Monday, December 21, 2009

Entrega de Becas 2009

Every year OYE hosts an "Entrega de Becas" or scholarship reception to celebrate returning recipients and welcome new recipients to the family.

This year we are excited to have 60 returning and 15 new motivated youth. Some, such as Dunia Perdoma, who have been with OYE since it's founding in 2005 and others who are join OYE for the first time with lots of potential. The theme of the event was "Mi voz es Poder!" which means "my voice is power". Students got into the idea and shared their talents with us. Youth radio, OYE el Ritmo and Youth magazine, Jovenes presented their projects and plans for 2010. Youth also presented songs, a poem, and a dance number.

Dunia Perdoma with Director Luis Paredes.

Maria "Yapa" Reyes is another farmiliar face that joined OYE in 2005 with Dunia.

Students received the awards for academic excellence throughout the school year. Neris, 96%, with Ivelis and Erick close behind with 95.45% and 95.32%. They maintained high grades along with high levels of participation in OYE. We are so Proud of them.
Three students received awards for high participation in OYE; Cesar, Gelad and Yarli.
And the awards for individual growth throughout the year went to Gerald and Sandra.

OYE staff was joined by parents of founder Ana Ahern, Patrick and Patricia Ahern. Patricia is also an active board member and we are very grateful for her tireless support.

With this we move enthusiastically into 2010, and remember...


Monday, December 14, 2009

Clip of the Week

Welcome to OYE's Clip of the week! We would like to share the sights and sounds of life in Progreso through the eyes of our volunteers, staff and students through short clips taken throughout the week.

If you read the last post you know a little bit about the application process. Are some short clips to give you and idea of the three steps.

1. Application 2. Student interview 3. Home visit

Application Process

The last month has been trying to say the least. We began our search for new scholarship recipients. It is a three-step process.

1) Review application: The initial step is an application that local youth fill so we can understand their history, economic support, family situation, aspirations and more.

2) Student interview: Students come to the office and interview with two OYE staff members. Here we learn more about the students and expand on the information they gave us in the interview.

3) House visit: During these visits we meet the family, see the neighborhood and really become close to the situation. It is in the home visits that one really sees the needs of these families.

This year we reviewed over 150 applications to fill 15 spaces. The beautiful but challenging thing about the process is that no one becomes a number; there are histories, families and dreams involved. We spent three days reviewing, discussing and scoring applications. That was the easy part.

The interviewing process is difficult because you look them in the eyes and hear their stories. This year we heard stories from 57 local youth. Some are of a "normal" childhood in a poor family and community but others open up to reveal abusive home situation, gang violence resulting in family deaths, forced prostitution and more...

Then these same students tell you about their dreams. Dreams to change the community support their families and go to school. It was enough to induce tears from three different staff members (not in front of the applicant of course).

After the interview process we took to the streets. We conducted 29 home visits. This process is even harder than the last. Many homes are up in the hills nestled into the poorest communities. In the most humble of homes Mothers would see us coming and send their kids to run buy a Pepsi. A small cup as an act of hospitality.

The situations were heartbreaking. Houses with walls built from discarded scraps of wood, old tarps and tires. Dirt floors. No divisions. One woman lived on a terrible plot of land that gets flooded every year, leaving them to camp on the side of the highway for two months. She worked 4 years to save up $423.00 to buy it.

These are our students, these are the youth who come to OYE anxious to learn and grow. 80% of there parents never went/finished high school and in OYE they will be encouraged to not only graduate high school but also pursue higher education. These are the 75 youth how will break the poverty cycle and encourage their peers to do the same.

As trying has this past month has been the rewards are immense and we are excited to see what these students will do in 2010!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Youth Magazine: Holiday Edition

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from OYE's youth magazine. Here is the cover of the December magazine, which includes traditional Honduran holiday recipes, a refection on holiday consumerism, and more.

Clip of the Week

Welcome to OYE's Clip of the week! We would like to share the sights and sounds of life in Progreso through the eyes of our volunteers, staff and students. Look forward to next weeks Clip of the week!

Here is more from OYE's youth magazine. The first few seconds show the calm before the storm as Yapa and Raúl, the Magazines youth coordinators, receive, count and begin to organize 1000 magazines.

Afterwards Yapa and Raúl distribute magazines to each of the youth in the magazine. If you can catch a glimpse the excitement makes it hard to maintain a line. Students jump at the chance to share the magazine with their friends and families.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Clip of the Week

Welcome to OYE's Clip of the week,! We would like to share the sights and sounds of life in Progreso through the eyes of our volunteers, staff and students.

Last week we got serious with planning OYE, writing projects and budgets for 2010. So we took a break during lunch and let off some steam....

I still can't believe I am posting this Clip of the week but I promised Luis I would. So, will I bring you the championship match from 2009 between Luis Paredes and Katherine Burdine...

And the redo after a debate over fair play...however...He is exceptionally strong and he does it all with a smile.

"Stay in school kids."
- The Champ, Luis Paredes