– Directors –
Eve Horowitz (USA) is the founder and Executive Director of the Honduras Child Alliance and she coordinates the recruiting and placement of our international volunteers. Her big secret (revealed here) is that although everyone knows that she gets mucho satisfaction from sending volunteers to work with the children in Honduras, she also gets tremendous joy from observing the impact on each volunteer as they return to their home countries. They are transformed and never quite view their lives in the same way as before. They’re not just changing Honduras – – they are changing the world!
In addition to focusing on fundraising & program development, Eve brings a blend of creative and operational strengths to Honduras Child Alliance. With 20+ years of management & leadership experience, she is an accomplished fundraiser and commercial writer and specializes in the area of training and development. With a B.A. in Education from Goddard College, she also has a Certificate in Fundraising from the University of Pennsylvania and is currently enrolled at the International Institute for Restorative Practices. When not in Honduras, Eve resides in Pennsylvania, USA.
First visiting Honduras in 1992, Eve initially considered sponsoring Honduran children in need as a cross-cultural experience for her own two kids. As she understood more about the social issues facing impoverished children in Honduras, it became a larger mission. Recognizing that her actions and support could create immediate, tangible improvement in the children’s lives she began developing volunteer-powered programs that have evolved to become HCA. Eve travels to and from El Porvenir 4-5X each year and considers Honduras her second home. She views the Honduras Child Alliance as, “a wish come true”. Contact Eve at Eve@honduraschildalliance.org.
Carly Sellers (USA/lives in Mexico) is serving as Board Chair and Treasurer for the Honduras Child Alliance. As a director, Carly is hands-on involved in orientation and support of project managers, trouble-shooting the coordination of dental teams and development of a complete operations manual.
From teaching swimming lessons to coaching cheerleading, nannying, tutoring, and being a YMCA Camp Director, Carly has spent most of her life working with kids. During college, she worked as a Lead Facilitator for the challenge courses through Miami University’s Team-building Program.
After graduating with a degree in Psychology in 2009, Carly worked for Children’s Services in Ohio, USA, conducting investigations of child abuse and neglect. She worked there until leaving for her first trip to Honduras in February of 2011. Carly spent her second trip (October 2011-March 2012) serving as the Project Manager for the 2011-12 Vacation Activities Program. Fun-fact: Since 2011, Carly has spent every Valentine’s Day in Honduras! Carly currently lives and works in Playa del Carmen, Mexico and continues to travel to Honduras every chance she gets! Contact Carly at Carly@honduraschildalliance.org.
In addition to serving as an HCA Director, Elizabeth (Liz) Bender (USA) also oversees the quality and development of our curriculums.
Liz started working in El Porvenir by doing four volunteer stints from 2009-2012, spending about one-year total volunteering before returning as our on-site Project Manager for an additional year in 2015-16. During her time in El Porvenir, she realized that beyond teaching basic academics, she became passionate about providing education and support in keeping the children healthy, sparking her interest in pursuing a degree in Public Health. Liz says, “Since my first time volunteering with HCA, I have felt connected to El Porvenir, the programs, and the kids! This program means so much to me and the opportunity to continue this work in a leadership position is immensely satisfying!” Liz brings a broad range of skills to HCA and returns regularly to help train volunteers, implement curriculum, and give support to our on-site Project Managers. Liz has been the impetus behind our new scholarship program to help students in our elementary age programs continue to graduate high school.
Nathan LeSueur (USA) has traveled to and from Honduras since 2008. He joined the Honduras Child Alliance family when he traveled to El Porvenir in January 2014 and spent the following seven months as our project manager. He now resides back in Arizona but is actively serving on the HCA board of directors and is part of the support team for current and future project managers. He is also working on fundraising and volunteer recruitment. He is happiest when he is working with the beautiful people of Honduras. They may not have much but they are a humble and beautiful people and he hopes to stay connected to them by sharing his experience with others so they may also know how powerful it is to serve the children and people of our tiny coastal town of El Porvenir. Contact Nathan at Nathan@honduraschildalliance.org. Follow him on Instagram @nathanreedlesueur
Anne Fowler (Canada) is serving as Secretary for the Honduras Child Alliance and is involved in several additional projects as well. Anne is Canadian and was raised in Toronto. She worked in nursing, as a flight attendant and then owned a Toronto based Human Resources company for over 30 years. When not in Honduras, Anne enjoys golf, gardening and reading, along with spending time with her two grown children and their families.
Anne began coming to Honduras with annual short-term medical missions in 1993. Upon retiring in 2001 (trust us – – Anne is far from retired!), Anne began spending 6 months of each year in Honduras. Her first four years were at an eye clinic for the poor in El Progresso and then for the past 10 years, have been in El Porvenir.
