Dear friends of OYE, July 2013
As OYE celebrates its 8th anniversary, we are once again reminded that the work we do with the young people of Honduras and their families is both rewarding and challenging. We also fully realize that donors like you are the reason OYE recently celebrated its 8th anniversary.
We’ve come a long way and are now led by the leadership, talent and dedication of young Hondurans like our new executive director, Maria de los Angeles Mejia. Maria, who recently earned graduate degrees in non-profit management and business administration, is poised to take OYE to a whole new level! Welcome Maria!!
From the donor to the classroom: Your commitment to OYE’s work has increased our capacity to reach more youth than ever before. As violence in Honduras continues to escalate, OYE’s impact goes beyond the classroom.
Behind each of the numbers mentioned above are stories of youth and their families succeeding, made possible by you. Stories like that of teenager Amer Perez, who joined OYE in 2009, leveraged his scholarship to take private English lessons, graduated from high school, and is now working part-time at a bilingual international call center to support his single-mother and younger brother; or Gerald Velasquez, a once soft-spoken teen, who today attends college and guides OYE’s city mural program. These are two examples, among many, of the talented and driven OYE teens that given the opportunity overcome enormous obstacles to realize their potential as engaging and empowering youth leaders.
Your donations are having a direct positive impact on the lives of at-risk Honduran youth. YOU are part of the OYE family and we need you to keep going!
Your support and involvement has taken us a long-way, and we ask that you make another generous donation this year. In return we promise to continue doing our best to change the lives of our students.
Maria de Los Angeles Justin Eldridge-Otero Ana Luisa Ahern
Director Founder Founder
The mantra in OYE is that we are about much more than just becas (scholarships). There is no denying that the economic aid helps OYE’s scholars attend school, but the real prize that OYE offers its beneficiaries is the opportunity to grow and learn. OYE picks up where the formal education system falls short, and this means reinforcing and offering tutoring in basic academic materials; capacity building classes to address self-esteem, sexuality, gender roles and bias, reproductive health, mental health, and leadership; and creating unique spaces for youth to express themselves and grow through hands-on experience.
This year OYE is opening its doors to the greater El Progreso community. Opening our doors means that OYE is reaching out to all of El Progreso’s at-risk youth population. You no longer need a scholarship from the institution to participate in art classes, learn how to edit and broadcast your own radio show, or write articles and publish articles in a youth operated magazine. Scholarship students are inviting their friends and family to join them at OYE and share in the life-changing and empowering programs they have developed.
OYE is excited to see our scholars grow as leaders and our programs fill with new participants. The participation of students not receiving scholarships is a testament to the importance and strength of our other programs. Perhaps one day we will go beyond becas entirely and dedicate all our resources to teaching, empowering, and preparing thousands of at-risk youth to be young professionals and leaders.
After a busy month of planning OYE is excited to have set its agenda for the new year, 2013. The annual plan entails many improvements and innovations in OYE’s system of operations.
In 2013, OYE will empower more socially conscious youth with the tools they need to become leaders of positive change in their communities. To improve upon its system of integrated development that involves capacity building classes, financial academic support, and hands on community engagement OYE has examined each individual aspect and made improvements where necessary.
The scholarship program, offering at-risk Honduran youth the resources they need to stay in school, is the heart and soul of OYE. The scholarship program is a hook that drags students and parents to OYE. In 2013 OYE is not only increasing the number of scholarships offered by 20 but improving the quality of academic programs. OYE will refine its reinforcement of formal education and ability to raise the consciousness of Honduran youth in key areas through its book club, and study circles. These aspects of the scholarship program have existed for several years, but this year they will be allocated more resources and take concrete form. Another innovation developed by OYE’s youth coordinators was to provide a space for University Entrance Exam Prep, basically the equivalent of Kaplan Prep for SATs. The students identified the need to create a space for high school students going on to college to meet, practice questions, review test taking techniques, discover their weak areas, and study to prepare for the University Entrance Exam whose score decides the career paths available to students. This is a very positive innovation on behalf of OYE and highlights why it is important to involve beneficiaries in institutional programming.
OYE’s Art, Radio, and Magazine programs are all ready to take great steps in 2013. Thanks to a great year in 2012 OYE is in a position to invest in our projects in a way that we haven’t been able to in years. Each project will be equipped with the materials and resources necessary to achieve a larger impact in the community and become more financially independent. Direct impact is the name of the game in 2013. Each of OYE’s dynamic Communications Programs will be receiving professional capacity building classes throughout the first half of the year. Entering the second half, the students will be hosting workshops and directly involving local at-risk youth from outside the OYE community.
The Art program will host youth workshops to teach a theme or technique and work with local neighborhoods to identify common needs, goals, problems, or themes and then produce a mural with a social impact.
The Radio will be working closely with local organizations to open up air space for community events and progressive youth voices. To do this OYE will train other local youth in recording, editing, and broadcasting.
Finally, the youth magazine “Revista Jovenes” is poised to begin in house production. This is a great opportunity for the youth to own every aspect of magazine production, reduce the cost of publishing, and realize new financial sustainability. The cost savings will be directing into improving the quality of the articles published and the resources available for the youth journalists.
Thanks to your support in 2012 we had a great year and are excited to have another great year in 2013. Please take a minute to browse through our links and think about why you gave to this organization in the past. We work hard to empower at-risk Honduran youth with incredible potential. Thanks to your support we can create the opportunities that every child deserves, opportunities that allow OYE scholars to stay in school and become community leaders, opportunities that prevent at-risk Honduran youth from falling into dangerous lifestyles, and opportunities that improve the whole community by nurturing the conditions to break the cycle of poverty.
