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Our Stories: Guatemala Mentors

With Play for Peace’s efforts running all year round and recently wrapping up another episode of the Compassion Games,  Andrés Armas, head of PFP in Guatemala, opened up about the people who have been (and continue to be) there through thick and thin to support Play for Peace: Edwin Velásquez, Esteban Sacalxot and Saulo Cifuentes, all of whom are proud to, most of the time, swap their names for the “mentor” tag. They devote their time and resources to spreading PFP all over Guatemala. "Their compromise and efforts are the key to all possible success," Andrés said.

Edwin Velásquez. A supervisor at the Guatemalan School for Social Work (USAC), Edwin joined PFP in 2006. Since then, he has taken care of the whole process that allows around a hundred of USAC’s students to receive Play for Peace’s training every year before being dispatched to distant and problematic communities all over Guatemala for social service. “Play for Peace’s philosophy brings people closer. Through cooperative play, they interact in a specific way that ends up uniting everyone involved. Suddenly their differences are not that important,” said Edwin about why he has so much faith in Play for Peace’s mission.

Esteban Sacalxot. This isn't the first time Esteban’s work has received recognition on our blog. But since the last time, Esteban has begun leading the program Rescate Cantel – Forjando cimientos, a movement aiming to promote environmental care and protection as well as youth leadership development and indigenous rights in the area of Quetzalteango, Guatemala. Since 2013, the year he joined PFP, he has worked hard to inspire and involve most of the young boys and girls of his community. The group has been so successful that it has received special recognition from the government a few times. In Esteban’s words, “Everyone can make a change, Change starts with the realization that things can and must be different.”

Saulo Cifuentes. Though he officially joined Play for Peace three years ago, Saulo and Andrés have been friends since they were both kids and part of the same Boy Scout group. Saulo's involvement with his community, San Felipe Retalhuleu, and the youth-oriented programs there goes way back in time and is the reason why Andrés invited him to join PFP. Saulo shares that, “It’s been impressive how PFP has grown in our community. It started small in a church, and then expanded to a school. Now it is all over because parents and teachers have seen the change in the children and youths' behavior.”   It is always a good balsam for the soul, amidst all the personal, local, and global troubles and problems that we are bombarded with each day to remember that good exists in the world and people like this are living proof of it. Thank you for all you do, Team Guatemala!