Thursday, July 29, 2010

The OYE Family Adopts Two More

The OYE Family Adopts Two More

On Saturday, July 24th OYE opened its doors to two new volunteers. Lucia and Natalia came down to experience the culture of Honduras and see exactly what it is OYE does here. Their parents, OYE supporters as well, also had a chance to meet the students and staff here in
At a panel discussion, held outside due to the oppressive heat that takes over our offices when the electricity is out, the family met OYE. Over 10 of OYE’s scholarship students presented themselves and their projects to the family, reflecting on what OYE has done for them, and what they hope to do for their communities.

While the parents left, impressed after that first encounter, Lucia and Natalia stayed to learn more about the organization. We spent Sunday in the OYE offices planning murals and getting to know the OYE students. By Monday a crowd of OYE students arrived to participate in the beautification of OYE’s new offices. While myself and the volunteers contributed our amateur painting and design skills, Gerald Velasquez, a member of OYE Ritmo, supervised and led our team. If I do say so myself, the murals turned out pretty well.

In addition to familiarizing themselves with OYE and its students, we visited Coprome. Coprome is an orphange located here in Honduras that has always had a strong association with OYE. We were joined again by the parents and together learned about Coprome. Playing with the children and seeing another NGO here that is dedicated to empowerment through education was a powerful reminder that what we are doing is important.

The interaction of Natalia and Lucia with OYE’s becados and the cultural exchanges of youth reaffirmed my dedication to the cause and style of OYE. Bringing youth together and encouraging them to achieve their greatest potential is an inspiring and worthwhile cause. We hope that Natalia and Lucia will remember this experience and take the fight with them back to the US, where they can continue to support OYE.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

An OYE Scholar Explains What OYE Is To Him

I am a young scholar from OYE and I want to tell about my experience in this excellent organization.

At first, I knew about the organization when I was in my second year of Basic at high school. It was September 2007. I made the application, and I was approved. After that my life began changing very much. In the first months, I learnt to be a different young scholar having high self-esteem , using new ways of doing homework and studying with the wish of having good grades. I learned to help people whom are at social-risk, people who are envolved in gangs, thieves, organized crime, and drugs by making them realize there are many interesting things to do rather than being a delinquent or gangster.

In this country life is completely a mess. For the people who do not receive a good education because there is too much risk of joining a gang, being a thief due to the poverty, or smoke and drink alcohol, and consume drugs, but in OYE I learned that with my wish and determination to help my country I can be an agent of change. So that the people outside of OYE whom are in all those risks can be saved from the bad they are doing by the actions of brave young leaders that know the best thing we (as young people) can do is to study hard and and be conscious of the people that are doing that.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Four Full Becas

To see a smile on the face of Luis Paredes, the director of OYE, is not an unusual site. In fact he´s almost always smiling and cracking jokes, but this week something special came over him. Luis´s excitement was palpable as his friend Ronald hammered away at the four new cubicles he had requested. Between excited exclamations and projections about the future, Luis found time to see to details, like he always does. He suggested how the trim be painted and assigned owners to each of the new cubicles.

Cubicle one will be shared between Yarly Yanes and the Radio, and Javier Duarte in charge of the newly established Art program. Yarly, who has been with OYE for three years, will be receiving a full scholarship in exchange for her leadership and guidance with OYE´s radio program. Through her drive and determination she has become a natural leader in OYE el Ritmo, and OYE Honduras is proud to encourage her to keep up the good work and take on more responsibility.

Likewise, Javier Duarte will be receiving a full scholarship to reinvigorate one of the key elements that makes OYE stand out as a positive force in the community: art. Javier, who was been with OYE since its founding in 2005, has become an important fixture within the community that OYE knows. He leads by example. He is outgoing, genuine, and friendly, and he never hesitates to help. Under his guidance, we’re confident that a new generation of OYE murals will coat the walls of El Progreso inspiring and engaging our neighbors.

Cublicle two goes to Morgan Clark-Youngblood and future volunteers. Morgan, a student from The George Washington University studying public health, will be conducting and analyzing a socio-economic and health investigation of the 75 OYE scholars and their families. With the hope that this study will deepen our understanding of the situations the scholars here at OYE face, it will better prepare Luis and the OYE team to lead pointed Capacity-Building programs and help these kids and families.

Cubicle three goes to Fabiola Auro and Mirna Macedo who will be working together on the Magazine project. ¨Jovenes,¨ Honduras`s only magazine that is both targeted at and produced by youth, is growing by leaps and bounds. These two scholars will be receiving scholarships to guide this project. They have demonstrated their ability to lead teams and manage details, and as university students studying journalism and publishing, they will bring new expertise to the table making the revista an even more effective means of reaching out to and engaging at-risk Honduran youth.

The fourth cubicle goes to Leonardo Mendoza a scholar and member of the staff here at OYE. Leo is in charge of the scholarship program, OYE´s premier program that consists of over 71 scholars currently. In addition to this, Leo will be assisting Morgan in her socio-economic and health investigation.

The OYE team is expanding, luckily for me into the other office. With the new positions and new responsibilities OYE hopes to extend its influences as well. Over the last five years and even five months this organization has grown in size and capacity. It is remarkable to see the influence and presence OYE has created in the town of El Progreso. Whether it’s a mural in a school, a bumper sticker on a taxi, or a copy of ¨Jovenes¨ one encounters signs of OYE`s presence all over the town. As OYE continues to develop, a greater number of its programs are led directly by scholars. OYE is an ever-expanding cultural space created by youth for youth to grow through direct positive interactions. If building new cubicles means putting more responsibility and ownership of this organization into the hands of the youth that run and benefit from it, then no wonder Luis was so excited.