This June, we are continuing our Road-To-Ten years by highlighting our “practicantes”. These practicantes, or “interns” are teens enrolled in our Youth Program that complete everyday tasks at Casita, assist in staff duties and receive a high school scholarship. It seems right to start off with one of our very first practicantes, someone who’s been at Casita since day one and who now works full-time with us.
That someone, is Zo’chil or Zochil (as we commonly write it).
At only 4’7’’ (1.41m), Zochil does not physically stand out. We see her walking around Casita from one classroom to the next often holding files, supplies or even children, sharing a reserved smile ever so often and always speaking in a soft voice. Despite this timid nature, she has become the go-to person of Casita Copán.
Do you need help on a special project? Ask Zochil.
Do you need to update the health information for the children? Ask Zochil.
Did the stubborn printer refuse to do its one job? Ask Zochil, she is the only one that can work that evil machine.
“What I like the most is for someone to call for me and ask for help. It feels great to be good at something,” she told us. It doesn’t take long to figure out that Zochil is good at a lot of things, although she’s still working out the kinks of irony.
She explained that years ago she thought that Emily wasn’t working while she sat for hours in front of a computer. “I truly believed that she wasn’t doing anything, in my mind she was just sitting there,” Zochil recalled with a smile. It was unclear if she connected the dots, since she is now the one sitting for hours in front of screen.
As we chatted over her experience as a “practicante”, she described the skills she learned and is now practicing at work, “in the administrative area I learned how to use excel, do inventories and in the daycare, I learned how to treat children. I learned many things”.
It is perhaps of this willingness to learn and help, why Zochil has been promoted twice since being hired two years ago. After starting part-time as a Mercadito Assistant, she was later promoted to Administrative Assistant and is now a full-time Educational Assistant.
“I think it’s a very beautiful experience because I’ve gotten to know children who have come out of Casita Copán. I’ve met many people, many coworkers, and it gives me joy to see how we have grown. It has been a breakthrough,” she remarked.
When we began our Youth Program that was the mission. We wanted our youth to gain real-life work experiences that will stay with them as they enter the workforce or open a business. Zochil is living proof that the Youth Program, when combined with effort, works!
We are incredibly proud of everything that she has done so far, and we cannot wait to see what she accomplishes next.
The name Zo’chil comes from the Aztec xóchitl, which means flower, more specifically the Cempaxóchitl (marigold), the flower shown in the Disney film Coco.