By Susie Ma
Rotary News -- 2 January 2013
Rotarians from seven clubs in the Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa joined together to fund two outreach centers for young people in some of the poorest neighborhoods in the city.
The centers are thriving because of startup funding from Rotary clubs and additional support from Regional Youth Alliance, a project of USAID, and the nonprofit Save the Children.
They opened in 2009 in Buenas Nuevas and Villafranca, which have a combined population of 22,000. Rotarians chose these locations because they are some of the poorest areas in the city.
"These two neighborhoods are high-risk, where gangs and drug organizations work," says Rotarian Guillermo Enrique Valle, who coordinated the project for the Rotary clubs of Tegucigalpa and the Rotary Action Group for Population Growth and Sustainable Development. "For young people, instead of going to school or learning vocational training, they are recruited into gangs and drugs -- it's a vicious cycle which is hard to leave."
Save the Children operates the centers, which are open to children and young adults ages 10 to 29. They aim to prevent violence and provide a safe atmosphere for youth to do their homework, play sports, and learn a skill. Tutoring and vocational training range from carpentry to electrical services to computer maintenance.
"A lot of them are already out of school; they have been left behind," says Valle, past president of the Rotary Club of Tegucigalpa. "The idea is to help them out with jobs before they become delinquents and give them a possibility of a future."
Rotarians chose Save the Children to run the centers, which have been so successful that Save the Children has opened two additional centers on its own.
Valle says Honduran Rotarians plan to support more centers. "The idea is to have one per club, and we have 29 clubs in Honduras," he says.
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