In the U.S., the pursuit of dreams is a common thing. We grow up with a mindset to want to go out and change the world. It’s part of our culture — to become an entrepreneur.
But what about in other parts of the globe? Having dreams may not always be encouraged. In fact, it may sometimes be looked down upon.
That’s how it was for 24-year-old Pedro Alves of São Paulo, Brazil.
From an early age, he knew he had a dream. He knew he had a passion for helping young people change their situations financially and emotionally. The problem was everyone told him to stop dreaming and “be thankful for what you have.”
Yet, In the deepest bowels of his heart was a leader waiting to be tapped into. He just needed an opportunity to be connected with like-minded people who could help bring that leader out of him.
He found those people at Cumorah Academy.
In Pedro’s semester of winter 2023, he had the opportunity to grow and to be exposed to the tools, skill sets, and mindsets of entrepreneurs. He did not waste one moment of it.
Here are a few life-changing lessons he took from his experience.
1) Become Self Reliant
Learning self-reliance is a staple for all students who come to Cumorah. People cannot be leaders unless they can provide for themselves and then create ways they can do the same for others.
“You need to be self-reliant for yourself, for your family, and then for the church to serve others. It’s not possible to do that if you stay the same. Cumorah Academy challenged me to look for greatness in my environment.”
Once Pedro mastered this concept, he could take charge of his reality and where he wanted to go.
2) Strive to Make Dreams a Reality
Coming to Cumorah was a dream come true for Pedro. He was immediately surrounded by like-minded individuals from all around the world, coming from unique cultures and backgrounds.
“I realized I wasn’t crazy when I saw the people there, they proved I was right”
And following his heart to pursue his dreams turned out to be the right choice. He gained that stronger edge, confidence, and belief in himself to become a man who achieves his goals and sculpts a life vision. Cumorah put him on the road to find that inspiration.
From there, a leader can make their vision known to the world.
3) Obtain a Growth Mindset
Someone with a growth mindset understands that when there is a tough financial situation, you can change it. This starts with changing the way a situation is viewed. It’s a way of offering a new light-filled perspective.
In Pedro’s words, “If you’re saying ‘I’m poor,’ you’re empowering yourself to be poor. Instead, say I’m not poor, I’m just in a hard situation, but I’m gonna fix it.”
Once this realization is made, a leader can thrive in their environment.
4) Be a Leader Who Connects With Others
As a group rep leader for the entire 3-month semester, Pedro intentionally found ways to connect with the unique individuals of his group. He invited them to open up and tell their stories. He also wasn’t afraid to be vulnerable.
He says, “Just talk about yourself, your difficulties, what you like to do. That way you increase the trust in the group and people start to open up about themselves too.”
It really takes a leader who knows and understands those he leads. Then he’s not someone who’s just giving orders, but someone who has a deeper sense of how to lift those around him.
Back home in São Paulo, Pedro now serves as the second counselor of his ward’s bishopric. It’s a leadership role his experience at Cumorah helped him prepare for.
Though he didn’t feel ready for the calling, he soon realized that all was compatible with his dream to help young people.
He explains, “so my bishop actually told me that ‘I want you to help the young people that have the vision to grow,’ and from there I’ve been focusing on young people that have a dream and the desire to grow as I do. I want to help them see past the fog to rise up and shine.”
That dream has never been more alive than it is now as Pedro strives to be an example for the young people in his ward. It’s evidence that when we open the doors to possibilities of our dreams, God will lead us down the road of providing the most impact that ignites change in people’s lives.
Cumorah Academy is there to provide that impact.