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  • Writer's pictureAustin Hudson

From Childhood Dreams to Community Collaboration: Making a Gymnasium a Reality in La Unión Lempira

For those who don’t know, I was born and raised in La Unión Lempira, a town located in the western region of Honduras. La Unión, Lempira is a small town with an approximate population of 15,759 inhabitants and covers an area of 85.31 square kilometers. The town experiences two major seasons throughout the year: rainy and dry season. La Unión is located at an altitude of 4652 feet above sea level. Most of the population relies on farming and commerce as their main source of income. Last year, I had the opportunity to return to La Unión, Lempira, and work as an academic supervisor, assisting with administrative tasks at my former school. Coming back to the school where I had grown and which played a pivotal role in shaping the person I have become was a challenging yet rewarding experience.

During my time in La Unión, I connected with great teachers, students, and families. I enjoyed every opportunity I got to listen and help in different areas. It was eye-opening to realize how it has been over nine years since I graduated from high school and how students still lack many of the same resources I did while attending the school. With the rising educational standards, they are lacking even more resources now since when I was in school. The school’s administration and teachers are doing and have been doing the best they can to provide resources for students; however, it can be challenging to raise all the funds they need within Honduras.

Some of the resources I was able to identify during my time there were a teachers' lounge, fans for the classrooms, desktop computers for the computer lab, a roofed gym, books for the library, and a library building. Those were the most immediate needs. Through the support of Sow Hope (Sembrando Esperanza) and our community of donors, we were able to renovate and furnish a space for teachers to work. This project marked the beginning of our efforts to support the school. We also managed to purchase fans to equip some of the classrooms that lacked proper ventilation. La Unión can experience scorching temperatures, and it's difficult to teach in a classroom with little to no airflow when it's 28 degrees Celsius (82.4 degrees Fahrenheit) outside and feels even warmer inside since there is no air conditioning in any of the classrooms.

The students observed how my husband and I advocated for the school and contributed through Sembrando Esperanza. That seed of hope took root in their minds, and throughout the year, they implored me to find resources to build a gym. Physical Education is almost everyone's favorite class, and it was disheartening to see students confined to their classrooms during the two most anticipated hours of the week. The PE teacher often has to reduce their activity time due to rain or the blistering heat. Nevertheless, the students always maintain a positive attitude and make the best of their time. Sometimes, they even brave the high temperatures just to have some fun.

They reached out to me whenever they could, asking for my assistance in securing funds to construct a gym where they could consistently have PE classes and train for competitions with other schools. I never turned them down; instead, I always smiled and replied, "I'll work on it. God will help us." After repeatedly hearing their requests, I began to dream alongside them and talk to our board about it.

A few months later, my husband came to visit Honduras and was invited to participate in a basketball game, where teachers faced off against students. It was a scorching hot day when they played, and the heat and enthusiasm of the game inspired him to dream alongside me and the students. Together, we knew that with dedication, hard work, and the support of our community, we could provide these students with a space where they could continue to pursue their love for sports and physical education.

That is why we decided to join hands with ALCS La Unión to initiate a fundraising campaign aimed at turning the students' dreams into reality. ALCS La Unión is already making a significant impact in Honduras, providing quality education and opportunities to young minds. We are eager to work alongside this remarkable institution through our ministry, with the invaluable support of our donors and community. Together, we aim to create a brighter future for these students, where they can not only pursue their passion for sports but also continue to receive a top-notch education that opens doors to even greater opportunities. Our shared commitment to these young lives is a testament to the power of collaboration and the potential for positive change within our community.

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