My Voice is Power: Shaping Honduran Youth Leaders

 
$33,686
$16,314
Raised
Remaining
COPA OYE kids huddling
COPA OYE kids huddling

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.

RACE 4 OYE in San Pedro Sula
RACE 4 OYE in San Pedro Sula
OYE
OYE's art program in action
Rosa, OYE scholar, using a donated computer
Rosa, OYE scholar, using a donated computer
Imagine Your Future - OYE
Imagine Your Future - OYE's newest mural

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Attachments:
OYE
OYE's Social Media Project

"Before OYE I considered myself to be “at-risk” because I felt like I was nothing. I went to high school with the hope of graduating, of getting a degree, maybe even leaving the country since there is so little opportunity in Honduras. Ever since I’ve been in OYE, I’ve had more desire to stay and help my family." -Sandra Fiallos, 19, OYE Scholar


Sandra's story, featured on OYE's Social Media Project, is one of transformation. As someone who entered the Organization for Youth Empowerment (OYE) with few tools at her disposal, a lack of self-confidence, and the burden of nearly having to drop out of school to help support her family, she found a way through OYE to carry on with her education. Not only that, but Sandra - a star of OYE's radio program - has been able to develop critical skills that will assist her throughout life.

OYE works with nearly 60 scholars like Sandra on a daily basis who go on to impact their family members and communities in El Progreso, Yoro, Honduras in a positive way. From capacity building, to leadership training, to community art projects, to environmental campaigns, to bi-monthly youth magazines, to an annual sports tournament, and to the online radio show, OYE scholars are working constantly to engage a community of young people, many of whom are drawn far too often to the negative life path involving gangs, violence, and/or drugs.

While Honduras remains one of the most dangerous places in the world with its homicide rate of 82 per 100,000 people (in comparison to New York's 7 per 100,000 people), OYE seeks to create positive change from the bottom up through youth leadership. OYE's work is only made possible through the generosity of people and institutions who support OYE's cause. This year, OYE has been lucky to partner with the Seattle International Foundation (SIF), which has awarded OYE with a grant of $25,000. Additionally, SIF named OYE to be the host organization of a Central American conference on youth empowerment, establishing OYE as a leading actor not just in Honduras but in the region. Further, OYE has won a grant from TakingITGlobal’s Adobe Youth Voices initiative to promote communications and skills development, which will begin in June 2012.

OYE was delighted to welcome a volunteer group from Columbia University that helped paint OYE’s new youth art gallery space. OYE also hosted several incredible independent volunteers, including filmmaker Richard Lakin, who launched OYE’s Social Media Project. Two social work interns from Mary Baldwin College assisted with OYE’s capacity building program, which trains youth on a weekly basis. The students also engaged in an educational assessment initiative in El Progreso, documenting the conditions of the city's poorest schools for international organizations that are interested in developing the Honduran education sector. Another student, an OYE scholar who studies at UNITEC in Honduras, completed her university internship at OYE. Further, OYE's programs in art, radio, sports, and journalism are about to launch following the intensive, 4-month capacity building sessions. Youth are ready and eager to apply the skills they have learned to their personal and group projects.

OYE is on fire…but as always we rely on the generosity of others to keep our flame alive. OYE uses each fortuitous opportunity that comes its way to promote the free expression of socially conscious youth who will emerge as the agents of positive change in a country in need of transformation. We, along with the youth we work with, believe that we can change the trends in educational dropout rates, violence, and poverty one educated student and one impacted community at a time. Thank you for your continued interest in our mission, as you are what helps keep the OYE spirit burning.
OYE Kids in April 2012
OYE Kids in April 2012
Oscarito and Oriel, OYE Scholars
Oscarito and Oriel, OYE Scholars

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OYE kids in February 2012
OYE kids in February 2012

Dear OYE Supporter:

After a month of vacation in January, OYE has begun a new chapter in its effort to keep promising Honduran youth in school despite the nation’s high dropout rates and low education levels. After bidding farewell to several former students who have graduated from school or entered the Honduran work force, OYE has offered 55 scholarships to promising youth, welcoming three new members to the OYE family.

