“I was just a child, but they helped me regain my confidence and start healing the wounds in my heart that my family’s situation had left behind,” says Darling.
As Darling continued growing, her involvement in the center grew as well. Whenever a new workshop or vocational course began, she would sign up and eagerly await the start date.
“The center offered me every opportunity to grow as a person and learn new skills. I wanted to learn everything!” says Darling, laughing. “The workshop that changed my life was the beauty workshop I participated in when I was in my teenage years. It helped me find my passion.”
Before Darling participated in the beauty workshop, she would often watch beauty videos online and practice on her sisters. But in this vocational course, Darling acquired the necessary skills to start building her own small business. She started by offering to do her neighbors’ hair or nails.
In this way, her passion transformed into a dream for her future: she wanted to have a beauty salon of her own. At first, Darling went to her clients' homes, only to quickly realize that with the increasing number of houses she visited, transportation cost more than what she earned. She needed to start a business at her home. Unfortunately, she didn’t have the means.
“I talked to both my mother and director Nayeli; both of them instantly said they would help me,” said Darling. “The center provided me with the materials and a banner so that I could start receiving clients at home. I knew this was an opportunity that the Lord was granting me, and I had to take advantage of it.”
With the new materials and her mother’s help creating a space to receive clients, Darling was able to launch her beauty salon at home.
Starting a business venture made Darling eager to learn more about properly managing it. So she set herself another goal: She would go to college and major in business management. Because of her family’s financial struggles, this would be much harder than she originally thought.
“I started college in early 2020, but after three months the pandemic hit, affecting my family’s finances. I had to leave because my family could no longer afford to send my sisters to school while paying for my college classes,” says Darling. “I didn’t think I would ever finish my higher education.”
Despite the difficulties, Darling remembered the words her mother would say in the face of hopelessness and despair. “My mother would always tell me, ‘Put it in the hands of the Lord,’ whenever we talked about college, because throughout all our past struggles, he never abandoned us,” recalls Darling.
In mid 2020, the youth specialist of Compassion Nicaragua’s national office came to talk about an opportunity to help the center’s youths attend college, offering them financial assistance and school supplies. The requirements were that they had to be enrolled in college and be active members of the center as well.