Anne has developed a variety of community programs to benefit children. Some focus on health issues such as dental hygiene and HIV awareness and others are academic based. Anne’s goal is to assist in raising the quality of life in Honduras by creating self-sustaining community programs designed to educate, motivate and facilitate individual growth and self-esteem. Anne is a founding director of the Porvenir English Program and the Reader’s Club – Club de Lecturas which are both operated by HCA volunteers. Anne is also a director of Hamilton-Benest House. Contact Anne at Anne@honduraschildalliance.org.
Cindy Mataraso (USA) is a clinical psychologist in Sacramento California. She believes that all people have the right to live a life with meaning and purpose. She has dedicated her career to serving disenfranchised and underserved people. She operates programs for people who are in a psychiatric crisis or in need of long term residential treatment to develop skills or regain them to create a life worth living. Her programs offer holistic and strength based treatment in homelike environments.
When Cindy is not working, she enjoys spending time with her family, a loving husband of 20 years and 3 teenaged children. Together they enjoy the outdoors and travel. Cindy takes long walks with her friends and beloved dog, Rusty, enjoys petting her ever furry cat, Romeo and tends to her backyard flock of chickens. Cindy first visited Honduras in 2010 and HCA is excited to have her expertise and support.
– Project Manager –
Our August 2016 – June 2017 on-site project manager is Jenna Pohjonen (Finland). Jenna believes that together, and through intercultural cooperation, we can make a real difference in the world. She is passionate about sustainable community development and giving her part to help enable equal opportunities in life to everyone, and she sees quality education as one of the main factors in the picture.
This is Jenna’s first time in Honduras and she cannot wait to get immersed into this new culture and community, learn from the people of El Porvenir and share her knowledge and skills to help advance HCA’s mission. However, Jenna is not totally new to the“latin vibe” as she has travelled in Central America and lived in neighbouring Guatemala for a while where she also served as an International Coordinator at a local education based NGO. She left Guatemala to take her masters in Spain, and towards the end of 2015 she graduated with a degree in Peace, Conflict and Development Studies. Jenna also holds a bachelor’s degree in Modern Languages and Business Studies for Management Assistants (BBA). When not working or researching Jenna loves to wander in the nature, run, play soccer or try out new sports. She also thinks that a little dance here and there brightens up any day a great deal!
– PROJECT MANAGER –
As Jenna finishes her time as HCA Project Manager, our incoming 2017-18 Manager will be Alyssa Weker.
Alyssa Weker (USA) is new to our team and decided to join HCA due to her passion for and experience with literacy initiatives and mentorship. In college, Alyssa coordinated a migrant mentorship/tutoring program for elementary school children. Statistically, many of these children were undocumented—many lived in unfavorable conditions, many experienced racism in their predominately white schools, many seldom saw their parent(s) due to long work shifts, etc. The program connected the college community with the local community and provided a support system and friendship for the elementary school students. Her involvement with the tutoring program has helped enforce her love for children and her desire to help children become independent and empowered. Alyssa was also involved with English as a Second Language instruction for 3 years of her college career and has developed strong relations with her adult students. Alyssa studied in Panama City, Panama for 4 months and is fluent in Spanish. Contact Alyssa at email@example.com
– Facilities Manager / Lead Volunteer (Intern) –
Dorian Oqueli Padilla Matute (Honduras) is from El Cacao, Honduras a small village about 40 minutes east of El Porvenir. Dorian first started volunteering with Honduras Child Alliance (HCA) in November, 2015 and is excited to expand his responsibilities and continue volunteering while studying for a Diplomado degree in English. As Facilities Manager Dorian helps to insure that everything is operational at our volunteer houses and classrooms. This is a great service to our program!
When not working, Dorian likes to exercise, watch music videos, make jokes and have fun with friends. Dorian says, “I really like the English language and I want to know more about it. Working with HCA, the part I like most is working with the kids and my goals for the future are to stay with HCA for a long time and learn more English. I hope to be a translator one day and have a great family!” With HCA’s new scholarship program, Dorian is well on his way!
– Volunteer Liaison for Med Students & #1 Taxi Driver –
Sherman Collins (Honduras) is the first HCA person who most volunteers meet. This is because Sherman is our #1 taxi driver and is generally who picks up incoming volunteers when they arrive in La Ceiba. Sherman, his wife Suyapa and their 3 beautiful daughters also operate a delicious restaurant opposite one of our volunteer houses. Sherman is most certainly our “dad away from home”. He truly looks out for our volunteers and he gives good advice!
