Wednesday, December 15, 2010

OYE Holiday Greeting!!

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Holiday Greetings from OYE HondurasDecember 2010

Young OYE Scholar Dear OYE Family,

On behalf of the staff and youth of OYE, we would like to offer you our thanks for your continued support and our wishes for a happy and healthy holiday season.

As OYE completes another year, the achievements of its 75 scholars and the hundreds of youth it reaches testify to the strength of OYE's mission: education is the tool that empowers youth to take hold of their futures, become leaders and contribute to society.

We have enormous gratitude for each of you for your continued support. Your donations enable OYE to fundamentally change the lives of at-risk youth in Honduras.

OYE's young, committed and capable staff has worked hard to develop the leadership skills of OYE's youth. This year's main focus has been to train OYE's youth to plan, implement, monitor and evaluate community focused projects. As a complement to their studies, OYE youth completed courses on project management and implementation. Today, they are responsible for managing OYE's major programs: sports, magazine, radio, art and scholarships. This very significant transition to youth-led programs took place this last summer, and the youth have demonstrated incredible competency as they have assumed these new responsibilities. OYE believes this is the way to build the present and future leaders of Honduras.

2010 was a great year for OYE: it is growing as an established institution and it is reaching more people. It is ready to scale up its program.

The only constraint OYE faces is funding. Foundations have cut back in this economic environment and OYE has felt the effects. It needs your support more than ever.

Contributions to OYE can be made online through our Paypal account.

OYE is a 501 (c) 3 tax deductible public charity. For more information, please visit us at our website, check out our blog, and read our 2010 year-end summary.


OYE's 2010 Highlights OYE Youth Facilitator Team
What we've been up to...
  • Eight scholars graduated from high school and all eight are proceeding to college. In a country where less than 30% of the population graduates from high school, it is a phenomenal achievement to have 100% of our high school graduates continue to the university.
  • Our first university graduate has completed her practicum in industrial engineering. She grew up an orphan, living in a group home for girls. Today, she is an engineer. She is also giving back to OYE, teaching English, conducting writing workshops for the youth who run the magazine and mentoring young women.
  • OYE receives 10 times the number of applications for scholarships than it can fill. It is poised to double or triple its scholarships. Resources are the only constraint.
  • OYE's magazine for youth has published 11 editions and circulated more than 10,000 issues. Under youth leader Fabiola Oro, a scholar, the magazine has professionalized its format and is the leading magazine for youth in the city.
  • OYE's soccer league of 14 teams and its youth-led online radio show are self sufficient.

We express our apologies in advance if you happen to receive this message twice, as we have also sent some letters out via snail mail.

Again, OYE staff and youth send you their warmest regards and wish you happy holidays. Much gratitude to each of you.


Ana Luisa Ahern Justin Eldridge-Otero Luis Paredes Marisol Fuentes

Co-Founder Co-Founder Co-Director Co-Director

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A Three Step Process

Ever wondered how OYE finds all these great kids to participate in our projects?

Well I'll tell you...

It's a three step process.

Step One

Each student that would like to become a part of the OYE family starts by filling out an application. The applications are made available in the middle of September and the begining of Octuber. Applications take into account economic necessity, personal disposition and interests, and academic standing. That is to say, we are looking for local youth that have an economic necesity and a desire to be leaders and agents of positive change in their community.

Step Two

Valid candidates, as decided by the application, come to the OYE office for an interview. As there is only so much you can learn from written responses the personal interviews give OYE's staff a chance to get to know each of the applicants and assess their compatibility with OYE. During this second step. Applicants and staff talk about personal problems, goals, and personality.

Step Three

Members of OYE's staff visit each candidates house and do a final interview with the applicant and his/her family. During this step OYE can double check the economic necessity by seeing first hand the living conditions and meeting the family. This visit also permits OYE to clarify its expectations from the applicant and the family regarding time and dedication to OYE. Vice versa, this is an opportunity to the family of the applicant to learn more about OYE.

After each step has been completed all that is left is the decision.

Tomorrow, Wednesday December 1, OYE will begin the third step of this process. On the 18th of December it will announce OYE's 2011 scholarship students. Stayed tuned for more updates.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Matt and Mary Clay Finish the Race!

