|Youths and mentors in an Impact group play
a group-building game.
|Youth involved in the Vocational Training program learn to fix motorcycles.
impoverished urban neighborhoods in Honduras safer is a major priority
for AJS. The Peace
& Justice and Rescate Projects, which help poor victims of
violent crime achieve justice through Honduras' law-enforcement system,
is one successful and important aspect of that work. But equally
important is our work with at-risk youth. “We can make
a neighborhood safer and healthier for a certain amount of time by
prosecuting people who are robbing, killing, or raping others. But
children and young people in these neighborhoods will become violent as
they get older unless they are given more opportunities to grow and
contribute positively to the community,” says Peace & Justice
To this end, AJS supports work with at-risk
youths in three of the poorest and most violent neighborhoods in
Tegucigalpa. Staff and volunteers from the Gideon Project have played a
key role in AJS's youth-empowerment projects.
Many organizations working in Honduras claim to work with "at-risk"
youth. But few use as a rigorous a definition as AJS. In order to
participate in AJS's programs, youths must not only live in poor
neighborhoods--they must be neither working nor enrolled in school, a
situation which truly puts them at high risk of filling up their time
with substance abuse and gang activities.
supports eight youth groups, comprising over 120 at-risk youths, that
use the Impact methodology, a system pioneered by the New Horizons Foundation in
Romania that uses service learning, group-building games, and
stories to empower young people to become leaders in the transformation
and improvement of their communities. Check out this gallery of photos from Impact Group meetings and this article and photo gallery from a recent soccer tournament organized by AJS Impact clubs.
Through a project
co-sponsored by the United Nations, in 2009 Gideon Project staff helped
enroll 65 youths from poor neighborhoods in courses in auto-painting,
auto-mechanics, commercial cooking and baking, and more, offered by a
government-run vocational training school, INFOP. Despite the youths'
background--previously they had neither been studying nor working--99%
graduated from the course last November. Several have already found
employment using their new skills, and the Tegucigalpa city government
has pledged to find jobs for the rest. The Gideon Project has helped
enroll a new group of youths in these classes for 2010, and expects
similarly positive results! Check out this gallery of photos and interviews with vocational training course graduates.
to support AJS's Youth Empowerment programs
to AJS Projects Page