Outreach Center Benefits Youth with Private Sector Support

The United States Government, through the U. S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the Mayor’s Office of Ciudad Delgado, and Price Philanthropies inaugurated a new outreach center called “El Algodon”, the seventh in the municipality.  The center will benefit more than 250 children and youth from the community and students from surrounding areas.

The opening ceremony was chaired by U.S. Ambassador Jean Elizabeth Manes; the Mayor of Ciudad Delgado, Tomás Minero; the Senior Vice President of Operations of PriceSmart Central America, Chris Souhrada; the Vice Minister of Social Prevention, Luis Roberto Flores Hidalgo, and the coordinator of “El Algodón” center, Katheryn Reyes.

USAID supported this through its project: Prevention of Crime and Violence. The “Por mi Barrio” (For my Neighborhood) outreach centers are meeting and training spaces for youth ages between 9 and 29 and are located in areas affected by crime and violence. The centers become a door of hope for children and youth so that they have a positive alternative in their lives. The centers provide opportunities such as creative use of free time, community service, job training, tutoring, and the methodology “The challenge of dreaming my life”, which helps participants develop a life plan with short, medium, and long term goals, contributing to their personal improvement and a renewal of their community.

To establish of this center, Price Philanthropies, a foundation established by the founders of PriceSmart, invested a total of $29,359 dollars in furniture, equipment, and musical instruments. The municipality of Ciudad Delgado, the Community Development Association (ADESCO, and faith-based organizations invested a total of $26,620 dollars for the rental and restoration of physical spaces, the coordinator’s salary, and the payment of utilities (electricity, water, and Internet). USAID is providing technical assistance for the center’s implementation.

“Alliances between the private and public sectors like this provide safe spaces where children and young people can find opportunities to learn and grow. For PriceSmart and Price Philanthropies, it is important to invest in our youth, to be responsible citizens that contribute to a better quality of life for Salvadoran society, “said Chris Souhrada.

“We need more companies to join in these efforts, companies that integrate Corporate Social Responsibility at the core of its business model. The progress of a nation is not possible unless all its members participate and become actively involved, “Ambassador Manes said in her speech.

This effort is part of the Municipal Violence Prevention Plan called “Ciudad Delgado en Acción” and strengthens prevention efforts and cooperative ties between the private sector and the municipality.

The USAID Crime and Violence Prevention Project works to prevent violence in 55 high- and medium-risk municipalities in El Salvador and has a total investment of $39.8 million by USAID for the period 2013-2019. To date, the project has completed Municipal Diagnostics of Crime and Violence as well as Municipal Plans for Violence Prevention in 49 municipalities.