Unity and good communication allow families to weather even the hardest conditions. In a country where youth are vulnerable to gang violence, substance abuse and the pressure to migrate, counseling can support parents navigating a host of uncertainties and give kids a safe space to confide.

“When I first meet each family that we work with, I hope to give them the best of myself,” said family counselor Dinora Izaguirre. “I hope to give them a service full of quality and humanity.”

Proponte Más’ family centered approach to violence prevention is based on evidence that suggests that when families are healthy and integrated, youth’s risk for joining gangs is lowered significantly. Our counselors first focus on helping parents and caregivers provide healthy leadership to their families, creating a more secure base from which young people grow and contribute to their families’ goals. Fostering an environment in which youth contributions are expected, recognized and appreciated in the family has a recognizable ripple effect outside of their immediate family as well.

Over four years of providing counseling services to families in some of the country’s poorest neighborhoods, 79 percent of youth attended by Proponte Más reduced their level of risk. Results from our work have also informed public policy around juvenile justice. For instance, 60 families and youth in the juvenile justice system received family counseling as an alternative measure to detention.

Restoring communities and building stability begins with the family.