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.