Friday, April 4, 2014

Get Ready! Only four days until Indiegogo Campaign Launch for OYE's Scholarship Program.

As many of you know, OYE initially started out as a small-scale scholarship program to give Honduran youth of El Progreso something that neither their government nor their families could provide: the opportunity to pursue high school and university-level education and break the cycle of poverty in which they lived.

While OYE has expanded its programs in recent years to include capacity-building and leadership workshops and five diverse community engagement projects, our academic scholarship program continues to be a pillar of OYE’s work with at-risk youth in El Progreso. Without this scholarship, many of our remarkable youth leaders would not be able to continue their pursuit of education and would rather be forced to prematurely enter the labor force to provide to the family income.

In the interest of promoting our scholarship program, we are excited to announce the April 8th launch of a campaign (via Indiegogo) to raise $2500 for the scholarships of four of our youth coordinators. Without the initiative and dedication of our youth coordinators, OYE would not be what it is today.

ETA: Our Indiegogo campaign is now live. Click HERE to donate now!

In preparation for this campaign, I asked each of the four featured scholars to provide a short biography – focusing on their education, family and their experience in OYE. Here are the results.

Meet Heyli. Heyli is 18 years-old and in her final year of high school. She lives with her aunt and cousin in El Progreso, while the rest of her family – including her parents – live two hours away in the town of Siguatepeque. After four years in OYE, she has distinguished herself as a leader among her peers and currently serves as co-coordinator for OYE’s newly formalized sports program, Deportes.

To Heyli, OYE is so much more than just a scholarship program. Through her time in OYE, she has gained confidence in herself, cultivated her interpersonal skills, learned and developed new skills, and become more extroverted in many aspects of her life, which has allowed her to feel more at ease in social settings and relate better to her peers and those around her.

In her 18 years, Heyli has experienced many challenges and disappointments, yet she refuses to let these experiences define her and her future. In her words, “Life presents us with many challenges, but if we know how to face and overcome these challenges, they become our accomplishments. Of all my accomplishments, I am most proud of becoming a strong leader, student and person.”
This year, Heyli is on the cusp of accomplishing one of her dreams, graduating from high school with honors and a positive self-image. With your donation, we can provide the economic means to support Heyli’s dream of graduating high school.

Meet Erick. Erick is 19 years-old and currently in his second year at a private technological university in San Pedro Sula where he studies electronic engineering. Hailing from a small nuclear family, he lives with his mother and older brother in El Progreso. After eight years in OYE and participation in a variety of community engagement programs, including the mazagine and design programs, Erick has distinguished himself as co-coordinator of OYE’s sports program, which found its origins in OYE’s annual soccer tournament. Erick lives and breathes fĂștbol, which made his selection as co-coordinator of the newly formalized sports program a clear and natural choice.

Considering OYE has been a significant part of his life since his early adolescence, Erick’s appreciation of and affection towards OYE is undeniable. In his own words: “OYE is a second family to me. It is a place where I share experiences with my peers and learn important skills that serve me in different aspects of my life.” Through his time in OYE, Erick has come to appreciate the value of working with peers with different personalities and interests and overcome his fear of speaking in public and leading his peers. In addition to university and OYE, Erick maintains a part-time job as a teacher at a local school to contribute to the family income, which he considers one of his greatest achievements to date.

Meet Jefry. Jefry is 17 years old and started university this year at the national public university in San Pedro Sula, where he studies mathematics. Jefry lives with his mother and his six siblings, three older and three younger. In his fourth year in OYE and in the art program, Jefry was selected as one of the three youth coordinators of Arte La Calle, specifically coordinating one of OYE’s longest standing and most visible initiatives – murals.

Looking at his paintings and mural work, you would never guess that Jefry was not a “born artist.” Recalling his first months in OYE, Jefry confesses that he was one of the last first-year scholarship students to pick a project. While he ultimately chose the art program, his inclination was based not on any previous experience or penchant for art, but rather because of his preference for the leadership style of a former art coordinator, his predecessor and one of OYE’s finest leaders. During the past four years, Jefry has spent countless hours at OYE before and after classes practicing and honing his artistic skills. This dedication did not go unnoticed as he was selected by his peers and OYE staff as one of OYE’s eight youth coordinators this year.

Jefry humbly acknowledges OYE’s positive impact on his life. He recalls a time not long ago when he was nearly forced to drop out of high school because he simply could not find the money to continue; however, with his OYE scholarship and the support of his faithful friends and peers, Jefry was able to finish high school and is now pursuing a university education.

Meet Claudia. Claudia is 19 years old and currently in her second year at the national public university in San Pedro Sula, where she is pursuing a degree in educational administration. She lives in El Progreso with her parents and two sisters. Like many of her peers, Claudia’s father is employed at a factory and her mother takes care of the home. After four years in OYE as a participant in the art program, Arte La Calle, Claudia has risen to become one of its three youth coordinators, specifically coordinating the production of art pieces to exhibit and sell to promote auto-sustainability of the program.

While OYE’s scholarship program serves as a motivation to continue her studies, Claudia’s experience in OYE transcends this simple fact. Through the various capacity-building workshops OYE offers, her work as receptionist and her community outreach experience in the art program, Claudia has developed her leadership and organizational skills and learned the value of sharing and serving the community around her. A testament to the value of the capacity-building and leadership program, Claudia states: “These workshops have allowed me to expand my knowledge on a variety of topics that are of great importance as we are able to apply so much of what we learn in our daily lives.” Claudia herself perfectly exemplifies this statement. Furthermore, she does not only apply the knowledge and skills she has acquired in her personal life, but she has also truly given the best of herself to OYE, most recently becoming a youth coordinator of Arte La Calle, one of OYE’s most successful and celebrated programs.

In Honduras, only a small percentage of youth have the opportunity to attend university and an even smaller percentage graduate. With your donation, we can provide Claudia with the economic support to continue to pursue her degree in educational administration and become one of a hopefully ever-increasing group of university graduates.

We are calling on YOU – former and current volunteers, staff and committed supporters – to help US give these four individuals the opportunity to continue their pursuit of higher education and create positive change in their lives and communities.

To show your solidarity for OYE’s mission and your support of our youth, we invite you to join us in this campaign. Upon the campaign launch on Tuesday, April 8th, we encourage all of you on Facebook to change your profile picture to our campaign logo (above) and promote the campaign among your friends, family and coworkers. With your help, we are confident we can achieve this goal and provide the hope of another year of education for four of our youth coordinators.

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