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Community Engagement & Service

Creative Impact: Youth Empowerment in Honduras

Honduras Alt Break 2016-2017

The Program:

OYE's (our community partner) purpose is to provide opportunities for disadvantaged youth “to break the cycle of poverty and develop into young leaders who inspire positive change in their homes, schools and communities.” In his Education for All Global Monitoring Report for the UN, Lucio Severo explains that access to and quality of education is “strongly influenced by social and economic stratification.” Our program hopes to minimize that stratification by providing youth with leadership skills and safe, beautiful communities in which to thrive. The theory behind empowering youth through communal artwork, specifically mural painting, is rooted in two parts. First, youth who participate in communal art projects build relationships through collaboration. They get to know their neighbors and foster a network of physical and emotional support. Moreover, the end product of the project is the creation of a meaningful place to work and live.  

But there is some controversy surrounding this strategy in Latin American communities plagued by violence. According to a World Bank sustainable development working paper, “because gang members are linked to communities in other ways than through the gang, it is not enough to attempt to organize gang-affected communities.” The complete erosion of trust in some communities is a massive hurdle that cannot be surmounted by mural painting alone, but it may be a tool to at least begin reparations. Second, communal artwork builds self-esteem through accomplishment. Young people are afforded leadership opportunities, a sense of project ownership via decision-making, and are held accountable for the choices they make over the course of the art project. In fact, the same World Bank working paper that criticized the efficacy of community-building notes that programs that focus on providing opportunities to at-risk youth “are probably the most effective type of youth gang intervention strategy,” and such programs succeeded in parts of El Salvador and Nicaragua. In his 2012 article, “Painting Material Culture,” Michael Mosher explains that “A community mural is democratic politics in the best sense of the word, a process of incorporation of many voices, addressing multiple agendas and needs so everyone benefits.” After completing the project, youth should feel proud of the place they live and the people that surround them.

Engagement Itinerary:

Saturday, March 11, 2017
Airport pick-up
Settle in, rest and lunch at hotel
Visit OYE; tour of offices; meet staff and pick-up soccer game with "Deportes en Acción" (Sports Program)
Dinner at hotel

Sunday, March 12, 2017
Breakfast at hotel
Dynamics with OYE scholars; inventory/organization of donations; preparation of materials
Start work on community service projects
Panels held by local educators. Open debate and discussion
Pick up soccer game and dinner (Location: Railroad Museum or Proniño Foundation)
Dinner at scholars' house

Monday, March 13, 2017
Breakfast at hotel
National Reality Presentation
Tour of El Progreso
Lunch at OYE
Continue work on community service projects
Dinner at hotel

Tuesday, March 14, 2017
Breakfast at hotel
Tour of High Schools
Shopping for souvenirs in city center
Lunch at OYE
Continue work on community service projects
Dinner at scholars' house

Wednesday, March 15, 2017
Breakfast at hotel
Continue to work on community service projects
Lunch at Nutrition Center
Afternoon in the park with kids from OYE
Pick up soccer game and dinner (Location: Railroad Museum or Proniño Foundation)

Thursday, March 16, 2017
Breakfast at hotel
Cultural excursion to OYE scholars' house in the mountains of Mico Quemado (Includes: hiking and lunch)
Continue work on community service projects: Arte La Calle
Dinner at hotel

Friday, March 17, 2017
Breakfast at hotel
Drive to Tela
Visit Lancetilla Botanical Gardens
Lunch in Tela
Afternoon at the beach
Drive back to El Progreso
Final dinner with OYE staff

Saturday, March 18, 2017
Breakfast at hotel; reflections and evaluations
Drive to airport

Quick Facts

Destination: El Progreso, Honduras

Cost: $1895

Dates: March 11-18, 2017

Adviser: TBD

Cost includes: Airfare, lodging, meals, ground transportation, admission fees, guides, travel insurance, and administrative fees

Cost does not include: Visa and immunizations


Meet Your Student Leaders!

Bernadette Mead was born and raised in the Philippines. At age eleven, she immigrated to the United States. She is an undergraduate student at AU’s Kogod School of Business majoring in Business Administration, specializing in Entrepreneurship and Finance with a minor in Economics and a certificate in Community-Based Research. She is also a member of CAS LEAD and holds executive board positions in AU Photo Collective, AASU and serves as a District Representative for the Philippine American Coalition. Her favorite past time is swimming and watching the sunset. Bernadette also supports many causes that benefit underserved children in her community. When she is not busy swimming or spending time at the beach, she can be found playing the piano, eating great food, spending time with children, and creating new adventures.

Ryan Fedasiuk is a foreign policy wonk and political junkie. Originally from Arizona, Ryan is a sophomore in AU's School of International Service and is majoring in International Studies with a minor in Russian and a certificate in Community-Based Research. He is also a researcher in the Olson Scholars Program, where he conducts research on insurgent movements in Russia and Eurasia. In his spare time, Ryan enjoys playing boardgames (especially Chess), learning computer code, and watching Game of Thrones. He is excited to share his passion for community development and is certain this experience in the spring at El Progresso will leave a lasting impact on him and the program participants!