Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Author: A'ra Alston, Volunteer from Mary Baldwin College
Coming to Honduras, I knew I would be working for OYE, but I had no clue exactly what I would be doing. My time here has been amazing. I have enjoyed working in the communities that OYE has agreed to help out. What I am most excited about however, is my project. In America, we have an organization called Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. I plan to create a small-scale version of this here in El Progreso. I am undecided whether to keep all participants within the OYE scholarship student community, or to branch out and involve other Honduran youth. My hope is to pair OYE becados with other Honduran youth to form big brother-little brother and big sister-little sister relationships. With the organization in the U.S., studies have shown that "littles" who have a "big" role model in their lives are less likely to drop out of school, less likely to get involved in violence or drugs, and are more likely to be better leaders in their communities. I am hoping to have the same outcome with this project in El Progreso. I have been here for a little over one month and every day I learn something new about OYE. As of today, I have exactly 2 months left, and I am eager to see what is to come of this experience. We recently moved into the new spacious office! I was happy to take part in that. One room in this new office is about the size of the old office alone. We have moved beyond those 4 walls. The territory has been enlarged which means great things are about to happen. The limits have been removed, and I know OYE is about to breakthrough!!!
‘Hugs and Kisses for OYE’ was an event that was originally supposed to be set up as a kissing booth. For 2 Lempiras, the community would get a red, cut-out heart with a Valentine’s Day message from OYE, a hug and a small kiss on the cheek from one of the volunteers. When I first proposed the idea to fellow OYE staff members and scholarship recipients, everyone seemed to have immediate reservations with the idea of kissing strangers (even though Hondurans often greet each other with kisses). The title of the event remained the same but instead of kisses we decided to offer paper valentines with messages written by Cesar Santos, a young poet and OYE scholarship recipient, hugs, and pieces of chocolate. I was pleased with the change.
The purpose of the project was to raise money for OYE while informing the community about OYE and its mission. Valentine’s Day was the perfect opportunity. Although it rained the entire time, we still stood outside in Mercedes Park to represent OYE. To attract the attention of the community, we sang songs and a simple chant: ‘Para Jovenes…En Honduras.’ Some people laughed and sang with us. Others just watched in curiosity
This was a successful event. All objectives were achieved and new fundraising ideas were developed. In total, we sold 35 hearts and raised 70 Lempiras for OYE.
Friday, February 18, 2011
Yarli has always liked to study, and she knew from the moment she entered OYE that she wanted to pursue an education in industrial engineering. A gifted leader and eloquent speaker, Yarli took an active role at OYE from the start and helped found its radio program, OYE El Ritmo. Yarli has served as the program’s coordinator from when the radio was just a laptop and a microphone to what it is now – an online radio channel with a fully equipped radio studio.
An extrovert by nature, the now 21-year-old Yarli was attracted to the idea of a radio program from the start since she wanted to transmit young people's ideas to El Progreso. The radio program currently streams online, but Yarli’s goal is for OYE el Ritmo to acquire its own local channel on Progreso’s radio waves.
While leading OYE el Ritmo, Yarli has learned a great deal about communication and how to utilize up-to-date radio technologies and computer programs. Challenges that come with the job include motivating her team of 15 to do their best on a daily basis.
Yarli’s experience at OYE has had an undeniable affect on her life and professional trajectory. The monthly scholarship money helps her to concentrate on her studies and covers costs for things like books and transportation to and from school. If it were not for OYE, she would be struggling to support her studies financially.
Working with OYE has had a great affect on Yarli’s relationships with her family members. She feels more responsible and her parents are extremely proud of her work, particularly her role with OYE el Ritmo. Yarli’s siblings often tease her, saying that she could bring her bed and clothes to the OYE office since she spends so much time there.
After Yarli graduates from UNITEC (La Universidad Tecnológica Centroamericana) in two years, she would love to travel abroad to gain knowledge about other countries, peoples, and cultures before returning to Honduras to work. She hopes to embark in a career in communications while continuing to support OYE in whatever capacity she can.
A young woman and leader, Yarli appreciates that OYE trains youth in the areas of art, sports, radio, writing, and leadership regardless of gender. She believes that all people have inherently equal value because we are all human.