The need for leadership development has never been more urgent.
Poverty/income inequality and social exclusion are some of the main challenges that are prevalent in Guatemala. The denial of the rural poor from opportunities of personal growth and development reflects their disadvantaged economic circumstances.
While the urban sector has been reaping relatively higher economic growth, the rural poor have been marginalized, bypassed and socially excluded from full economic participation in the Guatemalan economy.
PILAS is fighting to level the playing field, seek fairness, and defend the oppressed by providing Christ-centered education and character/leadership development programs to impoverished indigenous people of Guatemala.
Through CLUB CONEXIÓN, and partnering with public schools in Sumpango’s surrounding villages, PILAS identifies students who have budding leadership characteristics, a strong desire to further their education and be change agents in their communities.
In 2015, after only two years in existence, PILAS was recognized by the Guatemalan government for its passion and efforts in education and leadership development of adolescents and youth from the villages of the municipality of Sumpango Sacatepéquez Guatemala.
Current research says that a child’s success depends on whether we can help them develop a set of qualities that include persistence, self-control, curiosity, conscientiousness, grit and self-confidence.
Through the development of these characteristics, there is a greater probability for narrowing the achievement gap between disadvantaged kids and middle-class kids.
Many visitors have compared PILAS’ leadership programs to Jesus’ model for discipleship. The program grants us the opportunity to disciple approximately twelve scholarship students over a three-year period, building relationships that feature love, commitment, authenticity, vulnerability, accountability, and intentionality. We believe in the philosophy of going deeper with fewer youth than going wider with more kids and sacrificing the intimacy.
We teach the students that we are saved by faith, not works, and we are to live out our faith by loving others and caring for their needs. By providing opportunities students learn how to flex their service muscles. These include hair de-licing days at their village’s local school, visiting elderly shut-ins to pray and encourage them, local construction projects, serving at children’s homes, etc.
PILAS’ in-house devotions are always interesting and inspiring. These include in-depth studies of Bible books to analyses of books such as Gary Chapman’s Five Love Languages.
PILAS’ leadership lessons features “Guatemala Próspera” sessions. Made in conjunction with world leadership expert John C. Maxwell, these sessions are aimed at impacting society through ethical intelligence and a culture of values. PILAS has adapted these sessions for our age group as well as including Biblical stories and truths to further inspire and train up future leaders.