Cindy Smith, founder of the scholarship program, shares her musings from one of her recent semi-annual trips to check in with scholarship students and their families:
While Brian McDonough works with the students outside on the skits they are going to do, I talk with the parents. Diana quietly translates into my ear in a constant stream, every now and then asking the parent who is speaking to stop for a minute so she can catch up with what they are saying. A mother, whose son is in the high school program, has a daughter that will be graduating from primary school next year. She asks if her daughter will be getting a scholarship so she can continue her education, 7-12th grade. The girl sits in front of her mother, both intensely looking at me. The room is silent, no shuffling, no babies or young children making noise.
And it gives me pause… I desperately want to promise that we will continue this mission, as we have for the last 15 plus years. I point out Isabel, from Lainez, who was a young mother when she went to high school with the support of our scholarship program. After high school she married, had another child and went to nursing school. Her oldest son has now graduated through the scholarship program, and her youngest son is in the scholarship program. She is an encouraging example of how Honduras Good Works has been consistent in our support of education through the years. We profoundly believe that the best way to help the people in the area where we work is to help young people go to high school. Research shows that if a young woman gets a high school education, her children are more likely to also.
And yet, we know we need more volunteers to continue this immensely important work: we need donations to provide the scholarships, AND we need volunteers to attend the scholarship trips to engage with the students and their families, and to let them know we truly will be there to continue the promise. I pray that you will consider joining with us.
Besides meeting with students and their families, the scholarship trips allow us to meet with leaders in the communities. Recently we visited 2 very special men, Santos and Hector. How these gentlemen have changed over the years! Santos tells us about the work he does with our Vitamin project, supervising the dispensing of vitamins and parasite medication to about 2000 elementary school students in the region. I sit and listen to him, not understanding everything, but hearing the earnestness in his voice, the passion he has for the work he does as he describes the record keeping, the travel involved. And Hector, a leader in the village of Chaguite, who is responsible for keeping track of the scholarship students. He provides support for the families, makes sure the rules are followed, and ensures that the students are doing what they need to do to complete their schoolwork and participate in the village activities. Their pride in their work is evident.
I am so grateful for the opportunity to work alongside such people to promote the health and education of the Hondurans who have become like family to me.