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Justin E.

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Review for Organization for Youth Empowerment, Washington, DC, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

The Organization for Youth Empowerment (OYE) is a youth-led organization located in El Progreso, Honduras which works to create a new generation of leaders.

Founded in 2005, OYE was built on the belief that if presented with the necessary tools and training, youth hold the potential to transform their society. In a region where the talents and aspirations of youth are ignored by communities and governments alike, OYE's vision is to infuse youth with the training and experience necessary to BE the change in their communities. Built on the approach of youth leading youth, OYE works to create a society where young people have a voice and become the primary actors in determining their futures. By involving youth in every step of OYE's youth development programs (magazine, radio, sports, art) young people become empowered by assuming leadership roles at a relatively young age. The results have been astounding as youth, who would otherwise be considered marginalized, are leading community wide efforts to address everything from environmental protection to advocating for the importance of education among their peers. It is through these efforts that OYE helps youth become active, responsible leaders who are committed to inspiring positive change for themselves and their country.

OYE's core value has always revolved around education, which it supports by providing academic scholarships (high school and college) to promising students who would otherwise be denied an education and most likely be forced into some sort of child labor in efforts to help support their families. The tools students gain from their experiences in OYE's integrated youth leadership training programs are imeasurable and go far beyond what is provided by a formal education.

Having been fortunate enough to work with OYE over the past six years, it has been a humbling experience to watch timid and passive youth blossom into young people who believe in themselves and believe in the change they can bring to their country. OYE knows that change must come from within. The future is now in Honduras and OYE's youth leaders are seizing the day. As an OYE youth group slogan reads, "Mi Voz es Poder."
My Voice Is Power. Now, more than ever before, Honduran youth are speaking up and leading the way.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

OYE has always used sports and the arts as a tool to teach life skills and leadership to youth. During OYE's early years of youth outreach, we sponsored a girls youth group (Las Panchas) and helped them create their own soccer team. We held local fundraisers and led workshops teaching them about life skills, teamwork, leadership and self-confidence. Before long, those young women became a force within their communities, leading their peers by example and helping guide similar OYE youth outreach programs.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Increase fundraising opportunities and awareness of our work in Honduras. OYE's model of youth leadership training and scholarship programs can easily be expanded throughout the country and Central America, however limitations on resources and funds pose a serious obstacle.

Role:  Board Member & Co-founder and current Board Member.