Matt and Mary Clary have completed their marathon. Congratulations!!!

These two have been incredible supporters of OYE and its programs. They have helped us form strong alliances with both Mary Baldwin College and James Madison University, and their positive out-going personalities have formed great reputations for them among the OYE team and our scholars. Everyone at OYE seems to have some new eccentric tale about Matt, and the youth are always asking when the dancing queen Mary Clay will be back.

If you have pitched in to help them reach their fundraising goal consider doing it now. These are two incredible people who have made a visible and positive impact on OYE. We're happy to see them both finish the race, but secretly I'm still pulling for Mary Clay!

Hopefully, one of them will see this post and can clear up the results a little bit for us.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Never a Dull Moment at OYE Honduras

There is never a dull moment when you are working to build 75 youth leaders in El Progreso Honduras, but some moments get a little more exciting than others. Over the last few weeks OYE has seen its programs grow, new alliances form, and an outpouring of public support. The month of October alone has been incredibly exciting!

We stand on the verge of having 12 projects seven of which will be entirely student planned, run, and reported. Everything from our sports program to our scholarship program will be planned and managed by OYE scholarship students. This is an exciting transition for our organization. We eagerly look forward to seeing the failures and successes of our students as they continue growing and learning through this hands on development experience. It is both inspirational and a little nerve racking to see students that entered our program afraid to speak publicly taking up leadership roles that entail managing a team of 20 or more fellow students and planning events that reach out to hundreds.

In addition to our seven new project leaders, OYE is excited to expand its integrated scholarship program to include 15 more students a year. In 2011 OYE will be working with 90 scholarship students. Applications are in and in addition to the 75 students already enrolled in OYE, OYE has received 70 new applications. With 75 at-risk youth involved in OYE’s programs as participants OYE directly impacts 300 people in the community and indirectly impacts 900. With 15 new scholarship students these numbers should continue to grow.

In another effort to deepen its impact, OYE has worked throughout the month of October on a community-building initiative that teaches project planning and management. This class has involved 25 youth from five local non-profits and increased the understanding between these groupswho strive to achieve common goals. With this increased understanding and the strengthening of these links, OYE is paving the way for bigger projects and future collaborations, while expanding the potential and leadership capabilities of the enthusiastic youth leaders involved.

One enthusiastic youth leader who had already completed such a class demonstrated the impact it has made on her project planning. Jarli Yanez, OYE Ritmo’s president and coordinator, led her radio group in the planning and execution of a community bingo event. October 31, OYE Ritmo’s Bingo brought together 228 players and a handful of viewers. Everyone young and old enjoyed the food, horchata, and of course the competitive bingo. As the event raised funds for OYE and brought together the community to share in a positive spirit raising and unifying event bingo was a clear success. Events like these planned and executed by OYE’s youth are a testament to the positive results that OYE’s capacity classes and programs produce each year in our youth, and beyond that they are very exciting to attend.

Finally, nothing is as satisfying or exciting as somebody telling you that you are doing a good job, and in October thousands of people told OYE just that. OYE was nominated for a Stay Classy Award, and a panel of judges deemed this organization worthy of moving on to the city-finalists round for Best Charity of the Year. We competed as one of Washington, DC’s top ten charitable organizations in a public voting round. Thousands of OYE supporters cast their vote to name OYE Charity of the Year. Right up until the end, OYE waivered between first and second place. We finished in second and did not move on to the next round, but to see the outpouring of support from our family was incredible!

Although there was never a dull moment these past few weeks, there were certainly a number of great ones. While this organization grows in size, its youth grow in capacity. OYE has left an impact on the lives of many people that both students within this foundation and members of the community at large can site. It was a true pleasure to see the recognition OYE received during Octobers Stay Classy voting period, and it is nice to know that people recognize the good job OYE does.

