América Ferrera (who plays Betty Suarez on “Ugly Betty”) and Alexis Bledel (who plays Rory Gilmore on the “Gilmore Girls”) visited an Alianza Joven Regional Honduras Outreach Center this past Thursday. The two actresses visited the Nueva Suyapa Outreach Center in a area of Honduras’s capital Tegucigalpa overwhelmed by gang violence. Young people who grow up there have few opportunities and are often stigmatized by the very name of their barrio. The celebrities were accompanied by Mr. Kurt Pope, Deputy Mission Director and other USAID officers. The two came to Honduras at the invitation of rock star Bono’s ONE Campaign to visit communities as far away as La Ceiba to learn about and support efforts to address issues affecting women and youth. This was the only USAID-funded Violence Prevention initiative that the ONE Campaign team visited. The well-known television stars spoke with the Coordinator of the Center, Mario, who is a rehabilitated drug user who sympathized with gangs and is now a role model for kids. At the Center, they also talked with a group of kids who are part of the Desafío de Soñar Mi Vida (Challenge of Dreaming My Life) workshop as well with leaders of the Youth Movement Against Violence.
América Ferrera was particularly impressed in the advocacy work the Movement does, specifically the fact that they even developed a TV program without formal training and their participation in the broader regional Central American Movement Against Violence. Afterwards, they played soccer with the kids on the rooftop of the Outreach Center. Honduran kids are very good soccer players and here they call a “pick up” soccer game a “potra.” Everyone had a good time and all the boys and girls wanted to take a picture to remember the visit. América Ferrera was born in the US but both of her parents are originally from the city of La Esperanza in North Honduras.
Alianza Joven Regional Honduras is supported by USAID through Creative Associates International. The Regional Youth Alliance’s mission is to empower youth, communities, municipalities, and governments to confront the challenges of violence and implement the positive changes that they seek through the establishment of public-private partnerships, and the active participation of civil society.