OYE’s programs have undergone a few changes. Arte La Calle, OYE’s public arts initiative, has been busier than ever, already carrying out two large mural projects in El Progreso, one at a school and another at a youth center for former street children. OYE el Ritmo and Revista Jóvenes, the radio program and youth magazine, have merged into a single communications program under the leadership of one youth leader. The COPA OYE sports tournament is hard at work preparing for this year’s soccer and volleyball competitions, which will begin in April. OYE has also formed a youth-led fundraising team that will be carrying out local fundraising activities each month to help support OYE and raise awareness within Honduras.

The situation in Honduras remains uneasy. Widespread poverty and unemployment, along with significant street gang and drug trafficking activity, have resulted in extremely high crime rates. In January 2012, the Peace Corps pulled out all of its volunteers from Honduras due to the country’s security situation. But OYE has stayed put to carry out its mission of empowering educated, informed, and talented youth who are the present and future of Honduras. OYE’s work would not be possible without the generosity of its supporters, and we thank each and every one of you for continuing to keep Honduras’s youth in your minds and hearts.

Arte La Calle mural project in Pronino, Feb. 2012
Arte La Calle mural project in Pronino, Feb. 2012
Arte la Calle mural project in local school, 2012
Arte la Calle mural project in local school, 2012
Capacity building course on self-esteem, 2012
Capacity building course on self-esteem, 2012

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Gerald Velasquez, Honduran artist
Gerald Velasquez, Honduran artist

Dear OYE Supporters:

Looking back on 2011, OYE has accomplished a lot. From a massive COPA OYE sports tournament that involved over 1,500 youth, to environmental projects in El Progreso and Cayos Cochinos, to Arte La Calle’s the creation of new Estilo OYE bracelets, to capacity building classes, and to scholarships that enable 91 OYE youth to access local secondary and university education – just to name a few achievements – OYE has made a significant and positive impact on the youth in El Progreso.

Madga Reyes, a recent University graduate who has spent four years as an OYE scholar, can attest to the positive change that OYE creates on a daily basis. Magda has recently graduated Suma Cum Laude from the National Autonomous University of Honduras with a degree in pedagogy. Not only that, but she was the valedictorian of her class.

“OYE was the critical piece that enabled me to complete my education and receive my degree in teaching and educational sciences," Magda says. "I would like to thank OYE from the bottom of my hear for the help you have provided me, raising my self-esteen day after day. My thanks to all of you will never end, and I hope that you continue proving to youth that they are the present of our country. You helped me discover the potential that I have as a leader; keep doing all you can to continue showing that to the youth of our country and, above all, our city."

Despite OYE's successes, the reality that the youth of Honduras find themselves in remains grim. Honduran youth are still dropping out of school by the tens of thousands. Unemployment levels combined with a lack of education, disintegrated families, frightened and distrustful communities, and a lack of recreation opportunities, among other variables, continue to draw too many youth to a more destructive life path that includes violence, drugs, and criminal involvement.

The obstacles these youth must overcome on a daily basis are immense. Fortunately, at OYE youth are committed to working towards making their country a better place. Change from within is never easy; if it were it would already be done. Real change – change you can touch and feel – happens only when you begin your journey with an open mind, unite with your peers, and strive to help one another grow. This is what we do at OYE. We support each other’s dreams, we push our friends to be better and know that they are there to do the same in return.

It is with wide and hopeful eyes that OYE’s youth are looking forward to 2012. Thank you for your continued support of OYE and for being a part of this monumental change.

The OYE Family
The OYE Family
Arte La Calle at Work
Arte La Calle at Work
Justin Otero representing OYE at the UN
Justin Otero representing OYE at the UN

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Attachments:

Now nearly 9 months into their 2011 scholarship, OYE youth scholars are having a larger impact on their community than ever. In the past three months alone, OYE’s scholars have carried out a massive, citywide sports tournament that impacted over 1,500 youth, local fundraising initiatives, writing and designing the forthcoming edition of Revista Jóvenes youth magazine, and mural paintings.

The work of OYE youth does not stop there. Over the past three month, OYE scholars have worked closely with several international volunteers, who have offered a series of interesting and useful capacity building classes that have provided OYE scholars with new tools such as survival skills, yoga, English, and creative writing that they can utilize in and outside of the academic setting.

OYE youth are more committed than ever to taking control of their lives, becoming leaders, and being change-makers in their communities. We invite you to take a look at what the young leaders behind this inspiring youth organization have been up to recently.

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Project Leader

Amanda Hall

Development Coordinator
Washington, DC United States

Where is this project located?

Map of My Voice is Power: Shaping Honduran Youth Leaders