March 16, 2012
DAI caps off its 2011 Community Engagement Program with a $10,000 grant to OYE Honduras, a community-based, youth-led organization that develops the leadership and capacity of at-risk Honduran youth.
OYE (Organization for Youth Empowerment) was founded in 2005 by Justin Eldridge-Otero and Ana Luisa Ahern, two young Americans who spent many years volunteering with youth in El Progreso, witnessing firsthand the challenges facing them. As a critical first step, they started a scholarship program to help students who would otherwise be denied an education due to economic barriers. They quickly saw that access to a formal education was just the beginning and developed an integrated leadership curriculum that is now broken up into three programs: Youth Capacity Building and Leadership, Community Engagement, and Institutional Strengthening.
OYE’s mission dovetails with DAI’s goal of capacity building and giving citizens the tools they need to improve their own livelihoods. The selection of OYE for this grant also creates an opportunity for DAI employees working in Honduras for the U.S. Agency for International Development’s ProParque project, to engage with their own local community. The ProParque project focuses on sustainable economic growth, biodiversity conservation, and global climate change mitigation
“All of us at OYE are thrilled and excited about DAI’s generous support of our work in Honduras,” said Ahern, OYE Co-Founder. “This Community Engagement Program grant is a true blessing and will help our programs in Honduras grow and thrive. We are looking forward to what I am sure will be a fruitful and mutually beneficial collaboration.”
“The most impressive aspect of OYE’s work is how involved the program’s graduates become,” said Kristi Ragan, Chair of DAI’s Community Engagement Program and Chief of Party for USAID’s Grand Challenges for Development project. “They stick around and use what they learned to help the organization continue to empower other youths and strengthen their communities.”
The DAI Community Engagement Program’s mission is to support youth and empowerment in the places we work. One of the first recipients of the year-old program was in DAI’s backyard and headquarters home, Washington, D.C. In 2010, we gave $25,000 to the Duke Ellington School of the Arts, a public high school whose rigorous academic standards are embodied in a curriculum including Instrumental Music, Literary Media & Communication, Museum Studies, Theater, Technical Design and Production, Vocal Music, and Visual Arts. Our donation helped offset the school’s operating deficit, secure additional arts training, and support the cost of 25 students in their first-ever international performance in France and Monaco this past summer.
DAI is delighted honor the two winners of this year’s David H. Gunning Award for Community Service. They are Caity Campos, who founded and runs a nonprofit for at-risk youth in South and Central America, and Katie Prowse, who works for an education charity in Zambia. Matt Woodhouse, a trustee and founder of Katapult Kilimanjaro, a U.K. charity that promotes sustainable development in Tanzania, was selected as the winner of an “honorable mention” prize.Read More