If you follow Honduras in the news you are very aware that the country is worse off today than it was 2 years ago. Violence, crime, and gang activity is escalating. San Pedro Sula, just 15 minutes away from OYE, is considered one of the most dangerous cities in the world due to high murder and crime rates. Honduras needs to generate more opportunities for its youth to grow into concerned and active citizens. Honduras needs NGOs, academic support, and growth in its civil society now more than ever. An institution like OYE is the best tool out there for stopping crime, violence, and gangs. More youth need to be involved in community projects, believing and participating in volunteerism and community development should be the trend not the exception. Please, contribute to OYE to invest in the youth of Honduras - lets give them the tools to change their country.
OYE's last three months have been a hectic combination of art, multi-media, and preparation for the future. Thanks to the support of foundations like Global Giving and Seattle International OYE has been able to aggressively pursue project and program growth. Financial stability in the form of foundation support and new donors, Inter-American Foundation and KM2 Solutions, have laid the foundation for OYE to increase its number of scholarships and the scope of its programs.
August, September, and October have been keystone months in the preparation for OYE's future. Youth coordinators, managing their projects, have been more involved than ever in the process of planning OYE's growth. Each youth-led project coordinator has developed plans to increase the financial autonomy of their projects and leverage donations to have a greater impact on the community of at-rick Honduran youth. For OYE's magazine program, youth coordinator, Yari Yanez, is excited to announce the acquisition of in-house printing technology that will significantly decrease the margin cost of publishing. Gerald Velasquez, OYE's art coordinator, is planning an exhibition of local art to sell youth produced art and raise funds to re-invest in his program. OYE's Radio group, also led by Yarli Yanez, will be starting a variety of income generating initiatives from professional recording services to hosting concerts.
Beyond planning for the transition into self-sufficiency OYE's youth-led projects intend to produce a greater impact in El Progreso's at-risk youth community in the coming year. The youth participating in OYE's projects will be taking their training and skills on the road to share with the community at large. This means that OYE's are students will be supply local schools with art supplies and classes designed to empower other youth and present alternatives to drugs and crime. Art has proven to be a powerful therapeutic tool reaching out and giving voice to at-risk youth. Likewise, OYE's Radio program will be offering its training and service to local youth populations. After capacitating new community members, OYE will seek to incorporate other youth NGOs and student groups into its radio programing. This will serve as an interesting way to incorporate diversity into the station and broad the listening audience.
Suyapa Reyes, one of OYE's founding scholars, recently graduated from La Universidad Autonoma de Honduras. With her bachelors degree in International Relations Suyapa is a true story of success and the ability to overcome diversity. Since Suyapa joined OYE in 2005, she has been a consistent source of happiness and leadership for OYE's other youth. Depsite personal obstacles Suyapa has never stopped marching forward and has always been available for others to turn to in their times of need. OYE is proud to have helped such a talented young lady achieve her dream of high education and economic intedependence, as Suyapa is now happily employed.
OYE's art program was asked to paint two very distinct murals in October. One was sponsored by KM2 Solutions, a call center in San Pedro Sula, and the other was done in conjunction with El Progreso's Health Center. Very different in nature, both murals offered unique challenges and learning opportunities for OYE art students. At KM2 OYE scholar-artist Gerald and Oscar collaborated with a local artist to blend more than three different techniques into one interesting and diverse mural. Although confined to a small area the mural catches the eye and has a big impact.
OYE's mural at the Health Center is more than expansive. It expands approximately 100 feet of bare wall, but it also presents an expanse of images reflecting different health themes. The final project gives new life and draws new attention to what was once an inconspicious eye-soar unrecognizable as a health center.
In conclusion, the last 3 months have been full of growth. Personal growth has been a key aspect in our youth empowerment programs, and the added responsiblity of planning for future expansion has catalyzed our youth leaders personal growth. finally, we are excited to grow the number of OYE's beneficiaries as we incorporate more local at-risk youth.
Racers sweating it out under the San Pedro Sula sun, fulfilling a life dream of running a marathon. Hundreds of fans cheering on athletes, watching teams get eliminated and celebrating the victors. Wise words from a nutritionist on how to eat and live in a healthy manner. Youth practicing yoga and selling artwork to locals for the first time in San Pedro Sula.
The past three months have been ones full of incredible initiatives in athletics, capacity building, art, and health, each of which has developed the knowledge and capacities of OYE’s 50+ scholars. Through OYE’s annual sports tournament, COPA OYE, and its participation in the San Pedro Sula Marathon, OYE has fulfilled its goal of promoting youth involvement in activities that keep them on a positive life path. These initiatives have not only helped youth establish goals, but they have also built self-esteem and provided youth with important life skills. Financially, the San Pedro Sula Marathon helped OYE raise over $3,000 in check and online donations alone – an amount that can have a true impact for a small non-government organization. And thanks to a partnership with WeYoga Center, OYE’s young artists have learned that their artwork is worth selling.
In other great news, the 10-minute OYE documentary, Cipotas Empoderadas (Empowered Girls), has recently been released. It features the stories of four young women whose lives were tranformed by OYE scholarships.
In the coming months OYE will continue to foster students’ leadership development and skills in the arts, communications, and sports. It will soon begin educating 50 youth in El Progreso to learn how to use Adobe’s photo-editing and video-editing tools, and it will be hosting a regional conference to unite youth leaders from Central America. It is an exciting time to be a part of OYE. As always, we thank you for your continued support and invite you to become part of the change.
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