Carmen’s Story – Changing my community to change my country

Guatemala YMCA is working with vulnerable young people to help them escape from violence in their community.

Growing up in a violent society where her life was full of fear, Carmen started participating in sports to control her anger. She tells us how now she is teaching other children the importance of being respectful and knowing how to control one’s anger.

“Playing lacrosse and motivating younger girls to participate is what I enjoy the most. It is about telling them “You can do it, you can do it”. Many of the girls have a lot of problems at home and I feel proud when they completely forget about them while they play.

“What I like the most is that whenever we decided to do an activity we always have to think thoroughly about what our objectives are, what kind of values we are teaching. We learn by playing, we are not just playing for playing’s sake. We have an objective: that the person grows and changes for the better”.

“I can see my progress from when I started doing the games. Now I apply rules of co-existence in my daily life. I started thinking that if I do not change my community, my country won’t change. I have noticed changes in the way I am. It is easier for me now to control my temperament. It is normal to get angry, we all do, but it is important to know how to control yourself.

“Sports are something good to fight violence. We are not using weapons. We are reaching every child so that she or he can be better. I am aware of all the things that need to improve in the community and I know that in the long term, with all the children that we are reaching, things will change.”

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