Alumni of the Month  |  2018-12
December 21, 2018

Resilience in the Face of Adversity: Paraguayan Alumna Promotes Spirit of Volunteerism

Krish Caballero, a 2017 YLAI (Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative) alumna from Ciudad del Este, Paraguay, leads by example. She is a powerful influence both in her home community and abroad, inspiring thousands of youth to become change agents. Krish credits her participation in the Youth Ambassadors program in 2010 as the inspiration for her one-of-a-kind NGO, Familia U.S.A. Paraguay. The organization, which was recently commended by local authorities for its longstanding commitment to youth in Ciudad del Este, has reached more than 1,000 students annually through its initiatives.
 
Founded in 2010 under Krish’s leadership, and with the support of a group of young volunteers, Familia U.S.A. Paraguay first focused on teaching English. The organization invited bilingual youth to teach English to other underserved young people. Inspired by helping others succeed, volunteers soon began leading free financial education programs to help improve employment outcomes. In addition to mobilizing over 100 volunteers per year, the organization also organizes yearly summer and winter camps, which are uncommon traditions in Paraguay. Krish also continues to teach English, and serves as mentor for other young people. Her dedication to increasing opportunity for others is paying off: Seven of her mentees have been selected as Youth Ambassadors!
 
Ciudad del Este is the second largest city in Paraguay and capital of the Alto Paraná Department, situated on the Paraná River. The region often makes headlines for drug trafficking, counterfeiting, and money laundering. Nonetheless, Krish’s commitment to her community is unwavering. She says, “I believe in my country. I believe in the potential and creativity of its youth and in the experience and wisdom of its elders. By uniting these generations and promoting a culture of volunteerism, we will contribute to the construction of a prosperous and thriving Paraguay.”
 
Krish’s NGO activity is not the only way she is working to strengthen her community and improve outcomes for youth. In 2017, Krish was selected to participate in the YLAI program, which empowers young entrepreneurial leaders to contribute to economic development and prosperity in their countries. Upon her return, she worked closely with the U.S. Embassy in Paraguay to lead a financial education program for 25 young female entrepreneurs. Krish mentored participants through virtual classes over the course of eight months, and hosted two in-person classes per month to reinforce the knowledge acquired during the virtual program. All participants successfully completed the program in November 2018. Ambassador Lee McClenny attended their graduation ceremony on Women’s Entrepreneurship Day, and said that he was moved by their stories.
 
Attributing her success largely to YLAI, Krish states that YLAI “gave me the tools to take my project to the next level and make a bigger impact in my community… it is exactly what I needed!”

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