After a nice breakfast of baby cereal and bananas, I headed to work. Two of my colleagues are interested in starting their own Graphic Design firm and wanted to meet with me to discuss how they should go about preparing for the venture. We had a nice talk about how to properly analyze the financial viability of the future business along with the necessary steps in order to define the structure and processes.
Around 10:00am, I received a phone call from a friend’s grandmother who is involved in a foundation that is sponsored by the Catholic Church to help ex-gang members. During this past week, I’ve noticed that there are at least six organizations that are targeting the same group of former gang members. From rough estimates that I have heard, there are a total of 300-500 gang members in San Pedro Sula. Most of these organizations are targeting the same 60 individuals, with only 25 receiving the majority of help. These organizations put the same tattooed faces in pictures and updates in order to get more funding to serve around 25 people. In many cases, the target group is not even consulted about their thoughts. Some organizations even pay the former gang members to attend worthless talks so they can “prove” their effectiveness. The focus seems to be on attendance instead of actual improvement. For me, this whole experience has served to highlight the fact that real change must involve passion and business. The separate organizations should meet to discuss a common plan to help this group of young people, but power plays will surely keep this from happening.
This afternoon, I led a meeting with most of the CJM team to discuss my observations and analysis of their organization during the past week. Although it was not a huge surprise, I shared with them the reality that they need to make some major changes in order to survive the future and more importantly to serve their target group. I gave them a three-page report that included a list of steps toward sustainability. I ended the meeting reiterating the fact that I was not going to go through the steps by myself, since the purpose was to involve them in the process so they can learn and carry on the plans in the future.