‘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.