Celina de Sola

Forging partnerships across institutions and people to empower youth, mobilize action, and build community resilience to reduce poverty and violence

The Problem:

Latin American youth face significant challenges. Not only do they face extreme violence and poverty, but cycles of massive migration and social upheaval are also exacerbating issues of family disintegration, school dropout, early pregnancy, and limited economic opportunities. Youth face persistent stigma, social exclusion, and exposure to extreme violence and trauma. They lack opportunities to develop the core skills they need to thrive. The Northern Triangle countries of Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador have three of the six highest homicide rates in the world. Civil society and public institutions remain too overwhelmed and fragile to address these complex and intractable problems.

The Approach:

In this difficult context, de Sola founded Glasswing to bring together governments, businesses, and communities to break the cycle of poverty and violence. Building on existing local resources, Glasswing develops sustainable programs, ranging from after-school programs and employability training, to parent and teacher trainings, community mental health initiatives, as well as a regional, youth-led movement for change. Glasswing provides volunteer-led learning opportunities that develop kids’ confidence and capabilities, keeping them away from violence and helping them become the best versions of themselves. To date, Glasswing has mobilized more than 100,000 volunteers across 12 countries. These programs are designed to be replicated and scaled, and their impact shows the power of leveraging a community’s existing resources to build grassroots change. Glasswing’s approach is founded on a profound belief in human potential, and the importance of empowering youth to transform their communities — and the world.

My civic hero:

Harriet Tubman