As of 2016, Sherman is also the liaison for our medical student volunteers at the Hospital Atlantida in La Ceiba. He provides introductions at the start of each placement and typically drives the volunteers to their work each day.
– HCA Advisory Board –
Jim Beal (USA) volunteered in Honduras for 10 months in 2011-12. Although Jim worked at several programs, he also brought a construction component to our programs due to his concern about the effects of poor hygiene on the children’s health and attendance at school. Because of this concern, Jim has so far spearheaded the construction of 11 bathroom / showers for families who otherwise had only an outhouse. Please see our Building Baños page for recent projects and check out Jim’s blog for info on how the Porvenir Construction Program began. http://hondurasjim.wordpress.com/2012/03/11/shower-power/ A native of Pennsylvania, Jim plans to continue working in Honduras in between completing a medical degree! Jim serves on the HCA advisory board and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rikke Soendergaard (Denmark) has been involved in humanitarian work in Honduras since 2005, and has, so far, spent more than two years in Honduras. Rikke has done a variety of volunteer work and research in the La Ceiba area, and even studied at a Honduran university in La Ceiba. Currently Rikke coordinates our partnership program with the Bomberos Porvenir (firefighters) which focuses on first aid, prehospital care and community service. Rikke is also responsible for fire safety at our volunteer houses and gives first aid courses to volunteers when she is in Honduras.
Rikke emphasizes the importance of immersing oneself into the local culture, and thereby continuously learning from members of the community through their various social levels and positions in life. A specific focal point for Rikke is sustainability. She hopes to ensure that our work meets the actual needs of the locals and that we foster local involvement and local ownership in all of our projects. Fun fact: Rikke has two heart-adopted families in Honduras, one in La Ceiba and one in El Porvenir. The youngest daughter in her family in El Porvenir was named after her, something that touched Rikke very much.
In Denmark Rikke works as Master Sergeant with the Fire Department of Nordvestjylland. In addition to administrative tasks, her responsibilities here include management of a social project for vulnerable teenagers that offers them to become junior firefighters. Rikke is an experienced Instructor within Firefighting and First Aid. Rikke holds a Master’s Degree in Development and International Relations and a Bachelor’s Degree in Languages and International Business Communications (English/Spanish). She also holds a wide variety of certifications within fire, rescue and emergency management. In her spare time Rikke is a voluntary firefighter and teamleader. She loves playing board games with friends, reading books, watching documentaries and exploring new places – both in Denmark and abroad (and very much in our beautiful Honduras!)
As part of her Master’s Degree, Rikke served as the HCAs very first Project Manager and launched our first Vacation Activities Program (VAP) back in 2010. She put great effort into the planning process and did everything she could to involve community members in promoting and supporting the program. She is proud that the Vacation Activities Program has become a huge success and is now an annual program that the children and their parents look forward to!
Rikke has considered Honduras her second home for many years now and her hope is to spend a month in Honduras every year to catch up with the projects, to give first aid classes to new volunteers and to maintain and develop our relations with the local community.
Olman Flores Estrada (Honduras) is a member of the advisory board for Honduras Child Alliance. Olman was born in Tegucigalpa, Honduras and now lives in the town of Santa Ana along the north coast. He is a CPA and has a degree in Social Education and in the Administration of Projects for teenagers. Olman has spent much of his professional career working to care for and benefit children in Honduras. He has been a scout leader, Sub-Director of the Hogar de Amor y Esperanza orphanage, Project Construction Manager for FHIS (Fondo Hondureño de Inversión Social / Honduran Social Investment Fund), and Director of SOS Aldeas Infantiles in La Ceiba, Honduras. We are grateful for Olman’s insight and guidance as we prepare our volunteers for their work at the HCA projects.
Shawna Bayerman, M.S., L.D.N. (USA) is a registered dietitian currently located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Shawna received her master’s degree in Food Science and Nutrition at Colorado State University where she designed a Promotora model to promote healthy eating in the Hispanic/ Latino community. At the present time she works in Camden, NJ as a clinical dietitian. She specializes in creating nutrition care plans in a variety of acute and chronic disease states. She also promotes grassroots efforts to increase government support of nutrition outreach as the Public Policy Chair-Elect of the Philadelphia Dietetics association.
Shawna first visited El Porvenir, Honduras in the summer of 2011 to volunteer. Her eyes were opened to the reality that children frequently only eat one meal per day and this meal typically lacked the nutrition that their bodies need to thrive. With a ceaseless desire to continue working with this community, Shawna came to Honduras Child Alliance in 2015 to help reformulate the Healthy Snack Program.
Shawna designs recipes that include nutritionally dense foods that are locally available. She shares a vision with HCA to include local community members in preparing these snacks to help teach about healthy eating while creating a sustainable healthy snack program.
