Thursday, January 31, 2013

Why Should We Empower Youth?

OYE Scholarship student Yarli Yanez asks Central American Youth Leaders, "Why we should empower youth?"

A huge thanks to Seattle International Foundation that sponsored our Central American Youth Leadership Conference. This video reflects on the importance of youth empowerment in Central America. Each of the organizations represented in the video are associates of Seattle International Foundation whose idea it was to bring us together and discuss best practices. The event was a huge success. It served as a reaffirmation of our goals and values and motivated each organization to to invest everything we can in our youth.

Central American youth are the change!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Its a New Year! Entrega de Becas Welcomes 70 OYE Scholars to 2013

2013 OYE Scholars

I still don’t know how we pulled it all together! A day before the Entrega de Becas, our yearly welcome ceremony for OYE scholars, we were still trading stories about vacation and dusting off the keyboards. Due to unforeseen events we pushed the ceremony forward one day and it was one us before we realized!

Marisol and Dunia Supervising the decorations
Up went the decorations. Gerald, our art program coordinator, doubled as party decorador. He and his students dressed our upstairs conference hall in green and white streamers, they glued together paper globes of matching colors, and hand crafted OYE’s first ever portable display screen for our brand new projector.

We scrambled about the office and about town Friday the 11 putting the finishing touches on the ceremony. We hauled 100 plastic chairs across town and printed out the certificates. In the last 30 minutes we tested the microphones and changed from our sweat soaked tshirts into new, stylish, green OYE Maya logo tshirts that unified the staff anda ll 2013 scholarship students.

Guests of Honor
Doors opened at 1 pm and the familias of scholarship students poured in. They paused briefly in the reception to be bchecked out and for the new OYE student to receive a their their bright green shirt. As everyone filed up stairs moms, dads, brothers, and sisters filled in the back rows and a chatty sea of green flooded the front rows. The number of OYE scholars and familias grew and grew! OYE is never as fun as when its full of students and familias.

At 2 pm the ceremony began, with the opening words of Director Marisol and Vice President of the Board Eduardo Umanzor. Tragically, I took over the reception and waited for ther last few stragglers to wander in while Marisol and Eduardo eloquently pumped up the crowd with OYE’s mission and vision:

Eduardo Umanzor, Mrisol Fuentes, and Dunia Perdomo - From left to right
OYE’s mission as a community-based, youth-led organization is to develop the leadership and capacity of at-risk Honduran youth who come from economically disadvantaged backgrounds and might otherwise be drawn to the path of crime, violence, drugs, and/or gang involvement. OYE’s integrated development approach combines formal education, youth capacity building, and community engagement to inspire and equip young people with the awareness and skills they need to take control of their lives. OYE’s model of sustainable, long-term development focuses its efforts on the empowerment of socially conscious youth who will emerge as leaders and agents of positive change in Honduran society.

OYE envisions a society where all young people, regardless of race, gender, religion, class, sexual orientation, or abilities, are given the opportunity to exercise their leadership potential. Once they are educated and trained as leaders, OYE youth realize the positive impact that young people can have on their communities. In such a society, young people have a powerful voice and know how to effectively use it to create change in their lives and communities.

Fabiola Oro and Oriel Diaz

By the time I made it up we had arrived to the heart of the program. Oriel diaz and Fabiola Oro were revisiting the 2012 year in photos. They shed light on each of OYE’s youth led projects by presenting photos of individuals and groups from Art la Calle, Jovenes Revista, OYE Ritmo (Radio), Copa OYE (Sports), and our capacity building classes. The presentation always gets me, and many others, a little nostalgic for the good times we have shared together. Many family members get excited as they see what their son or daughter will be involved in.  The MCs of the event, Yarli Yanez and Gerald Velasquez, prepared a short presentation explaining the details and goals for OYE’s art, magazine, and radio project in 2013.

MCs Yarli Yanez and Gerald Velasquez
The MCs transitioned from history and facts about OYE to the presentation of OYE’s 2013 scholars. As their names were called each new or old scholar made his or her way to the ceremonial table to receive a certficate presented by a member of the “table of honor.” Presenting the certificates were Director Marisol Fuentes, Program Coordinator Dunia Perdomo, guest of honor Walter Molinari, and Vice-President of the Board of Directors Eduardo Umanzor. From my prospective, it was during this traditionally tedious affair that OYE really identified itself.

When I attend such ceremonies I fear the momento that we indivudally call each beneficiary  to come to the front of the room, shake a hand, receive a diploma, and take a picture-it takes forever! However, this time is was different. That is to say, it was fun! As names were called people cheered and teased and teased back. There bows and cat calls, there were hugs and chuckles, and it was the best awards ceremony I have had the pleasure of participating in. My only issue was that it was far too short – if only we had to budget to support 100 scholars and not just 70! QUE LASTIMA!

