My name is Jafet Calvo, I’m 17 years old. I live in an at-risk neighborhood in San Jose, Costa Rica and this is my story.
I liked superheroes because they always did well. Maybe that’s why I started to see my father as a superhero. He would take me everywhere, holding my hand, filling me with a sense of security that I cannot describe. In the midst of our poverty, he provided us with the basics and every day my admiration and love for him grew.
One day my father made a bad decision and ended up in jail. Everything changed. When they took my father away, my heart went with him, I remember how I cried. I was in seventh grade and from then on I didn’t care at all. With the absence of my father, things got much worse. My mother did not work and we started to be very needy. I dropped out of school because we had no money. We were starving and my pain was deepening. In my neighborhood I was offered “jobs” as a drug dealer to help my family, but I knew that was not a good choice.
In FundaVida, I found what I was looking for. I atended several sessions with the psychologist and the Club’s mentors helped me a lot. I also joined the leadership development program. Since FundaVida offered to help me with my classes and tutoring, I ended up going back to school. I even started to get very good grades. Things were improving, but something had not healed in my heart, since things in my house were not getting better.
What impacted my life the most was a trip we took to Talamanca (a very poor area of Costa Rica.) We went to serve, but ended up receiving the greatest blessing. Listening to the stories of those families made me see that what I was going through was not as bad as their situation. I heard stories of people going through worse things, and yet they still made it through. I returned from Talamanca thinking differently, with the desire to finish my studies and be able to help my family. I told my father everything and that was an inspiration to him as well. It motivated him to take up his studies, and even ended up reducing his jail sentence.
Today I am 17 years old and I am a different person. I am in ninth grade and I have excellent grades. I want to finish high school so I can study Accounting or Systems Engineering.