Youth mentoring youth is the fundamental model of The Mentoring Choice, an initiative started in Honduras by CEUTEC graduate Nixon Wumario Pineda Mejía. The group works with cohorts of young people from marginalized areas in the country to provide a year-and-a-half-long mentorship that is intended to halt the cycle of poverty in the country and provide participants with viable options for employment and education. Since 2013, the program has had more than 100 participants in three cohorts, providing English language instruction, computer training, and professional development.
“Our vision is that the inequality gaps between young people in urban and rural areas will be reduced,” Pineda said. “We are also giving participants the means to economically support their parents and communities through opportunities they receive after their mentorship.” The Mentoring Choice was originally funded by a grant from the United States Embassy in Honduras, and Pineda also was selected as a YouthActionNet fellow in Honduras in 2015. UNITEC has been an integral partner of the program, providing space and resources for the cohorts. Mentees have gone on to attend universities in Honduras and the United States and to gain employment in fields not previously accessible to them.
Pineda was himself the recipient of important mentoring that allowed him to attend university and receive English language training through a U.S. State Department program in Honduras. After taking leadership courses on his own, he discovered a passion for mentoring and realized that it was an undertaking that never ceased to encourage learning. He was motivated to encourage learning in others like himself.
“We hope that in the future, every mentee will look back and remember the time they had with us as the start of new opportunities and hope for them.”