A huge thank you goes out to all of you who reached out and donated to OYE over the Holiday Season. The donations at the end of one year are very strong indicators and set the pace for the next. Your support is what allows us to introduce new at-risk youth into the OYE family and make a positive impact in El Progreso, Honduras. Now if you didn’t donate remember its never to late!

Learn about Donating

$50 is a University Scholarship
$30 is a High School Scholarship
$25 Sponsors a capacity building class of Sexual Education
$1 Because no amount is too small
$0 is too small! You can do better than that!

Friday, January 4, 2013

KM2 VS OYE Soccer Match of the Century

Step right up and place your bets!

Today at 3 pm OYE Honduras takes on KM2 Solutions at the San Jose fields.

This might just be the game of the century! OYE's wild young team will be bringing its quick and physical game to the older KM2 team.

Game plan:
Surprise the older office employees with dazzling speed and youthful vigor launching a relentless onslaught of offensive attacks and defensive counter attacks. OYE will run the opponents into the ground banking on the fact that they are from a larger cooler city and will not be accustomed to playing such a fast physical game under the blazing sun and humidity of El Progreso.

We can't forget that with age comes wisdom and experience. This means all those cumulative years stacked on to KM2's team count for something. If they play well as a team, control the pace, and measure their energy we just might have a big problem.

A big thank you to KM2 and Walter for organizing and sponsoring this event! I hope you don't beat you too badly!

After reading this article cast your vote! Let us know who will win and what the score will be after our hour long game.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

En Memoria: Juan Pablo Otero

El 11 de diciembre del 2012, Juan Pablo Otero de Washington, DC falleció después de una batalla feroz contra el cáncer. Deja a su esposa, la doctora Susan Early Otero y tres hijos; Guillermo Pablo, Luis Francisco y Maria Elisa. Pablo fue uno de los primeros gerentes  latinos en un banco de Washington y era altamente respetado por la comunidad. Pablo fue un favorecedor de la educación  de jóvenes latinos y sirvió en la Junta de la Escuela San Miguel, una escuela secundaria. Empleó técnicas pedagógicas intensivas para la preparación en educación secundaria de inmigrantes latinos. Pablo era un donante y amigo maravilloso y de OYE. Sus dos hijos, Pablo y Lucho, viajaban a El Progreso para ser voluntarios en OYE donde hicieron contribuciones sólidas.

Juan Pablo Otero y su familia

Una de las muchas hermanas de Juan Pablo Otero es María Otero, una patrocinadora de muchos años en OYE; además madre de Justin, David y Ana Marisa Eldridge-Otero. Justin es un co-fundador de OYE; mientras David y Ana Marisa, han sido voluntarios. David dejó varias obras de arte memorables en la oficina de OYE y las calles de El Progreso.

Laura y Lucia Otero, hijas de Francisco (Pancho) Otero de Santa Cruz, Bolivia; quienes pasaron un verano en OYE, son sobrinas de Juan Pablo. Laura y Lucia pintaron el magnífico mural Maya en la sala de reuniones de OYE. Otro sobrino, Gabriel Lemos (hijo de BB Otero y Fernando Lemos) hizo trabajo voluntario con OYE muchas veces.

Toda la familia Otero ha contribuido con OYE, con su tiempo como voluntarios y su apoyo financiero. Dana Vagnoni, esposa de Fernando Otero, es una contadora quien dona su tiempo para manejar y archivar los estados financieros de OYE que se presentan al IRS. 

Lucho, Gabo & Pablo haciendo voluntariado en Honduras

Sin embargo,  la animadora más entusiasta y confiable es la madre de Juan Pablo, María Teresa Otero. “Abuela” como la mayoría la llama en OYE, se reúne semanalmente con un grupo de estudio de la Biblia de la Parroquia Sacramento Bendito en Washington, DC. Cada semana “la Sra. OYE”, como ya le llaman sus amigos, habla sobre OYE y pasa la “canasta de recolección.” Varias veces al año la Abuela recluta personas que hacen contraparte de las donaciones de otros, para aumentar la cantidad que se recauda para OYE. Constantemente está preguntando sobre los becados y sus historias de éxito para poder retroalimentar a su grupo.

OYE extiende sus más profundas condolencias  a la familia Otero por la pérdida de Juan Pablo. Además, OYE expresa su inmensa apreciación a los Otero quienes han sido la clave de su crecimiento.  

The Otero Family