Kate Olden (USA) is a bilingual early learning specialist, currently living in San Antonio, TX. She has specialized in working with at-risk children since 2008. In Honduras, Kate has taught in a rural primary school, led workshops for early childhood educators, and assisted on projects researching education, teaching, and nutrition in rural areas. Kate’s work has also taken her to Bolivia and Cuba as a researcher of educational practices, but Honduras holds a special place in her heart. She holds a Masters in International Education from George Washington University and a Masters in Teaching Early Childhood from Trinity Washington University. Kate is currently working as a learning interventionist and is the designer and creator for her own line of handmade developmental toys and learning games at La Luciernaga Learning LLC. Her favorite job, however, is being a mom to her infant son, who inspires her to make this world better for all children and families.
– Our volunteer-powered admin staff –
Amanda made her first trip to Honduras in 2011, and from that point on, she was hooked. She started volunteering with HCA in 2013, and since then she has returned on several occasions. Amanda has worked with HCA on a variety of different projects (including PEP, VAP, the health screening and education program held in the summer of 2015, and the 2013 annual dental brigade), and she is looking forward to expanding her role in the organization as the Donations Manager. One of Amanda’s favorite things about working with HCA is collaborating with the residents of El Porvenir, who are so warm and welcoming, and engaging them in our projects. She also enjoys integrating new volunteers into the community and helping them make the transition from their home country to their new home away from home in Honduras.
Amanda says, “Working with the children of El Porvenir has changed my life in so many ways. Their enthusiasm, energy, and desire to learn is inspiring, and I feel so lucky to have been able to watch our students grow up over the years. I am looking forward to helping HCA expand its programs and outreach.” A native of the Philadelphia area, Amanda is currently halfway through medical school and aspires to be an emergency medicine physician. Working in Honduras has exposed her to some of the harsh health and nutrition realities plaguing the country, and she hopes to use her medical degree to continue to serve the place she considers her “second home.” Contact Amanda at email@example.com
Leah Schroeder (Canada), came to Honduras from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. She has a healing practise as a Reiki Master, ThetaHealing® and Integrated Energy Therapy® Practitioner. She also, teaches Reiki classes and leads Sacred Womyn Workshops in her area.
Leah volunteered in our Vacation Activities Program in January 2011 and continues to volunteer by reading the references for incoming volunteers. She says, “My time in Honduras was a life changing experience on many levels, and I have a strong desire to go back and spend some more time there. El Porvenir is never very far from my thoughts. I am grateful for the opportunity to contribute in whatever way I can to support the work of this organization.”
Armide Storey (USA) recently graduated from Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, and is now attending Medical School at Boston University. Armide took her Spring 2012 semester off of school to join Honduras Child Alliance. She worked at PEP-Centro, taught an adult English Class, and was one of the first group of teachers in the Spanish Literacy / Reader’s Club. Back in the United States, Armide continues to stay involved by reading references to help select HCA’s incoming volunteers. Although she is busy in med school, she hopes to return to El Porvenir someday soon!
Andy Long (Australia) started volunteering with HCA in October 2013 and ended up returning on 3 separate occasions since, for 7 months total. Andy continues to support HCA by helping with our volunteer recruitment. He says, “I support volunteers going to Honduras because it is important to experience and understand other cultures and situations, and participate in improving them if that is a possibility. Also, El Porvenir is a wonderful town with some beautiful people.” Thanks Andy and we’ll be waiting to see you in El P some time again soon!
Alessandra Large (UK) studied Spanish, Russian and Interpreting at University and in 2012, spent 6 months of her Year Abroad volunteering with Honduras Child Alliance. She opened the PEP2 location with two other volunteers and also taught at the Reader’s Club. Alex says, “I was lucky enough to teach adult English Class several evenings each week and I would sincerely recommend to anyone who is thinking of volunteering, to teach at the adult English Class, as it is so rewarding and every adult who attends is so grateful and so inspiring.” Since Honduras, Alex has completed her studies and is now interning with an Environmental Education company in Seville, Spain. She plans to work in Educational Development and returned to Honduras for a quick visit in 2014!!
Ofer Chama (Israel) came from Israel to volunteer at a kinder in El Porvenir from January to June, 2010. Ofer continues to support Honduras Child Alliance by doing reference checks for potential volunteers. Ofer is also involved in a great organization in Israel which helps maintain the Latino culture for recent Hispanic immigrants. Check it out: http://laescuelitaisrael.wordpress.com/ We appreciate Ofer’s help and are glad to have him as an ongoing volunteer!
And thank you to . . .
“I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy.” ~ Rabindranath Tagore