Obama Visit to El Salvador Highlights Major Challenges Faced by Youth: Glasswing International Signs Letter of Intent With US Government, Committing to 'Shared Vision'

Mar 23, 2011, 10:30 ET from Glasswing International

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador, March 23, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- President Barack Obama's visit to El Salvador has focused on poverty, immigration, a growing increase in violence, and major challenges facing youth and Salvadoran communities at large.   Obama's visit comes at a crucial time.  El Salvador currently has one of the highest homicide rates in the world, a reality that is contributing to a sense of fatalism in many communities.  The violence disproportionally involves youth, most of whom spend little more than four hours per day in school, with two out of every three students dropping out of school after 9th grade.    

The President's visit serves as the catalyst for a signed letter of intent between the governments of the United States and El Salvador and major Salvadoran non-government organizations to a "shared vision" -- a commitment to expand successful and sustainable solutions to confront the major challenges brought on by the violence.  Glasswing International, a San Salvador-based non-profit founded by an American and two Salvadorans, will be a signatory, committing to intensify its current work.  

By collaborating with many at-risk schools, Glasswing provides young people with alternatives, such as after-school programs, first-ever school newspaper clubs, discovery labs and glee clubs, along with academic support in English, computers and tutoring.   The success of these programs, along with the beautification of the schools and their grounds, and the participation of thousands of community volunteers, has allowed Glasswing to extend the school day and see increased attendance.

"We have seen an incredible change in students," says Ken Baker, Executive Director of Glasswing International.  "The extended school hours, positive role models, and additional attention they receive from volunteers and mentors has kept many students in school and out of trouble."  

Glasswing International is a non-profit with operations in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.  The organization addresses complex social challenges and promotes greater social integration by leveraging and mobilizing human, financial and material resources through strategic alliances and 'action networks' - among businesses, foundations, governmental, and non-profit organizations - with the aim of encouraging broader societal participation in improving lives.  

SOURCE Glasswing International