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Bessy Morales, our  leader in Honduras, is shown with teachers from villages surrounding Gracias, where we will have our newest teacher resource center opening in June 2019. She was giving a reading and writing teaching strategy workshop to the teachers from the community.

Bessy Morales, our Friends United leader in Honduras, is shown with teachers from villages surrounding Gracias, where we will have our newest teacher resource center opening in June. She gave a two day workshop on reading and writing teaching strategies. The teachers used writing strategies taught by Bessy from our own consultant, Steve Peha, to create their own writing pieces. Then they were going to put them in book form to share with their students. These are villages that have no books and no libraries available to them so this skill is important for them to have. Many thanks to the teachers who Bessy said we’re super motivated to learn AND a big thank you to Bessy for continuing our work when we cannot be there!!

Friends United Honduras President, Bessy Morales, asked by USAID to assist with their reading/writing program in Central America.

This is our Friends United/Amigos Unidos leader in Honduras, Bessy Morales. Bessy was asked by US officials from USAID to assist them with their special reading/writing focus program the US has been working on in Central America and the Caribbean to improve literacy in those countries. The great work and success of our previous and current literacy efforts in Honduras has not gone unnoticed! Great job, Bessy!

Honduran teachers learn from Independence, Fort Osage

By Kelly Evenson - kelly.evenson@examiner.net
Posted Oct 6, 2010 

 

Vivian Rodriguez is a kindergarten teacher in Honduras. But unlike in the United States where it is common practice to send children to kindergarten, the concept is fairly new in the Central America country.

“We have been fighting the government to improve education for the smaller children,” she said. “Kindergarten is new. Many of the programs are not even in the public school buildings, but in separate facilities. A lot of parents feel it is a waste of time.”

Nine teachers from Honduras toured Fairmount and Bryant elementary schools Tuesday as part of the Friends United Program. After spending two days in the Fort Osage School District last week, the teachers, who included kindergarten and third grade teachers along with a librarian, are spending this week touring and observing classes in several Independence schools. They will return home next week.

“This is the fourth year we have brought them here, so that we can give them the experience of seeing how teachers educate children in the United States,” said Charlotte Ruoff, president of Friends United. “We want them to implement some of what they see here in their own schools (in Honduras) to make them better teachers.”

Friends United was created in 1987 by three Independence School District teachers. The goal is to work with Honduran teachers by presenting workshops. In addition, Friends United has created several small libraries and resource rooms and donates supplies and textbooks to the schools on a regular basis. Other schools the teachers have or will be visiting are Fort Osage High School, Fire Prairie Middle School and Elm Grove and Indian Trails elementaries in the Fort Osage School District and Korte, Luff, Three Trails and Thomas Hart Benton elementaries in the Independence School District.

Ruoff said the visits allow teachers to learn new teaching strategies and techniques that they can take back with them. She said instruction also is given for teaching mathematics, reading and science.

Unlike in the U.S., many children in Honduras do not complete the sixth grade. In addition, 13 percent of children do not even have a school to go to.

“These ideas are very beneficial to them,” she said. “They are interested in the experience and are very enthusiastic about what they are learning. Many have said how grateful they are to have this kind of opportunity.”

Thania Valladares, a librarian at Policarpo Bonilla School in Honduras, said she has gathered several ideas she would like to implement, especially when it comes to classroom behavior and discipline.

“I like how the teachers here encourage the children and train them to do things such as walking quietly in the hallways and treating each other nice,” she said through an interpreter. “The teachers keep the children motivated and on task. Those are important things to teach. We have seen the good education in the U.S., and we want that for our country, too.”

Friends United President Charlotte Ruoff receives The Rotary Above Self Award

Friends United is proud to announce that our President, Charlotte Ruoff, received the Rotary Service Above Self Award. This honor only went to 150 people out of more than 1.2 million Rotarians. We invite everyone to share their best wishes to a person who has dedicated her time to our organization and the education of the children in Honduras. This reward was recognition of the dedication and service to Friends United.

 

Friends United ships tons of school supplies to Honduran schools

By Jesus Lopez-Gomez / Special to The Examiner
Jun 18, 2016

 

Friend United, a small Independence nonprofit created to support Honduran schoolchildren, released a shipment of educational materials last week. The 11,000 pounds of school supplies the group collected left for Tegucigalpa, the capital city of Honduras.

One morning last week, the small staff that makes up a share of Friends United’s executive staff — retired teachers Charlotte Ruoff, Bennie Eubanks and his wife Paulette Eubanks — met in Carefree Industrial Park to load a 12-pallet shipment of educational materials to a FedEx trailer. The Independence School District was a major donor in the supply roundup. The materials were bound for Whiteman Air Force Base where they would be couriered by U.S. military aircraft to Honduras.

Speaking in a phone interview after the shipment was released, Bennie Eubanks said the group was formally organized in 1987 after teachers visiting Honduras found a need for material support within the schools.

Eubanks and his wife’s interest in Honduras predates Friends United. In 1959, the couple went to the Central American country to help with a medical facility. Shortly the pair became founding members of Friends United, they hosted Suyapa Ulloa, a 16-year-old Honduran foreign exchange student who helped coordinate a pen pal partnership between grade school children in Independence and Honduras.

“It started as pen pals and went to an exchange of materials,” Bennie Eubanks said describing the pen pal program, which called on translation services from Truman High School’s Spanish club.

Then in the summer of 1987, the group traveled to Honduras to visit the teachers and saw the derelict rooms they were teaching in.

“The schools were barren,” Eubanks remembered. “We asked them ‘How do you teach?’”

Friends United was subsequently organized later that year under the mission of enhancing educational access for Honduran sixth graders and those younger. The group later became a registered nonprofit. The group sends large shipments of educational materials and also started seven professional development resource centers. Each one supports teaching staff at 10 schools. The group also flies a group of Honduran teachers in to Independence annually to train them professionally. An estimated 50 teachers have been brought in from Honduras for training locally, Eubanks said.

Though the success of program isn’t formally measured, Eubanks noted that many of the grade school students who begin school make it through sixth grade, an accomplishment that was once rare before Friends United began their work in the region.

Where To Find Us:

Friends United

P.O. Box 52
Independence, MO 64051

 

Phone: (816) 919-1025

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