Other Important News

•OYE Ritmo Bingo October 31 draws 228 players and raised 7,000 Lempira; Goal raise funds to allow radio project to expand and gather together community for positive event

•Three OYE supporters run marathons to benefit OYE; Goal raise $4,500 and raise awareness for OYE

•OYE expands scholarship program to 15 more youth; Goal 90 at-risk youth receive capacity classes to realize their potential as agents of positive social changes

•OYE receives over 70 applications for 2011; Goal find the most deserving and worthy applicants to join the OYE family and begin sharing in our effort to make a social impact

Friday, October 22, 2010

Thank you for your votes!

Voting is closed and results are revealed tomorrow. Before we hear the final results I just wanted to thank everyone. I received emails from friends and family asking everyone to vote. Facebook was covered with support for OYE and friends were coming up to me saying they were helping spread the word. Time and time again OYE supporters have come out in force to vote and donate. The regional Stay Classy voting was a powerful testament to the strength and energy in the OYE family. So thank you from the bottom of our heart.

I jumped on quickly to see if there was any news and was excited to see that almost all the recent activity in DC was for OYE. Take a look:

This is an image of the final voting activity in the DC region.

You guys rocked it, and we are very grateful. Results will be posted tomorrow afternoon so fingers crossed!

OYE RITMO Breaks it Down at Comvida

At an event hosted by Comvida, another local foundation that works with and supports youth, OYE's radio group demonstrated how we break it down on the dance floor. Check out Jarli, Sophia, Ivelis, Cesar, Gustavo, and Luis represent OYE.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

One more push!
It is so encouraging to see all the support that has gotten OYE into second place! Thank you to everyone who voted. We are almost there but we need one more push to the top.

Please post this link on your wall: and then email your friends and family for a few more votes.

Again, thank you for your votes and energy this far. We can win this but we need all the votes we can get before voting ends tomorrow!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Expressing Our Rights

Comvida, another local youth oriented organization, held an event October 7th, 8th, and 9th at which youth in El Progreso expressed their rights. The event targeted local youth and brought various institutions to the stage where they expressed their rights. Day one of the event was composed of a youth art workshop. Day two, was comprised of youth dances ranging from break-dance to danza folklorica. The final day culminated in an exposition of student theater. Throughout each day of events youth and local social activists reaffirmed the rights that everychild has.
Bringing together hundreds of high schoolers and middle schoolers from as far away as two hours, the event was a great opportunity for students of diverse backgrounds to share in expressive and culture activities that encourage their creative and individual growth.
OYE Ritmo choreographed a dance and represented our youth. You can see their dance above.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

OYE Competes and Needs Your Vote

Vote for OYE today!

Organization for Youth Empowerment has been nominated as a Stay Classy Charity of The Year and is now competing as a City Finalist for DC. The Stay Classy Awards are sponsored by NBC and award over $100,000 worth of cash and prizes to deserving charities and individuals every year. This year OYE has the chance to compete for these prizes.

After the initial nomination, judges select charities they feel serve the community and create tangible and positive changes. There are ten categories in eight cities across the US. Each category, seperated by cities, has 10 finalist charities. These City Finalists must compete against eachother by popular online vote to become national finalists.

Help OYE reach the next level by casting your vote today. We have from today, October 9, to Friday, October 22, to collect as many votes as possible. After voting yourself you can help us win this by forwarding the link on to family, friends, and contacts.

The ball is rolling and now it depends on you!


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Promoting Youth Empowerment One Step at a Time

OYE Honduras' volunteer community is litterally stepping up to the fundraising challenge. Mary Clay Thomas and Matt Trybus along with Ben Woodcock will all be running for a cause. Mary Clay and Matt have both tasted the Baleadas of El Progreso, Yoro and volunteered with OYE. They have decided that the simple task of training for and running a half marathon was not challenging enough, and so, have decided to augment their ambitions by adding a $3,000 fundraising goal to benefit OYE. Read their blog and join their cause! Matt and Mary Clay's Blog.

Ben Woodcock has also stepped up to the challenge of long distance running and long distance fundraising. Located in Buffalo, New York, Ben's marathon will led him all the way to Niagra Falls, Canada. However, the $1,500 Ben has set out to raise will find its way back to at-risk youth in Honduras. As a friend of OYE's founder Ana Luisa, Ben demonstrates the strong bonds and personal connections that allow socially oriented non-profits like OYE to succeed. Read more about Ben's endeavers and help him reach his goals at Ben's Blog.

