47th Honduran Outreach Center opens to support 500 at-risk youth


September 9, 2016

Comayagüela, Honduras — More than 500 children and youth in this Central District city now have a new safe space to access opportunities to learn and grow, thanks to the opening of the Las Ayestas Outreach Center

Funded primarily by a $42,000 grant from the PriceSmart family foundation Price Philanthropies, the Outreach Center will provide programs for young people in this crime-plagued area—including tutoring, sports clubs, life skills and job training.

With additional funding from the Government of Honduras, the Municipality of the Central District and the U.S. Agency for International Development, Las Ayestas is the 47th Outreach Center established in the country through the USAID-funded Alianza Joven Honduras program.

Speaking at the opening, Vice Minister for Security and Prevention Alejandra Hernandez said the Outreach Center methodology is a “very successful prevention initiative,” noting that the government will continue investing in them.

Hernandez said her office is delighted to see the private sector, other partners and the communities so involved.

Click here to read stories and watch videos from the special report “Honduras: Young Lives in the Balance.”

Private sector invests in youth

In his speech at the Outreach Center opening, Robert Price, Chairman of PriceSmart and President of Price Philanthropies, commended the Government of Honduras and communities for their progress reducing violence and expanding opportunitiy for youth. Photo by Emanuel Rodriguez.

For PriceSmart, the Outreach Center is an investment in a violence-free future for a country that has witnessed one of the highest murder rates in the world.

“We believe that these Outreach Centers like this one in Las Ayestas are an important initiative that will provide a safe and enriching environment for young people to become socially-responsible citizens and avoid street violence and gang activity,” said Robert Price, Chairman of the Board of PriceSmart, speaking at the center’s inauguration on Aug. 30.

More than 200 community members, government officials, private sector representatives and others attended the event, including Tegucigalpa Mayor Nasry Asfura, Stewart Turtle, Acting Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy and Father Giuseppe Leo of the San Juan Bosco parish, among others.

The Las Ayestas Outreach Center is the second such center funded by PriceSmart; the first is the10 de Septiembre Outreach Center in the Chamelecón neighborhood of San Pedro Sula.

With it contributions to crime and violence prevention and youth development in the country, PriceSmart joins a growing list of private sector partners of Alianza Joven Honduras, including TIGO and the Lee Foundation Lady among others.

Communities take ownership

Father Giuseppe Leo (above), representative of the Maria Auxiliadora parish, performed a blessing of the Las Ayestas Outreach Center. This previously abandoned infrastructure was renovated with the support of PriceSmart in a record time of six weeks. Photo by Emanuel Rodriguez.

The Las Ayestas Outreach Center will operate in a previously vacant space provided by the Maria Auxiliadora parish, which is part of the Catholic Salesian Order. With support from the Price Philanthropies, the space was renovated in just six weeks. This is the third Outreach Center in the Central District implemented in partnership with the Salesian Order, as part of a broader project effort to involve community- and faith-based organizations.

The Outreach Center’s communal gym that will serve as microenterprise to generate funds for the sustainability of the Center.

Like the 46 Outreach Centers that precede it, Las Ayestas’ activities will be sustained by community volunteers who serve as program coordinators and mentors for at-risk youth. Volunteers in the neighborhood have already proved critical to the renovation of the building leading up to the Outreach Center’s opening.

Along with the continued support from the Government of Honduras, community members in Comayagüela and across the country are taking ownership of their Outreach Centers and, in the process, revitalizing neighborhoods and restoring hope to their youth.

“We congratulate the government and people of Honduras for the remarkable progress they have made in reducing violence and improving the lives of its citizens,” Price said during the launch. “We look forward to continuing our support and other opportunities for future cooperation.

Written by Jillian Slutzker in Washington, D.C., with reporting from Emanuel Rodriguez in Honduras

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