In February, we caught up with Lidieth Alvarez, the coordinator for Formación FénixShe was happy to answer some questions and express her passion of working with local youth.
1. Where were you born and where did you grow up? 
I was born in Limón 2, Tola, Rivas, Nicaragua and I grew up there as well.
2. Have you always lived in Limón 2? 
Almost all of my life I have lived in Limón 2, but I also lived in Managua for about 5 years while I was studying at the Theology Institute. I have also lived in Costa Rica for about 2 years to work.
3. Who do you live with in Limón 2 now?
I live with my mom and my younger siblings. At one point, I did build my own house and lived on my own for a short period of time.
4. How did the youth development group, Formación Fénix, get started? 
This teen program originally started in 2011 with the support of an intern, Whitney, with the organization FSD. There were 15 youth, between the ages of 10-15 years old, from the communities of Limón 1 and 2 and it was originally called Formación Juvenil.

The original objective was to be a group that hosted cultural community events and have fun. We made trips to Rivas to visit the firefighter and police stations. We organized beach cleanups and other activities and quickly this group of teenagers became leaders in their community.

After Whitney left the country, she encouraged the group to continue. Without help from any local organization the group, unfortunately, stopped functioning. But a fire was sparked within me!

In that same year (2011), I was awarded a grant through the organization iLEAP to head to Seattle, WA, for an intensive 10-week leadership training course. Upon returning to Limón, I came with new opportunities and ideas to re-start the youth group.

In 2012, with the support of Casa Verde and the Seattle Foundation, this youth group was re-born with the new name, Formación Fénix, and a more focused mission. The new name came from how I felt in my experience with iLEAP, like a Fénix bird appearing with new ideas and expectations, starting from nothing to achieve many things that we didn’t know we could do.

5. What are the hopes you have for the Fénix students? 

My hope for the Fénix students is that they can achieve their dreams of earning a university degree and that they can be independent in their lives. Also, I hope they can be someone with goals and visions for their life, and that they can serve as examples for others in the communities.

6. Why is the Fénix program and education support critical for participants? 

It’s very important because through education, the participants will have a wide-range of opportunities to have a better life and be able to choose what they want for their life. The support they receive is to inspire them to achieve the goals and dreams they make for themselves.

In May of 2016, Formación Fénix and Casa Verde accepted an invitation to join CREA, officially creating CREA’s Youth Development Initiative.