Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Student Projects and More....

With student's vacations ending, capacity programs coming to an impass, and troubles with OYE Ritmo's computer the constant buzz penetrating OYE's offices slow to a quiet hum. Of course some of the usual faces never left, and a few new ones turned up as their high school was not in session do to a strike, but the normal buzz and constant traffic through the office had slowed to a crawl.
But OYE does not crawl.

By Thursday things were picking up speed again. An army of students marshalled by Luis occupied our offices to prepare the next Revista for press. They scrambled to edit and add pictures to the Revista franticaly working to ensure that it will be ready by next Tuesday.

The hard work of Luis, Marisol, and the OYE students was punctuated only by Leo's singing and a quick visit by Eric Olson, a member of OYE's executive board, and his family. It was a great opportunity for Eric Olson and OYE's scholars to interact with one another and discuss their roles and experiences with OYE. After lunch the Olson family, OYE team, and a panel of students discoursed on OYE. The students shared their personal experiences and related how they had grow through OYE's programs. They pitched the programs more eloquently and convincingly than I ever could.
Today the buzz continued to grow. Students that had been distracted by school returned to their second home in the offices of OYE. The capacity teams reassembled to continue working on their new projects, the members of the Revista meet in the morning, and the radio group meet in the afternoon. To top everything off today we had a birthday party. Aminta Michelle Doubleday turns 18 tomorrow, but we celebrated like birthdays are going out of style today. we feasted on cake and pepsi and sang. Happy Birthday Michelle!

Hopefully we can all find some time to finish our work this week...

Friday, June 18, 2010

Students Initiate New Projects

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OYE features multiple capacity programs. The general capacity program is a requirement for all OYE students to participate in. This program that talked about sexual education, self esteem, Honduran reality, and a variety of other important topics ended last week. However, OYE’s other capacity building program is in full swing. This second program is a six part course proctored by OYE’s director Luis Paredes. Through this program Luis uses his knowledge and personal experience to teach OYE’s future community activists. At the end of this 45 hour program, the students enrolled will receive degrees demonstrating that they have learned about the process and challenges of launching NGO, environmental, community, cultural, or health based projects. Aside from learning about the process of planning and implementing one of these projects, the students are proposing projects of their own to be incorporated into the OYE program.

Between Luis` leadership and experience and the determination and intelligence of the students the ideas that have been generated are well thought out and interesting. They are both an ends and a means for OYE to achieve its goals. On the one hand, these projects propose to address problems or issues within Honduras. The success of these projects would promote culture, art, music, and sports as a means for Honduran youth to grow into confident capable adults. However, beyond this, the projects planned and administered by the scholars of OYE is incredible in itself. It is putting youth in the driver’s seat of their own lives and the future of OYE in their young but capable hands. Under the guidance of the OYE team, this group of 12 youth with their two projects will move OYE forward in new and possibly unseen directions. These projects are the manifestation of the OYE`s goals. As this class comes to a close and the 12 OYE scholars pitch their ideas, they are purposing the future of the organization and in this way OYE is realizing its goals as its students pursues them.

While this is only my third week here, I am fascinated and enchanted by the way this organization works. Through its capacity programs it pursues long term objectives and immediate empowerment results. The students here, day to day, demonstrate a drive to make themselves and their community better. I believe that putting these impressive young students in positions to lead, create, and innovate is the best way to cultivate their empowerment. While they are the future, they are also the present, and by giving them hands on experience we are not preparing them to be leaders. They are growing into leaders today.

The staff at OYE has often said that the scholars in OYE are here because they have potential. While all the students in OYE take responsibility for their part in a project like the Revista or the Radio Program, the ones who are ready step up, to create, and innovate are mentored by Luis as they purpose and implement OYE programs of their own. Maybe potential isn’t the best word, but it’s the first that comes to mind. These students have demonstrated that they have more than potential because they are doing it. They are becoming leaders in their own right and in OYE. They aren’t perfect, but was their ever a perfect leader? They are learning, and they need polish, but they are OYE, and they will bring OYE in their own direction.

Sam Rioux

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

OYE turns FIVE!

This past weekend the OYE team, composed of its 5 staff members and 75 scholarship students, piled into an aged, yellow school bus that wound its way to Camalote. The bus came to a squealing stop above the twisting dirt streets of this small Honduran town. Students poured out of the doors of the bus to explore the beautiful garden ensconced in the hills above Camalote. In the loud, energetic, and sometimes hectic manner that is so signature OYE, the celebration began.

OYE spent the day celebrating its fifth anniversary and La Día del Estudiante. The celebration spread throughout the vast garden as the OYE community explored, played games, and took photos. For everyone involved it was a very proud moment to be a part of the OYE community. The good food, good humor, and good company reflected the accomplishments of OYE’s last 5 years. The 75 students spread throughout the garden playing and working together. People moved in and out of groups. Activities gave way to lunch, lunch gave way to swimming, and at every turn students were there to help organize. In the midst of their great day, the students demonstrated their responsibility. While the day was indeed a celebration, it was also a perfect reflection of the confident responsible young leaders OYE is producing.
The activities ranged from soccer to exploring and nearly everything in between. After lunch a piñata was smashed to bits as it dangled from a mango tree, and as the day was winding down awards were given out to the scholars that had received the best grades or participated the most in OYE’s programs.

Special congratulations to the Scholars who received the best grades:

Oriel Diaz 96% Ciclo Común

Tonary Sosa 99% Carrera

Iris Rodriguez 80% Universidad

And, to the scholars whose participation in OYE went above and beyond expectations:

Iloany Ochoa

Raúl Aquilera

At the end of the day, students and staff a like filed back onto the bus to return to Progreso. A simple glance around at the sweaty clothing, grass stained knees, and smiling faces conveyed the image of success. It was a pleasure for all to celebrate the students that make up this organization and it five years of growth and expansion.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

OYE el Ritmo`s concert with GUILLERMO

OYE el Ritmo, OYE's radio program, hosted its 2nd concert with Honduran singer, Guillermo Anderson. The event was held Saturday, May 30th at El Progreso, Yoro´s- Casa del Cultura. Despite the rain, the students of OYE el Ritmo organized a successful concert! The all-star singer sat down with OYE students before the show. He answered any questions students had concerning his childhood, schooling, and success.

The show also included performances by students of OYE el Ritmo, and several dances by a traditional Honduran performance group. The concert was a triumph. OYE hopes to welcome Mr. Anderson back in the following years!