Being ‘agents of change’
Teenage students at secondary schools in Guatemala have become ‘agents of change’ amongst their own peers, thanks to a new values program being rolled out by Scripture Union.
Together for Good Conduct is a prevention program run in the country’s middle schools, which brings a message of love, peace and hope for young people. Its main goal is to counteract the influence of antisocial groups; preventing and rescuing students from violence, gangs, drugs and other threats which they face.
Director of SU Guatemala, Eduardo Marroquin, said the results of the program were clear in the way relationships within families were strengthened and behaviour was changed. Some of the boys from one group decided to put their discussion on solidarity into action and, after gathering food, they went to share it with a man who was over 100 years old. One of this year’s students, Adriana, said “I really liked the issues covered such as justice, values and decisions. All these discussions left me something special, which I want to put into practice. I would like to tell many young people about the importance of good values in their lives.”
Young people are taught how to avoid bad influences and ways to stay busy to avoid getting into local gangs. They were encouraged to study hard and remain close to their parents. Another student, Allan, said “It helped me to be a better person, to be more understanding and to be more patient. As I am listening to the issues, I am trying to put them into practice.” Other students talked about how the program had helped them cope with problems and the situations they face, especially developing better relationships with their family.
“I realised that I needed to change my character a bit with people so that they could also treat me in the way I would like to be treated and have a closer relationship to God. That is the most important thing and what I value most in the program,“ said Katty.
2017 student, Jenifer, said “The talks we received helped me make some personal changes in my life. And now, as I share it with other kids, I am able to give a little of what I have experienced. I do want to continue working for more agents of change. “
Eduardo said, “Three of the participants from the 2017 program have become agents of change and were invited to be part of a group of young people who are working with the local authority on a youth policy. This policy has been finalised and is in the process of being approved for implementation. We thank God for these opportunities where our young people are already influencing society for the good.”