|Youth Development: A Case Study from Honduras (Peace Corps, 1990, 116 p.)|
This case study was written in 1987, during my final six months of Peace Corps service. It has been extensively revised since that time, in order to improve its readability and to include some new ideas and changed beliefs. While it is primarily intended as an information resource for volunteers in Youth Development, it may also be of use to Peace Corps trainers, AFCD's , and other persons working with youths.
As one of the first volunteers to work with homeless youths, I had the opportunity to witness and partake in the initiation of the current program for Youth Development. My assignment in Youth Development lasted for a total of five years, from 1982 through 1987. During this time, I worked with a single project in Honduras: the Centro San Juan Bosco, a residential program for street kids' and other-disadvantaged children. I also participated with AFCD's in the expansion of Peace Corps/Honduras' Youth Development program. My involvement at the Centro San Juan Bosco covered the areas of program administration and project development, vocational instruction, informal education, small business development, informal counseling and behavior modification, fund raising, policy mating, and community relations. For a period of three years I lived with the youths at the center and thus was able to participate more fully in the life of this program.
In this study, I have attempted to convey the essence of my experiences at the Centro San Juan Bosco: what I did and what I learned, during my assignment. Most of the information here included is based on personal experience and exchange of ideas with other volunteer,. I do not pretend to be an authority on the subject of helping needy children. But I have had considerable experience working and living with children of the street. I hope that this experience as reported in this study, may benefit other volunteers.
The methods and ideas described in this case study are largely gathered from my personal experiences at the Centro San Juan Bosco. They are based on what I have found to be the most effective approaches to working with disadvantaged children. I realize that these same approaches may not always be appropriate for all volunteers in all countries of the Peace Corps world. With this study, I have merely tried to provide an example of what may be accomplished by volunteers in Youth Development. I do not pretend to have been always successful in my role as a Peace Corps youth promoter. Whatever knowledge I now possess was gained as a result of many mistakes and personal failures, as well a, some considerable successes. My hope is that other volunteers will learn from these experiences and use this information, as they see fit, for the benefit of young people around the world.
As for the organization of this document, it includes chapters on: child development and behavior, education, vocational preparation, leisure skills and recreation, institutional life, and special activities for youth promoters. A resource list of relevant information materials is also included at the end. Most of the information provided in this study is practical in nature. However, the chapter on child development and behavior, and parts of others, deal with the theoretical aspects of child development and helping relationships. I have included this theoretical information so youth promoters will be aware of the many factors which influence and affect the behavior of children. I also hope that these explanations will convince generalist volunteers of the need for developing a practice theory for working with children.