CRIPDES San Vicente is excited to welcome their newest team member, Douglas, as the youth and scholarship promoter. It is an especially proud moment for the scholarship program, as Douglas is a graduate of it and owes much of his leadership formation to CRIPDES.
Douglas Eduardo Espinosa Alvarado is from the community of San Francisco Tehuacan, and has for years been an active leader of the sectorial youth committee known as the “Youth Brigade of the Volcan Sector”. The group has led many youth initiatives throughout the municipality, including facilitating youth input for a municipal youth policy.
Douglas says he was always interested in organizing since he was little and would see his big sister go out to meetings and trainings and workshops all the time. It seemed like a good way to learn new things while contributing to the community. Working for CRIPDES was always a dream for Douglas, something he really aspired to. He participated in the scholarship program from 2011 to 2013, graduating just 2 years ago from a high school that also offered technical training in Tourism.
“I love making food, especially grilling different kinds of meats and making cocktails,” says Douglas, who hopes to someday combine his love for gastronomy and community organizing. “Both involve meeting new people and learning new things every day.”
Douglas is currently just a temporary hire, filling in for Erika Hernandez who is out on maternity leave and for Juan Carlos Cortez, the previous youth promoter who made the difficult decision to migrate north last December. However, the CRIPDES San Vicente team hopes to be able to keep Douglas on as a permanent part of their team.
“CRIPDES is a school for many people,” says Esmeralda Villalta, director of CRIPDES San Vicente and member of the CRIPDES National Board. “Many people have had their years of formation with us, and now they are giving back in different ways. It makes us sad to see some of those people have to leave, but many of them are here working with us or other organizations.”
Sister Cities committees pay the salaries of two of the seven promoters in the region, and the SHARE Foundation, a historic ally and friend of Sister Cities, pays one salary as well. Covering a promoter´s salary can be a big expense for committees, but it is one of the most impactful uses of funds that Sister Cities does. By paying around $4,400 in a year for one promoter´s salary, we are enabling that one person to give coverage to around a dozen communities, made up of over 5,000 individuals. CRIPDES promoters are a crucial part of connecting those individuals and communities to local government, to national government, to the National Social Movement, and to other organizations. They facilitate training processes, encourage women to step into leadership, provide alternatives for youth, carry out projects, and spread information about people´s rights and civic duties. They are truly the heroes of this organization.