Saturday, February 6, 2010
An Amazing Return Visit
Hello OYE Family!
First of all, thanks to Kat for allowing me to participate in the OYE Blog.
January 15th I received the best New Year's present ever: A trip to OYE's offices in El Progreso.
I had the great opportunity to serve as OYE's Program Coordinator from 2007 to 2008. The year I spent with OYE was full of fun, new and challenging work, amazing conversations, eye-opening lessons and the joy of watching OYE's youth grow, flourish and push the boundaries of what OYE could be.
A little over a year later, on my first return trip to OYE's offices, I was overwhelmed, but in no way surprised, by the important work that OYE's members are engaged in.
OYE is an organization propelled by the voice, energy, enthusiasm and, of course, empowerment of youth. It is visible in every thing they do. Walking into the office and listening to the students explain to me how the radio program has grown, looking over their published magazines, listening to how much they've fundraised (on their own and in El Progreso!), was such a joy. I remember the very first radio program we did in OYE's offices. OYE members that were then giggling embarrassedly and asking how the microphones work, are now sitting within a recording booth and explaining to me how their brand new stereo equipment works (that they bought with the money THEY fundraised.)
It was wonderful to see the faces of the youth that I worked with. I reflected on all the time we worked together. From reading their applications, to meeting them for the first time, interviews, house visits, meeting their parents, leadership training. They all looked older, more mature. They spoke to me with the strong, certain voices that they had always possessed, but that now contain even more pride and ownership of their work. We sat down and talked about some of the things that happened in their lives during 2009. OYE members have experienced weddings, graduations, moves, new relationships - even a singing debut! We spoke of the difficult political period that Hondurans continue to live with everyday. They have full and busy lives, and yet, their commitment to OYE is clearly based in love and pride. They are proud of all that they are achieving.
Of course, a reflection on my trip to OYE would not be complete without recognizing the amazing work that the OYE staff has done to bring the organization to the point it is at now. I was beyond excited and happy to see Luis, and it was wonderful to meet Kat. The additional OYE staff were incredibly welcoming to us and it is clear that they form a strong and dedicated support system for the work of OYE's youth.
OYE, you all are an inspiration! From the first time I heard about OYE's work, I was inspired and motivated by the organization's message. There is no comparison to seeing that message lived out in the words and actions of OYE's youth.
Thank you for the WONDERFUL visit. Un abrazote y saludos a todos.