Girl Pioneer, graduate, and now mentor - Mayra is transforming Guatemala

Empowered to Empower

Mayra is a MAIA graduate who is dedicating her career to supporting the next generation of Girl Pioneers. Join Mayra and MAIA as we embolden young women to become leaders and achieve their infinite impact.

Mayra in 2012 as a Girl Pioneer.

Mayra in 2012 as a Girl Pioneer.

As a young girl, Mayra was aware that discrimination, gender violence, and exploitation of children were problems in her community and knew she had to help end people’s suffering. Her dream as a girl was to become a nurse and tend to the sick. However, when Mayra finished primary school, her parents wanted her to work and get married, which is why she left school at age 12 to start working in a restaurant. Mayra’s trajectory changed when her mom, Eusebia, learned of a scholarship program that would enable Mayra to return to her studies. Eusebia submitted an application, and Mayra was awarded a MAIA scholarship to attend public school and join the first mentorship group in 2008. As she learned more about social issues in Guatemala, she decided to study social work to help protect children and make sure they stay in school.

Mayra, far right in the front row, with her mentorship group in 2012. Three of the Girl Pioneers in Mayra’s mentorship group are now her co-workers at the MAIA Impact School.

Mayra, far right in the front row, with her mentorship group in 2012. Three of the Girl Pioneers in Mayra’s mentorship group are now her co-workers at the MAIA Impact School.

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How Far Has She Gone?

Mayra graduated from high school in 2013, and in 2016, she joined the MAIA team as a selection mentor, helping choose the first girls to receive scholarships to attend the new MAIA Impact School. The selection process takes a full 11 months—Mayra presented to community leaders, held informational meetings at local primary schools, and conducted home visits to interview applicants and their families. The process culminates with Escuela Estrellita, a 4-month preparatory program on Sundays for promising applicants, designed to strengthen their language and math skills and to introduce them to MAIA’s unique school culture. During Mayra’s time as a selection mentor, she learned how to be an active leader, balance different social dynamics, gain trust, and motivate others.

Her Infinite Impact

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This year, Mayra transitioned into a MAIA group mentor for 28 7th-graders. Mayra excels at being a group leader because she remembers her time as a Girl Pioneer. She understands the challenges the girls are facing because she experienced them as well, and she can meet the emotional needs they have at that age. The Rosa Parks mentorship group started out shy, but after just 3 months of biweekly mentorship classes at the Impact School, they have come out of their shells, boldly ask questions, and are taking initiative in organizing their upcoming community service project. Mayra fondly describes the girls as hyperenergetic, eager to learn and try new things. Under Mayra’s guidance, they are becoming empowered young women.

Invest in Transformational Change

This month, our goal is to fully fund Mayra’s mentorship group by raising $12,500 to invest in the socioemotional development of 28 young leaders. Mentorship was the cornerstone of the MAIA program when Mayra first joined and continues to lay a foundation for success with regularly scheduled mentorship classes, monthly home visits, parent meetings, and community service projects. With the support of their mentor, classmates, and family, Girl Pioneers grow their resilience to overcome challenges as they work towards their goals. You can join them on their journey to achieving their infinite impact by investing in their journey toward empowerment, education, and leadership.

To support our newest class of Girl Pioneers to achieve their infinite impact, donate online at www.maiaimpact.org/donate or use the included envelope to mail a check to MAIA, 734087 Network Place, Chicago, IL 60673-1734. Together we can embolden young women to become leaders for an inclusive future.