If you aren't familiar with Compassion's LDP (Leadership Development Program), I will give you a brief rundown of it. Every year, in every country, hundreds of students graduate from Compassion's child development centers. This can happen after various ages, depending on the area. For example, in Honduras, the children graduate from their project at age 18. But, Compassion starts preparing children for the LDP at age 12. Can you believe that? At age 12, the children are told about this program is and how it could affect their future.
As children near graduation from the project, those students that have been very high-achieving (excellent grades, great social skills, many extra-curricular activities, and showing outstanding leadership in their churches and projects) apply for the LDP. Each countries receives many applications each year, but only around 25 can be accepted each year, due to finances. After many rounds of interviews, a select group is chosen for the LDP. The LDP helps each young adult choose a school major that is perfect for them, pays for their college tuition fees, provides housing, food, school supplies, and anything else the student will need throughout their time in college.
Forgive me for the blurry photo. I felt bad using the flash while the people were presenting to us on this night. This young man is Isaid (at least, that's what I think his name is). Isaid is one of people who helps lead the LDP. He was a graduate of the program himself, and went on to help run the program. He showed us a powerpoint presentation about the Leadership Development Program in Honduras. This program only started 5 years ago, and they are now seeing the first class of students graduate and find jobs in their communities. One of the main goals of the LDP is to graduate successful students, who will go on to be positive, Christian leaders in Honduras. By doing this, Compassion is further helping the country as a whole, as educated adults move out to change their surroundings.
While Isaid spoke, we all enjoyed a wonderful meal of nachos, steak, and pork. Seriously, I love Honduran food. So good.
After hearing an overview of the LDP in Honduras, we met Annalise, one of the LDP students in Honduras. She started out by telling us a little bit of her background information, which is a very tragic story. She was born into a home without a father. She lived with her older sisters and her mother. When she was just 8 years old, her mother died, leaving her oldest sister in charge of running the house and caring for her younger siblings. Thankfully, around this time, Compassion stepped into her situation and started helping out her and her family. Annalise was sponsored at age 8 and is still sponsored by that same person, even into the LDP program. I think that is amazing. What a dedicated sponsor! We heard Annalise share some of her favorite parts of being in Compassion program and the difference it made her life.
Annalise is nearing completion of her degree, which will be in dentistry. She mentioned how it has been a struggle and sometimes her classes have been very difficult, but she is eager to take her newfound skills and become a dentist for the children in Compassion's program. She wants her own dental practice someday, as well. She's a very driven young lady.
Then we heard from Franklin. Franklin just entered the LDP program and is studying International Business in college. Franklin does not yet have a sponsor for the LDP portion of his life. He told us that he is praying everyday for a sponsor's support. Franklin was a very outspoken, bubbly, and happy young man. He just made us all smile. I mentioned to the person sitting next to me that we may be looking at "the next president of Honduras." He was just so positive and I enjoyed hearing his speak about his life.
Over his lifetime, his father has had 6 wives and Franklin is the youngest of 23 children! I was just amazed! And, even as the youngest child, Franklin will be the first person in his family to graduate from college. I have on doubt that this young man is going places in his life and is going to make a big difference in Honduras.
Currently, there are two young adults from Honduras who are needing a sponsor for the LDP program. Since the LDP provides so much for them, it costs $300 a month to sponsor one of these young adults. I understand that may be too much for one person to do on their own, but perhaps a group could get together to sponsor them. Maybe a small group you're a part of, a church committee, a prayer group, or even your whole church together. The opportunity to sponsor one of these young men or women could be a wonderful one.
The young man's name is Jonatan. He is 18 years old and is studying Computer Science/Engineering. You can learn much more about him (his family, life story, goals for his life, etc) on his main page: http://www.compassion.com/student-leaders/jonatan-josue-gonzalez.htm
The beautiful young lady pictured above is Mirna. She is 18 years old and is studying Economics. She has quite a lot to say about her past and her future goals. I really suggest reading about her and getting to know her a little bit. I imagine Mirna would write some wonderful letters, too. http://www.compassion.com/student-leaders/mirna-yamileth-rivera-rosales.htm