2021 marks the 20th year of the Austin Helps Honduras (AHH) Scholarship Program in Colonia Solidaridad, the community built by members of St. Martin’s and Riverbend Church after a devastating hurricane.
Members of St. Martin’s have been the major supporters, sponsoring students from 7th grade through college. The program has grown from 13 students in 2002 to 57 students this year. Young people who had little opportunity to attend 7th grade and beyond are now graduating from high school (49), vocational programs (20) and in 2015 the program grew to include scholarships to local universities with our first two graduating in 2020. Last year the program was expanded to offer scholarships to students in neighboring colonias. Destined to work for meager wages in menial jobs, the students are now employed in positions which enable them to provide for their families.
Of the 57 students this year, 55 are sponsored by generous donors, many from St. Martin’s. You can become a part of this valuable ministry by sponsoring one of the two 7th grade students…Cinthia or Gabriela. Both are excellent students and very committed to working hard to succeed in their schooling. Having a sponsor boosts a student’s confidence, just knowing someone believes in them and wants them to have an opportunity for a good life is motivational.
A $500 contribution to AHH will sponsor a student for the 2021 school year (February thru November). Sponsor contributions can be made lump sum or monthly thru December whichever is your preference. There is also a choice of on-line St. Martin’s Giving or mailing check(s) payable to “Austin Helps Honduras” to the AHH Treasurer: Patti Ball, 904 River Oaks Drive, Austin, 78753-2410. For more information, or to sponsor one of these worthy students, contact Bunny Oliver, St. Martin’s AHH spokesperson.
For more information, visit www.austinhelpshonduras.org. The website is currently being updated, but it chronicles the work of AHH since the hurricane in 1998.
Founded in 1999 by members of Riverbend and St. Martin’s Lutheran Churches to help with relief after Hurricane Mitch, Austin Helps Honduras has focused on construction and education. Currently there are no construction projects, however, AHH is committed to providing the best educational experience available for the young people of Colonia Solidaridad.
- Constructing of 75 houses in Colonia Solidaridad (Juticalpa, Olancho), and an elementary school, Escuela Solidaridad.
- Establishing a scholarship program for children to go from grades 6-12, including tutoring and career counseling – over 600 scholarships have been given since 2002.
- Providing scholarships to local colleges and universities for graduates of AHH scholarship program.
- Training for teachers at Escuela Solidaridad.
- Organizing groups of medical professionals for two mission trips to provide much-needed services to residents of Colonia Solidaridad and surrounding villages.
To learn more, please visit AHH’s website: http://www.austinhelpshonduras.org/.