Carlos Cruz, President and co-founder of Cauce Ciudadano in Mexico, grew up on mean streets and eventually, out of pain, found resilience and transformation. As an agent of change, he has dedicated his life to youth development, getting gangbangers to build processes for peace, and teaching youngsters to eschew violence in and out of school.

He and his nonprofit equip youths to improve their community through healthy living; respect for human rights, including gender rights; group projects; going to school peacefully, resilience and having the right to change.

“I give entrances to those who can’t find exits and exits for those who can’t find entrances,” is how Cruz sums up his work.

Later, Cruz partnered with civil sector and corporate programs to get transitional services and jobs for more than 400 marginalized women and their families. Through a civil sector-government partnership, he also helped to implement a prevention of gender-based violence program that reaches more than 65,000 students a year.

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