This year, Safe Passage is taking a big step in supporting our older students, as they prepare their bright futures after graduation, and our graduates, who have just launched themselves into the real world. Our Proximo Paso, or Next Step Program, will provide professional development training (think resume building, interview practice, and networking support) along with relevant field trips and activities for our current students and graduates. The program will also support recent graduates as they begin the job and higher education application processes. Finally, a long-term goal of this program is to develop a strong and vibrant alumni community.

The final numbers are in and we officially have 13 graduates from 2012, the largest graduating class yet! These shining Safe Passage stars are motivated and determined to succeed. Over the past two weeks, I have worked with 6 of these grads to write resumes and gather necessary documents as they begin applying to a number of available positions.

The Safe Passage Class of 2012 has already seen success in just the first few weeks of this new year. Two graduates have found steady employment in their desired fields of employment, one as a teacher in a local school and another as an operator in a call center. We’re also happy to announce that three grads recently received scholarships to attend an intensive 3-month English language immersion course sponsored by Transactel, a company that has generously supported Safe Passage with English tutoring and various trainings and donations over the past two years.

Many of our recent graduates and alumni from years past have expressed interest not only in securing formal employment but in continuing their education. Three of our 2012 graduates have taken the preliminary exams to enter local universities and one graduate, Byron Tum Campos, is way ahead of the game and is already taking psychology courses!

For me, one of the most exciting parts of my new job description is getting to know the graduates who left Safe Passage before I started volunteering in August 2010. I recently met with an incredible young man named Alvaro, who is currently working at Cemaco, a well-respected department store here in Guate. He expressed his appreciation for Safe Passage helping him get where he is today, not just through education but also that his social worker helped him set-up his internship at Cemaco, leading to steady, well-paying job.

As I shared with him about some of the Proximo Paso goals, he told me that I could count on him for anything because he wants to give back to the organization that gave him so much. He told me that Safe Passage has always been a ¨second home¨ to him and he loved the idea of meeting and networking with other graduates! Alvaro and many of his fellow graduates expressed their desire to support current students with motivational talks and sharing employment tips and opportunities.

Personally, working with our students and graduates has re-energized me as I take the next step in my volunteer experience here at Safe Passage. Each and every one of our graduates has overcome enormous obstacles to attain academic success and I feel honored to support them, along with our donors and sponsors, as they take their next steps!

-Megan McAdams

Professional Development Program Coordinator