Planning for your Spring Break?

Volunteer in Honduras.

OYE offers a week in the heart of Latin America working with socially active individuals, in-depth cultural immersion and a look into the challenges facing Honduran communities.

Your service-learning week promises to be jam packed with unforgettable memories. During the week you will see first hand the vibrant beauty of the Honduran culture and challenging reality that faces this country. You will become intimate with staff and students, be immersed with families, and of course, sample delicious cultural dishes.

OYE opens the opportunity for you to interact with social activists, experts in Honduran politics, and other unforgettable guests who will walk you though what it is to struggle for change in Honduras. They will also give you insight on how you can participate in this beautiful progress.

Trips also complete a service project with OYE students. Service trips are based on the needs of the organization or our local partners. Past volunteers have: painted murals, built desks, built a sound booth for OYE el Ritmo and much more.

OYE was built and continues to grow on strong personal relationships. As you are learning and working though out the week you will build life-long relationships. Which at times are based purely on broken Spanglish! We can insure that after a week in OYE you will never be the same.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

OYE Takes Over Progreso

Taking Over Progreso

In a frenzy of organized chaos, OYE students plastered stickers on bumpers across El Progreso. Our army of youth leaders divided itself into two camps strategically positioned along the main boulevard and in the central park from which they ambushed innocent civilians ignorant to the existence of this youth organization. With the ultimate objectives of promoting OYE as an energetic youth oriented and youth run organization and increasing the publicity of OYE Revista Jovenes (Youth Magazine) members of OYE Revista and OYE’s Radio group took to the streets today. Selling OYE t-shirts, stickers, and issues of Revista Jovenes, OYE’s youth captured the attention of Progreso and left and impact visible on the bumpers of Progreso’s taxis.

Aside from boosting sales of the magazines, this was a great opportunity for OYE’s youth to give OYE a face in the community. Each year local recognition for this organization grows, but it is hard for a stranger to understand the unique youth led dynamic of our program. Events like this, organized and executed by our youth, leave a great impression on the community and move OYE in a positive direction.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

After five weeks of practice and classes, OYE`s students are producing art. These are some of the first drawings produced by OYE`s art program.

Ben Races for OYE!

OYE's friend Ben is running the Niagara Falls Marathon and raising funds for OYE! Watch his progress on his blog as he tries to reach his goal of raising $1500 for OYE's youth programs in Honduras, and help him get there faster by donating through the secure link below. Thank you so much Ben for all of your support, and good luck training for race day!

Friday, September 17, 2010

September and October Issues of Revista Jovenes

You can now view the September and October issue of OYE`s Revista Jovenes online...

Special thanks to our sponsors for making this possible

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Dia del Niño

Dia del Niño

On the tenth day of September, Honduras set aside a special day to celebrate the countries youth. And believe me there is a lot to celebrate in this country. Given the high birth rates and young pregnancies it seems like everyone here is youth or young at heart. Although in OYE we like to think we are all still youth, we are more accurately jovenes than niños. As adolescents the young scholars of OYE went out into elementary schools around their community to celebrate this day with the true youth of the country.

With the kids that make up OYE`s radio program, I traveled to the School Porvenir. No sooner did we enter the gate than the party started. I cannot imagine how order was maintained on a normal school day, but on song, dance, and candy filled holiday the small-overcrowded school was a chaotic madhouse.

In Honduras there is really only one way to capture the attention of excited wound up youth. You have to dance. OYE`s Radio group both animated and focused the thriving fiesta by dancing to Waka Waka, Moo la Vaca, and the Gorilla Song among others.

I think I speak for myself, but hopefully others as well, when I say the day brought the inner child out of everyone. I definitely saw a smile on everyone’s faces, kids, parents, teachers, and OYE members. Maybe they were just laughing at me as I sweat through my shirt trying to keep up with the little hooligans, but I think it was a day that brought everyone together to celebrate one of the most import things in life youth.

