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
Oscarito and Oriel, OYE Scholars