Waves of Change: Guadalupe’s Story

Guadalupe Pos’s journey began with a passion for hiking the paths of Guatemala’s scenic mountains. As he began to share this passion with others, he soon found himself on a new path: the path of a nonprofit founder who was changing the lives of children in need.

Guadalupe founded Escuela De La Calle (EDELAC) in 1995. In addition to leading hikes, the nonprofit provides education, shelter, and healthcare to vulnerable children in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala. Thanks to Guadalupe’s drive, the organization made swift progress.

But like many leaders, as the nonprofit experienced rapid growth, Guadalupe found himself facing completely new kinds of challenges—the passion and skills that helped him create EDELAC were no longer the same skills needed to keep it growing. Then the pandemic struck, bringing in-person programs to a halt. For Guadalupe, the path ahead held unfamiliar twists and turns, and he needed to adapt to these changing circumstances to keep moving forward.

“I felt that we were headed in a promising direction, but I had lost my inner compass, and I no longer knew what direction to head in to keep growing EDELAC,” Guadalupe said.

Guadalupe realized these new challenges needed a new solution. So, on the recommendation from another nonprofit leader, he hired ICF-credentialed coach Cynthia Gonzalez. Initially, Guadalupe expected working with a coach to be similar to seeing a psychologist. However, he quickly found that coaching was something else entirely.

“Working with Cynthia was like having someone with me on the path who could hold up a candle and help me see more clearly. With powerful questions and alternate perspectives, she helped me gain clarity to where I wanted to go,” he said.

Over the year they worked together, Guadalupe clarified the sense of purpose that drove his work. He also fortified his resilience in the face of challenges, including reframing his approach to coping with failures, which freed him to take bigger risks for EDELAC’s growth.

“To continue on this path, we must think and act strategically. I am learning it is a daily practice of organizing ideas and of visualizing the present, the future and the past at the same time. It is a skill strengthened by listening to the voices of the last, the smallest, the great, and the wise.”

Most importantly, Guadalupe reignited the passion of hiking that led him to work with children in need in the first place.

“My purpose is to lead as many children as I can to the mountain peaks, so they can witness the sunrise, that the beauty of this experience might bring out their courage and inspire them to dream about all that is possible in their lives.”

With this renewed sense of direction to reset his internal compass, Guadalupe was prepared to take on the challenges of his rapidly growing nonprofit. He has applied this fortified resilience, strategic thinking and clarity of vision to how he leads his team as well as to how he approaches donor relations,  which empowered the organization to work together more impactfully than ever as they landed in their new normal after the pandemic.

During the pandemic, EDELAC served 160 children with digital learning. As of 2024, four former students had graduated from its program and gone on to complete college, and five grew up to join the EDELAC team themselves. In 2023, 20 children completed EDELAC’s elementary school program and every one of them continued onto high school in 2024—a remarkable accomplishment considering when EDELAC started twenty years ago, an average of just 10 percent of elementary students continued onto secondary education.

As Guadalupe’s coaching engagement with Cynthia concluded and he looked ahead to his future, he felt ready for the journey ahead.

“As we said goodbye and parted ways, I was equipped to continue my journey and discover the next challenge, to climb more mountains, and to rise to new heights,” he said.