School is out in Honduras until next year. This means it is a very busy time for us at Casita Copán! While it gets hectic, the teaching staff work tirelessly to ensure that the children have days full of activities that will foster their development while also letting them be kids; free playtime is a lot longer this season.
On top of our staff, we have many extra hands that make our work possible. These hands belong to the teenagers who are enrolled in our Youth Program, where they receive a high school scholarship and a stipend in exchange for working as assistants to our education, administrative and maintenance staff.
Doris is one of these practicantes, a word that roughly translates to intern. She comes into our daycare center daily, ready to take on all the challenges the staff and the children may throw at her. She works diligently, patiently, and is always curious about what everyone is doing. Her thirst for knowledge is insatiable!
We recently sat down with her and asked her how she felt about being part of this program. “When I was little, I thought I would never make it to high school” she told us, “I did not think that it was something that my mother would be able to give to me”.
High school in Honduras, while relatively cheap, is completely unaffordable for many people like Doris. While it is technically still a public school, there is a tuition to be paid, and this unfortunately cuts access to many children.
During the school year, she has to wake up at 5:30 to shower, change, and have her coffee. The walk to her high school is about 30 minutes long, and they enter at 7:00 AM. She has to help with her two-year old sister, Abi. The two are inseparable even at Casita! She also has a brother enrolled in the program, 7-year-old Wilson.
Doris told us that her favorite part about being a practicante, is that she gets to have a scholarship to go to high school. She loves to learn! She takes full advantage of the mentorship aspect of the Youth Program:
“If I could continue on studying after high school, I would like to be able to work somewhere like an office. A bank, probably. When I am Emily’s practicante, she takes me to the bank sometimes, and I really like it there. When I help her at her office, I do accounting stuff, like scanning receipts, and numbering them.”
But Doris does much more than that. When she is working with the tutors, she helps the children with their homework, serves their meals, and helps to maintain order during class. The children actually call her tia, or auntie, just like they call all the adults. When we take the children out for photoshoots, she helps us with logistics, lighting and hair and makeup, and is showing interest in video editing. She is a true leader at Casita.
Doris has a great heart and a keen spirit, and we feel incredibly lucky to have her in our team. Her relentless curiosity, her work ethic, and her beautiful, sincere smile will light up any room that she is in. We are so eager to see where Doris goes. You can help us ensure that bright minds like hers are not squandered due to lack of access to opportunity. Give a high school scholarship as a meaningful gift this Holiday Season, and ensure that other teenagers like Doris can have a future.