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.
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
OYE creates opporunities for young people to empower themselves and transform their lives, families and communities. We envision a society where young people enjoy their rights and contribute to equitable and sustainable development in Honduras.
Since 2005, OYE has awarded multi-year high school and university scholarships to over 430 economic and socially disadvantaged young people to continue their education; and led diverse youth-led, school and community-based initiatives that have empowered thousands of young people, parents, teachers and community leaders in El Progreso and beyond.
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 crises—paired with 2020's coronavirus pandemic and hurricanes Eta and Iota—have devastated people and communities across the country. These crises disproportionately impact people living in poverty - especially children, young people, women and other marginalized groups.
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, (s)he is unlikely to return.
1 in 4
girls and young women from ages 15 to 19 have been pregnant at least once. This reality is closely tied to poverty and lack of education. Girls who are out of school are much more likely to marry and have children early.
increase in returned migrants from Honduras from January to June 2018, as compared to the same six-month period during 2017. This was before the first of several major migrant caravans that originated in Honduras in late 2018 and continue in the present.
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.
Development + Partnerships Coordinator
Diana Ruíz ★
Scholarships and Counseling Coordinator
Entrepreneurship Coordinator + Manager of Social Enterprise
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.
Youth Leader, Monitoring and Evaluation
Youth Leader, Projects Assistant
Youth Leader, Art
Youth Leader, Sports
Youth Leader, Girls Leading Change
Youth Leader, Communications
Social Enterprise Team
Our Board of Directors
Member + Legal Counsel
justin eldridge otero
Member + Co-Founder
Our Partners + Allies
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!