To say youth or kid/s there are many words in Honduran Spanish, Just a few would be:


Saturday, September 4, 2010

Artist Capacity

Capacity is a Word that gets thrown around the offices of OYE a lot. We have programs of capacity building and all of our students have incredible capacity, but what does this capacity mean to the people that have it?
I attended a drawing class, part of our new Arte La Calle program, and not only did I receive a great lesson in drawing, but I also had the opportunity to talk with some of the OYE students about capacity. We talked about what it was, and what it means.
By the end of the lesson I realized that its true OYE students have incredible capacity. They described to me what this word means, and according to our scholars, capacity is the potential a person has to do something. Moreover, it is the ability to apply ones self to acquire the knowledge necessary to do that thing.
After talking for a while we came to the conclusion that, while everyone has some capacity, we are not necessarily endowed with the same type of capacity. In this vein, the program of art that I attended today is a perfect example. Gerald, the OYE scholar that was instructing us has an incredible capacity for making and teaching art. When he looks at an object he sees it through the eyes of an artistic and can reproduce its slightest shadow. He can look at an image and see how to draw it with a mind for the shadows and reflections. As a teacher he demonstrates a tremendous capacity of patience with his raucous students. When all was said and done, those of us that participated in his class produced some nice works of art, even if they could not rival those of Gerald. We all had the capacity to produce art, but we might not have realized it without the guidance of Gerald.

This is the type of capacity and capacity building OYE is talking about. Capacity is simply the ability to learn to do. Capacity is nothing without the desire to act, and it is amplified when a helping hand or guidance is lent to another. As we hope to create a village of socially engaged artists through our art program, we hope to create a community of socially conscious and responsible citizens through our capacity classes.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Calling all American University students!

Thanks to the hard work of trip leaders and AU students Sophia Higgins and Sarah McIntosh, American University will be hosting an Alternative Spring Break trip to Honduras with OYE!  Check out the itinerary and recent news at .

Make sure to sign up for the trip of a life time!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Convivio with San Alberto Hurtado

Saturday, August 21st OYE students joined their peers from El Progreso´s San Alberto Hurtado, a local scholarship organization, in Progreseño theater - La Fragua. Throughout the afternoon students shared the mission and work of each of their respective organizations, as well as skits and dances that groups from each organization created.

The afternoon provided incredible opportunities to connect both communities of Progreseño students. In addition the communities were able to share missions, current projects, and future activities. As the day came to close with both organizations singing and dancing together it was obvious to see that the day successfully brought the communites together. OYE and its students are excited to participate in more events like this one in the future!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Charity Poker Tournament in support of OYE!

OYE would like to thank the Ahern Family for their generous support during a charity poker tournament held in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, benefiting OYE and two other Ahern family causes. Thanks to everyone who participated in making this event such a success and a ton of fun.

Ahern Family Charity Poker Tournament 2010 OYE Honduras

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Marcha de la Joventud

At 7:30 AM OYE students crowded into the office. Dressed alike in blue OYE Mi Voz shirts, they formed a sea of blue with picket signs floating in hand. At 8 o-clock the sea of youth poured out of the office to join the march. Hundreds of students from local high schools and other youth foundations convened at El Progreso's central park. Youth from accross the city came to this event, organized by Unifec and Comvida, to demonstrate their voice and promote their rights. Themes of the march included equal rights with no discrimination based on race, color, sex, language, or religion.

Furthermore, the youth participating in this event demanded that their government be responible to protect youth from physical and mental abuse, mistreatment, and exploitation.

OYE students appeared to enjoy themselves and feel very at home participating in such an event. The themes of the event mirrored many themes that OYE touches upon in our capacity programs and coincides very well with our global vision and the mission of our foundation. To see OYE students occupying public space and to demonstrate their voice, their power, and demand to be heard and respected was a awesome site.

As the event came to a close, representatives from various youth oriented organizations were asked to speak. Representatives from local high schools said a few words, a couple religious organizations shared their sentiments, and Yarli Yanes spoke for OYE.

In conclusion the event was well organized and the youth were well represented. True to the culture of Honduras' youth the event was fun with music and dancing. The youth demonstrated their potential as leaders and potential to raise their voices in unision to ask for their rights to be defended. After events such as this I can't help but think that both the future and the present look very bright for this country.