Honduras volunteers crowned Community Heroes
By Evelyn Rupert
May 24, 2017
Five Hondurans – including one associated with Proponte Más – have been named “Community Heroes” by the U.S. Agency for International Development for their volunteer work.
“Each one of the winners is an inspiration for someone to overcome a challenge or achieve a dream,” U.S. Ambassador James Nealon said at an event to celebrate this year’s winners in San Pedro Sula on May 20.
Yadira García, 35, won a Community Hero award in the mentor or educator category for her dedication to youth in her town of Corozal, home to a minority ethnic group in Honduras called the Garifuna.
In addition to tireless volunteer work at her local library, García has been a valuable community asset to the Proponte Más program, a family-based secondary violence prevention project funded by USAID and implemented by Creative Associates International.
Proponte Más is reducing youth’s risk of engaging in gang activity through family counseling in five of Honduras’ most dangerous areas. It is the first project of its kind to work in the Garifuna community, which has not seen the same rates of crime and violence as elsewhere in the country but where youth are increasingly vulnerable to gangs.
García has been running the library in her community in a volunteer capacity for several years, and she has become a mentor and role model for children in her neighborhood. When Proponte Más arrived in the area, she began referring at-risk area youth to the program.
“I want young people in my community to be good men and good women for our community, for our society,” she said.
Miguel Leon, Proponte Más Regional Director for San Pedro Sula, said volunteers are essential to the program’s success.
“The courage and leadership of volunteers like Yadira help create a foundation on which programs like Proponte Más can stand in defiance of conventional wisdom in some of the most difficult contexts anywhere in the world, offering alternatives, and hope to youth, families, and communities that need it most,” he said.
The Community Hero awards were based on several categories – mentor or educator, community leader, peace and diversity, and youth volunteer. Corporate and group volunteers were also awarded, along with a people’s choice selection.
Other winners were:
- People’s Choice: Elmer Espinal
- Youth Volunteer: Kevin Lagos
- Peace and Diversity: Carolina Reyes
- Community Leader: María Cantillano
- Corporate Volunteer: Fundación INTUR
- Group volunteer: Comité Pro-Desarrollo Rivera Hernández
With reporting from Gustavo Ochoa from Honduras