Our History

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OYE was founded in 2005 by Ana Luisa Ahern, Jessica Mockrin and Justin Eldridge Otero, inspired by a vision of society where young people have a powerful voice, knowledge and tools to inspire change in their lives and communities. From the beginning, our founders recognized that OYE's sustainability and success would depend on the development of strong and capable local leadership.


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After living several years of their childhoods in Honduras and volunteering during the summers throughout their adolescent years with children and young people in El Progreso, Ana Luisa and Justin of Washington, D.C. witnessed the challenges facing young people in Honduras. Upon graduating from college and joined by Jessica Mockrin, they returned to Honduras in 2005 to start a scholarship program to help five young women go to college.

The following year, they were selected as YouthActionNet Fellows of the International Youth Foundation. Recognizing that access to formal education was just the beginning, they designed an integral program to engage young people outside the classroom, creating spaces to promote leadership and learning and take action to build a better future in and for their country.

In line with our founders' belief in youth and community-led development, more than half of OYE's staff are scholarship graduates and program alumni.


What We Do


What started in 2005 as a scholarship program for six young women to access higher education has evolved into the thriving youth empowerment organization we are today.


We create opportunities for young people to empower themselves and step into their potential. We provide multi-year scholarships for promising disadvantaged students to graduate from high school and pursue higher eucation, support youth and family-led entrepreneurial ventures, faciliate comprehensive sex education and mental health support, and build young people's leadership capacity through youth-led workshops and programs in the arts and sports.




Where We Work


In the heart of Central America, Honduras is rich in natural beauty, with expansive green highlands, picturesque colonial towns and crystalline Caribbean beaches.

Honduras, meaning "great depths" in Spanish, is also the most unequal and one of the most impoverished countries in Latin America, where 65% of people live in poverty and 42% in extreme poverty. In 2009, Honduras suffered a political crisis that further deepened inequality and violence.

Since then, pervasive corruption, political and social crisespaired with 2020's coronavirus pandemic and hurricanes Eta and Iotahave devastated people and communities across the country. These crises disproportionately impact people living in poverty - especially children, young people, women and other marginalized groups.


68%


of young people from ages 15 to 17 are not enrolled in high school (grades 10+). They are either not in school or enrolled at a lower level. Once a young person drops out of school, they are unlikely to return.


1 in 4


girls and young women from ages 15 to 19 have been pregnant at least once. Girls who are out of school are much more likely to marry and have children early.


72%


of Honduran workers are underemployed. They often work long hours and earn less than minimum wage.






Our Team


Meet the incredible staff and young people who bring our organization to life! We are so proud to share that more than half of the members of our permanent staff are scholarship graduates and program alumni. They are distinguished here with a next to their name.


Staff


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RocíoMendoza

Executive Director


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AmandaHall

Development + Partnerships Coordinator


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DuniaPerdomo

Projects Coordinator


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Diana Ruíz

Scholarships and Counseling Coordinator


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FernandoFernández

Entrepreneurship Coordinator + Manager of Social Enterprise


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HeidiReyes

Programs Coordinator


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JeslyMejía

Accountant


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LidisMadrigales

Administrator


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AngelRodriguez

Psychologist


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AndersonChávez

Communications Coordinator


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TrinidadCastillo

Special Collaborator



Youth Leadership Team


As a youth-driven organization, youth leadership is an essential part of our organizational DNA. As such, we are intentional about creating opportunities for young people to assume formal leadership positions across all programs and projects.


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JuniorAcosta

Youth Leader, Projects Assistant


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SoanyCenteno

Youth Leader, Art


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LeylaNuñez

Youth Leader, Communications


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CarlosBustillo

Youth Leader, Sports


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KeyrinHernández

Youth Leader, Girls Leading Change




Social Enterprise Team


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JuniorRodríguez

Lead Graphic Designer





Our Board of Directors


Ruth Varela

President


Barbara Myers

Vice President


Trish Ahern

Treasurer


dacia ramírez

Secretary


Keyla canales

Member + Legal Counsel


Suyapa Ayestas

Member


justin eldridge otero

Member + Co-Founder


amilcar chinchilla

Representante Legal



Our Partners + Allies


  • Inter-American Foundation Logo
  • Global Fund for Children Logo
  • PriceSmart Foundation Logo
  • Tinker Foundation Logo
  • Focus Central America Foundation Logo
  • Summit Foundation Logo
  • Together Women Rise Logo
  • Rumbo Logo
  • Inter-American Foundation Logo
  • Global Fund for Children Logo
  • PriceSmart Foundation Logo
  • Tinker Foundation Logo
  • MeWe International Logo
  • GENDES Logo
  • MenEngage Alliance Logo
  • Argosy Foundation Logo
  • University of Wisconsin Oshkosh Logo
  • American University Logo
  • El Progreso Chamber of Commerce Logo
  • Shared Studios Logo
  • MeWe International Logo
  • GENDES Logo
  • MenEngage Alliance Logo
  • Argosy Foundation Logo

And every single one of our donors, volunteers and supporters who generously give their time, voices and resources - and without whom none of this would be possible. We can't thank them – or you – enough!