Virtual Fiesta 2016, A Garden Party
Each Spring, I find myself retending my garden, a special time for me of great hope and anticipation in what will flower. Summer comes, weeds appear, temperatures and humidity rise, bugs bite, and critters come to steal away the gardens produce. I weary and question my efforts. But then the garden grows and beauty arrives. I find myself enlivened and renewed. Every winter, I take on the task of what I will grow next year. I make my decisions according to the space I have, my budget, and how much labor I can dedicate to the task. It is a continual cycle of commitment and love, renewing itself in beauty each year.
My involvement with Shoulder to Shoulder follows the cycle in my garden. Early enthusiasm gives way to hard work. I question our efforts under the hot sun of challenge, but then find renewal in the beauty of service. There are always new decisions to be made as the cycle of our service evolves. The perennial programs of Shoulder to Shoulder’s garden – Yo Puedo, Scholarship, nutrition program, education, dental, and brigade – demand gentle preening care from year to year. Other programs – the ongoing medical mission and our infrastructure – have taken firm root in the garden and bring shade to the undergrowth.
Shoulder to Shoulder is now focused on providing services that make a healthy lifestyle possible. Shoulder to Shoulder always needs gardeners, volunteers, brigades (our seasonal workers), and the tenders of the farm. Farmers and gardeners are never happy; too much rain or not enough, too hot or too cold, and the seasonal cycles. But each year they are back at it planting with hope for the best crop ever.
We need feed and fertilizer to help Shoulder to Shoulder’s garden grow. Your kind donations keep growing, alive and thriving, flowering into something beautiful. It is Virtual Fiesta time again, that time when we look at Shoulder to Shoulder with hope and anticipation of the year to come. Come and enjoy our virtual garden party. It is a labor of love.
Thank you, Larry Tepe
Since the event is virtual, little overhead or volunteer time is involved resulting in more of the effort going to support the mission of Shoulder to Shoulder.
Shoulder to Shoulder 2016 Fact Sheet
In April of 2015, Shoulder to Shoulder expanded its contract with the Honduran Ministry of Health (MOH) for the provision of regular, ongoing health services to all seven municipalities and 70,000 residents of Southern Intibucá. The contract for a decentralized model of care under provisions established by the International Development Bank (IDB) is secure for the foreseeable future, making Shoulder to Shoulder’s ongoing medical mission sustainable.
Shoulder to Shoulder employs between 120 to 150 Honduran medical professionals and administrative personnel. Shoulder to Shoulder continues to offer professional support by way of our medical mission teams who work collaboratively with ongoing medical service provision. Shoulder to Shoulder also continues to respond to particular medical cases that present a challenge to the existing medical infrastructure.
Since the beginning of our dental mission, Shoulder to Shoulder has employed two dentists and two dental assistants to provide dental care at our major clinics in Concepción and Santa Lucia. It has always been the envisioned goal that these practices would become independent and private, and therefore sustainable. In June, those two dental practices became private. Dr. Idalia Ramos and Dr. Flor Amaya own and operate the two practices. Shoulder to Shoulder will continue to offer material support by way of donations and professional support as Dr. Ramos and Dr. Amaya grow their practices.
Public dental services are available at the health centers in Camasca and Colomoncagua. Two other dentists are also employed under the contract with MOH for minor dental work for pregnant women and children, as well as preventative educational services. The goal for the continuing dental mission of Shoulder to Shoulder is sustainable, quality dental services for all residents of the Frontera.
Mission trips are on the rise. Our in-country directors are more directly involvied with promotion, planning, and hosting brigade teams. In June, we hired Moises Vallecillo as our new brigade coordinator who is doing an excellent job. By the end of this calendar year, we will have supported 19 mission trips with 15 partner institutions. 267 individuals will have visited Shoulder to Shoulder on trips. All the numbers have increased from 2015.
New Brigades & Associations:
- University at Buffalo
- University of Maine at Dartmouth
- Unidad Hospitalaria Móvil in Latino América (UHMLA) / surgery brigade
- Cleveland Clinic
- A House of Prayer (AHOP), Xenia, OH
- Genesee Valley Presbytery, Rochester, NY
MANI (Mejorando la Alimentación de los Niños):
In July 2016, MANI IV was initiated providing the nutritional supplement Chispuditos to over 2800 children between 6 months and six years of age in San Marcos de la Sierra, Colomoncagua, and Camasca. Scientific measurements will record the benefit of the intervention relative to reducing medical risks from malnutrition. In securing additional funding, the plan is to increase the number of children receiving nutritional supplements in this phase. The eventual goal of the program is to provide nutritional supplements to all 7,000 children living on the Frontera to improve heath and reduce stunting.
The security and sustainability of our medical mission, augmented by brigade service and infrastructure support, allows us to give greater attention to the development of our education mission. The mainstays of the mission, the Scholarship Program and the “Yo Puedo” Girls Empowerment Program, continue to assist young people to stay in school and empower them to achieve enriching careers. We are developing our education mission at the bilingual school and collaborating toward the improvement of educational standards at primary and secondary schools across the Frontera.
- Model, Bilingual, Lenca, “Good Shepherd” School of the Frontier Region, Intibucá
- Kindergarten through 3rd grade, 78 students, adding 4th grade in February 2017
- Construction of third building of classrooms scheduled for this calendar year.
- Sponsorship program – 15 students earning $1500 per month for the school.
- Computer Assisted Learning in all classrooms for all students.
- A child psychologist.
- 4-5 English-speaking volunteers present daily at the school
- Regular service trips / recreational and educational programs / infrastructure support
- Development of ongoing partnerships
- CREE (Centro Regional para Excelencia en Educación)
- We have begun a pilot program at the Jr/Sr High School in Camasca using the technology and curriculum from the KALite computer assisted learning that we successfully use at the bilingual school. From the High School, we intend to branch out into other academic institutions in the Frontera. Our plan is to create a community of educational excellence that will yield greater academic, vocational, and career opportunities for young people living in the Frontera.