Our outreach program seeks to include provision of lodging, food, personal care, home and community activities. It involves assessing life skills and providing mentoring in skill development, work training, money management and savings for independent living.
Our desire is to create a pilot project that can be replicated at local farms to help support willing youth interested in these options as an alternative to poverty and the danger of life on the streets, often leading to perilous immigration to the United States.
La Esperanza in the Department (state) of Intibuca is a city in Western Honduras, bordering El Salvador. The area economy is agricultural in nature and depends primarily upon growth and sales of potatoes. The terrain is mountainous with high altitude, ideally suited for growing coffee. It is located in the Opalaca Coffee Region, one of six coffee growing regions in Honduras. The Opalaca Coffee Region is characterized as producing specialty coffee with “delicate flavor of tropical fruits”.
Finca Adonay (Adonay farm) is located in the village of La Sorto, within 30 minutes of La Esperanza and grows coffee as do surrounding farms with a growing season between November and February. Jose Adonay left San Pedro Sula as a young teen and came to the United States. He was cared for by The Children’s Center, Inc. but later returned to Honduras where he has developed a bus service in La Esparanza and a coffee farm in nearby La Sorta.
The Children’s Center’s representatives have spent time with the Adonay family at their farm in Honduras. There are labor shortages on farms during coffee harvesting season. Many of the youth leave the area for other opportunities. Farmers must seek temporary laborers, at times from other countries, to harvest their crops. Discussion with the Adonay family is focused on poor employment conditions in San Pedro Sula and Tegucigalpa and the utilization of at-risk youth in the growing and production of coffee. The Adonay family is committed to supporting youth in a pilot transitional program that would provide housing, employment and support creating opportunities for independent living. There is potential for employment on many of the surrounding farms in the proposed project area.
San Pedro Sula is Honduras’ second largest city, located in northwestern Honduras, in the Department of Cortes. It has a metropolitan area population of approximately one and one half million people. It is contiguous to Guatemala and adjacent to the Caribbean coast and Port of Cortes, Honduras’ primary seaport. San Pedro Sula is the industrial center of Honduras. Its economy is strong and based on manufacturing plants that produce a wide variety of products. San Pedro Sula is also plagued with highly concentrated poverty, gangs, drugs, violence, and murder.
It is the gateway or point of exodus for fleeing youth from throughout Honduras. Its large central bus station, located in a bustling shopping center on Highway CA-5, connects Honduras’ capitol, Tegucigalpa, with San Pedro Sula, and provides youth from throughout Honduras with transit to the Department of Copan and bordering Guatemala for escape to the U.S., the primary destination for these youth.
The Children’s Center’s is currently studying the establishment of an outreach center in San Pedro Sula. The purpose of the site will be to provide unaccompanied youth with information and referral, safety planning and screening and assessment of their presenting conditions. These youth encounters will include opportunities for life skills assessments and clinical consultation through videoconferencing with The Children’s Center’s Texas based staff and University interns. Determination may be made for any potential program eligibility and/or referral options. Outreach workers will collaborate with INFA, civic groups, faith-based groups, and community organizations in supporting youth. Plans call for the outreach center to collaborate with The Children’s Center’s outreach programs in Matamoros and Reynosa, Mexico to support youth returning home.
The Children’s Center, Inc. will soon celebrate 145 years servicing a trauma-focused continuum of caring, providing safety, housing, and mentoring for children, youth and families, who are survivors of abandonment, abuse, neglect, and exploitation. It serves the Texas Gulf Coast from Louisiana to Mexico and provides prevention and intervention services through outreach in Mexico and Central America.