Glasswing International

Glasswing International

Glasswing is an innovative non-profit whose mission is to address the root causes and consequences of poverty, trauma, and violence, through public health and education programs that empower youth and communities and strengthen public systems.

Mission statement

Glasswing’s mission is to address the root causes and consequences of violence and poverty through education and health programs that empower youth and communities and strengthen public systems. At Glasswing, we believe that every person has both the potential and the right to thrive, no matter what adversity they face.

Throughout Latin America, where millions are born into cycles of poverty and violence, Glasswing harnesses the power of community to create a safer and more prosperous future for us all. Through grassroots, evidence-based programming and cross-sector alliances, we create opportunities for children and youth – local changemakers – to thrive. With our flexible and localized organizational structure, we are able to respond the needs of the communities we serve with varied and innovative initiatives.

We engage all community actors and stakeholders to ensure sustainable change, while fostering hope and community pride. With the support of thousands of volunteers, we provide children and youth with access to safe spaces, social and emotional skills development, and vocational opportunities in order to build resilience, foster civic participation, and rebuild social fabric from the ground up. Lastly, Glasswing’s core values are based on a deep belief in human dignity, agency, and potential. 

Summary of relevant work

Since its inception in 2007, Glasswing has expanded its offices to 9 Latin American countries and New York City. To date, Glasswing has directly impacted the lives of more than 1 million individuals and programs are being developed in 187 communities that experience extreme poverty and some of the highest rates of homicide, femicide, and crime in the world. In 2019 alone, Glasswing reached more than 91,000 individuals through our public education, public health, and community development programs. 

Trauma-Sensitive Positive Youth Development

Glasswing’s Community Schools platform seeks to enhance youth’s protective factors- core life skills, locus of control, supportive relationships, performance, and conduct- and reduce their risk factors, enabling children and youth to thrive despite adversity. Glasswing mobilizes and trains volunteer educators as mentors who lead weekly activities and promote students’ health, well-being and build the kind of social scaffoldings necessary for positive youth development. This multi-faceted approach integrates after school clubs- arts, sciences, academics, sports, entrepreneurship- competitions, family dialogue, and community service to offer a safe and stimulating environment that fosters positive change and future outlook. Glasswing convenes parents and caregivers through community cafes where they share and learn how to create safe and stimulating environments to improve family interactions. An external evaluation by the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile demonstrated improvements in academic performance, attitude towards school and relationships, as well as behavior (reduction in aggressive and violent behaviors). The study also found improvements for students not directly engaged in the study.

Mental Health and Trauma-Informed Ecosystems 

Since 2011, Glasswing has been steadily working to mobilize systems to address the impact of violence and trauma on its workforce, communities, and individuals. To disrupt intergenerational cycles of violence and trauma, resulting in structural and personal impact, Glasswing co-creates trauma-informed mental health ecosystems with two principal goals. First, provide direct care at government healthcare facilities to address the immediate crisis and psycho-social needs of injured persons to mitigate the impact of trauma. Second, strengthen institutional trauma response capacity by equipping actors with knowledge about trauma, skills for self-care and emotional regulation, and with the ability to provide psychological first aid in order to mitigate the consequences of theirs and others’ trauma. Due to a committed and innovative ethos, Glasswing has pioneered trauma-based programming through the following initiatives:

  • Hospital/Clinic-based initiatives: direct care for injured persons: referrals, trauma psychoeducation, coping strategies.  
  • Trauma-Informed Ecosystems: in healthcare, law enforcement, government, civil society, and social leaders, to mitigate re-traumatizing injured persons, and reducing incidences of workforce burn-out. 
  • Community Wellbeing Committees: groups composed of students, teachers, and parents equipped with the trauma knowledge and skills to identify and address trauma in public schools located in highly violent communities. 
  • Online referral system with localized services: linking individuals and communities to trauma-informed service, enabling a continuum of care.  

Key partners

  • The Howard G. Buffett Foundation
  • Cargill
  • Youth Build International (YBI)
  • US Embassy (Guatemala)
  • CITI
  • Starbucks
  • The LEGO Foundation HanesBrandsInc
  • DHL
  • Avianca

Seeking collaboration with

Experts by experience/service users
Other organizations


Empowerment and service user involvement
Human rights
Prevention and promotion
Training, education and capacity building
Treatment, care and rehabilitation
Alcohol/drug use disorders
Depression/anxiety/stress-related disorders
Central America and the Caribbean
North America
South America
Children and adolescents
Families and carers
Humanitarian and conflict health
Minority populations
Primary care
Specialist care
Costa Rica
Dominican Republic
El Salvador