Focus on: Luis Mejías, Executive Director of Panal

July 5, 2018
Communications Colunga Foundation

"I am happy to be in education"

Diaper is a nonprofit organization that gives scholarships to students of schools with high school vulnerability indexes to be part of an extracurricular training program, lasting seven Saturdays, whose objective is the empowerment of young students. They are winners of Strengthening Fund 2016 of Colunga and they are also part of the community ColungaHUB.

How did you get to civil society?

I was studying Commercial Engineering at U. Católica and they invited me to do the practice in Ceiling. When I entered, the perspective changed completely. It impacted me and the experience was so rich that I started working in the social world, in fact, I was Latin American Director of Roof Construction. Then I spent a year in the Ministry of Social Development, where I worked in the Family Ethical Income program. Then I started my furniture business pallets, as an artisan. I was very bored with that work and decided to study Pedagogy for professionals at Alberto Hurtado University, because since I was a kid I wanted to be a professor of mathematics.
While I was studying, I went to work at Acción Emprendedora where I took charge of the Mentoring Program for young entrepreneurs and I spent three years there. When I graduated I started looking for a job and in March of this year I went to Panal. I'm happy to be in education.

What is Panal currently working on?

We help the empowerment of young people. Children and adolescents - from the seventh to the middle third - of the schools with which we work, develop their social-emotional skills through the identification of a problem within their school communities, and the design and execution of a solution. This year we started with 450 students in the Panales de Santiago, Talca, Concepción, Temuco and Puerto Montt, who are ready to finish the program. At the end of August we started with new students. We are also implementing a new "Panal Profesores", where we will take our methodology to the classroom. We currently do our program in an extracurricular way.

What challenges do you have for this 2018?

The "Teachers Honeycomb" version is our biggest challenge. We won a project to do this pilot at the Yobilo de Coronel High School where we will support teachers in two subjects: citizenship training and personal development. They will be obligatory branches for students of five courses, from seventh to first grade, and we will help in the classes with co-teachers of Panal. This starts in the second semester and we are very happy and anxious that it turns out well.

 How has your experience been at ColungaHUB?

We arrived less than a year ago to ColungaHUB and the dynamics here are very interesting. We have been doing things with Fundación Por una Carrera and we are in talks with the Course Council because there are schools where we could complement each other. We are also participating in the technical education roundtable of the Community of Solidarity Organizations. A more synergic dynamic is being given to us, which is what is expected when arriving here at ColungaHUB. The spaces and the location are excellent, as well as the activities that are carried out.

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