75% of young people indicate that they have been consistently motivated by their mentor
Mentors also acknowledged the positive impact of their engagement regarding their attitudes and core values such as empathy, solidarity, patience and community involvement. In addition, mentors emphasized the positive effects of their engagement on their job satisfaction.
On December 21, 2020, a virtual closing ceremony was held, recognizing each individual’s great achievement and handing over virtual certificates. Regional Directors of Salesforce and Fabiola Flores, Regional Director of SOS Children's Villages Latin America and the Caribbean, were also present at the event, highlighting the importance of the mentoring program and the continuity of the regional partnership with Salesforce.
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