Introduction

Mission: Preparing Young Leaders to Bring Their Nation Out of Poverty

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The Leadership Center is a college level educational program for high school graduates in Honduras.

The goal of the program is to teach students how to become leaders in their community and country. With the help of these new young leaders, Honduras could finally relinquish its title as the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and embark on a bright new future.

Background

Fifty years ago, the Peace Corps began their good work in Honduras, taking an important step in alleviating the poor living conditions and endemic poverty suffered by most of the population.  Despite half a century of hard work, Honduras continues to hold the unfortunate title of the second poorest country in the western hemisphere.

One of the primary reasons for the persistent poverty is an inadequate educational system. It is said that Honduras trails its Central American neighbors in education by 35 to 50 years.

An educated group of ethical leaders is the best and greatest hope for permanently lifting Honduras out of an endless cycle of poverty. While outside aid in many forms can help individual families or serve as a temporary fix, the best long term solution is to educate capable Hondurans to assume leadership roles.

 

The Call to Help

In response to the aforementioned needs, Art For Humanity has used the “grass roots” approach successfully since 2001 assisting countless Honduran families escape poverty.  After ten years of effort, we have concluded that if Honduras is going to move away from being the second poorest country in the western hemisphere, it will require Hondurans leading the way.

The need for Honduran leadership is the genesis of The Leadership Center.

The Leadership Center (TLC) is a college educational program for high school graduates. The goal of TLC is to train new grassroots leaders who will begin businesses providing job opportunities for other Honduras.  Graduates from The Leadership Center can be the next generation of business and political leaders who can guide their country into a brighter future.

The Leadership Center is the first women’s college in Honduras and is a center for teaching ethical leadership. Graduates of TLC will be educated leaders allowing Honduras to emerge as a country known for a strong and diverse economy, promoting peace, education, and health care.

 

A General Description of the College

The Leadership Center is a three-year residential college offering an education equipping students to be in business as entrepreneurs.  The college is modeled after Berea College in Berea, Kentucky, where students unable to afford higher education attend without cost. At Berea College, students work in college-owned cottage industries to pay for their room and board. The Leadership Center functions in a similar way.

Students will study at the Leadership Center for three years. The first six months will be intensive English classes to get the students up-to-speed so that when the first semester begins, the classes can be taught in English. After they finish three years of classroom study and field experience, students will be given the opportunity to serve as interns for one to three months in the United States or other countries. After completing their internships, students will gather back on campus for approximately one month to fine tune their plans for the future. In all, they will spend about three and a half years in our program. Graduates of The Leadership Center will be invited back to the campus for one week, twice a year to continue to evaluate and refine their career path.

 

The Plan

Students are accepted from poor families and attend without cost. Without outside assistance, their chance of a college education is almost non-existent.

The poor, who are the majority of the population, are the future of Honduras. They have lived without hope in the political process so far, but those that attend The Leadership Center will be transformed into well educated, ethical leaders who can bring about needed changes for their country.

Classes began in February 2011 with faculty being volunteers from the United States along with some Honduran volunteers. Eventually, graduates will assume more of the teaching and management roles.  Many Hondurans are currently involved in this mission in formative, supportive and organizational ways.

Students in The Leadership Center are making a difference in their country long before they graduate. While studying, they take what they have learned to other Hondurans.  Groups are already arranging teaching centers in villages throughout the country where students can share the knowledge they have gained on campus. So, even while they are still students, they will also be teachers, consultants and mentors to their fellow countrymen. This will not only multiply and amplify the mission of Leadership Center, but will also give these students practical leadership experience. Our hope is that charities from all over Honduras will invite our students to their villages to share ideas, insight and more with the locals involved in business and development projects.

 

Location

The campus is two hours outside of Tegucigalpa, the capital of Honduras. Because the site is extremely rural and high in the mountains, it has two intrinsic benefits. One, unlike much of Honduras, the area is very safe. Secondly, it has very pleasant weather.

The temperatures range from 50 to 65 degrees at night, and from 65 to 85 during the daytime. Volunteers who enjoy a wilderness atmosphere will find the campus a safe and pleasant place, with a scenic river, waterfalls, and mountain slopes on which to hike, bike, think, write, create and of course grow organic coffee.

For those wanting to volunteer in an urban or suburban situation, this is not the place.

 

Current Needs

Initially, TLC is in need of financial support as well as other basic items such as clothing, toiletries and class supplies.

Once established, TLC expects to be entirely funded by the organic coffee farm on which it is located. Farm income should begin in about 2014 and by about 2020 the farm should be in full production. At that point, the college expects to be totally self-supporting and thus non-dependent on outside funding. Until then, your support is needed and greatly appreciated.

If Honduras is going to make the substantial changes needed to move out of the desperate poverty it now experiences, it will require the active participation of Honduran citizens. Only educated ethical leaders can bring about the systemic changes needed to change the future in positive ways.  Within ten years, the Leadership Center will equip a new generation of Hondurans capable of facilitating change and finally making education and ethical political leadership a priority in Honduras.

The success of these plans is completely dependent upon volunteers and financial support. Please consider making a financial donation.

Support can be made by check or credit card. Please send checks to:

Art For Humanity, 635  S. 25th St. Arlington, VA 22202-2529

To use a credit card click here.

Art For Humanity is an IRS recognized 501c(3) charity and thus donations are eligible as charitable contributions.