In the Central American country of Honduras, population 8 million, half of the citizens are age 18 and younger. Just one in every 10,000 graduate from college.
But at La Providencia, a number of Hondurans and U.S. citizens are trying to change the country’s future.
Douglas Barahona, National Director of La Providencia, and Marco Fuentes were visiting some of La Providencia’s partners in the United States and stopped at the Waunakee Rotary Club meeting March 2 to talk about the organization.
Both had the privilege to graduate from college in Honduras and both have learned English, Douglas said. For those less fortunate, they work with La Providencia to provide young Hondurans with an education and orphaned children with a family environment. The important thing is to prevent young people from joining gangs, Douglas said.
In addition to education, the organization offers access to medical, dental and psychiatric care, along with spiritual formation. The hope is to develop leaders in Honduras who can change the society, Douglas said.
Partners include a dentist who comes from Verona twice a year. After teaching the kids at La Providencia about oral hygiene, she’s had less cavities to fill and teeth to pull, Douglas said.
Other organizations bring in medical teams, and teachers volunteer for a year at a time at La Providencia.
Other U.S. Rotary Clubs are helping, as well, with clubs in Sacramento and San Francisco, California, applying for global grants.
The school currently offers pre-kindergarten through seventh grade, and each year, a grade is added.
Douglas and Marco are seeking support from other Rotary Clubs, they said. Marco noted that the goal is for La Providencia to become self-sustaining. They currently grow and sell coffee to raise funds, along with corn and beans to feed students. Chickens and hens provide eggs and meat, and they harvest tilapia.
La Providencia is seeking about $200,000 altogether for music rooms and science labs, along with tools and medical equipment. They said students volunteer in lieu of tuition, and a small fee is charged for other services, so it’s not a “free ride.”
Also at the March 2 meeting, the club heard committee reports during club assembly.
Bianca’s Brazilian fundraising dinner is March 11 from 6-9 p.m. and tickets were on sale. She is raising funds to travel with other foreign exchange students to Hawaii.
Bob Klostermann said for fellowship, the members can watch basketball games at Lucky’s.
As for speakers, some good ones are booked, so bring a guest, Todd Schmidt said.
Gary Epping reminded the club about next week’s Super Raffle. Tickets are sold out.
On Saturday, March 4, Rotarians will head to Sauk to pick up the additional light display. If you want to help, meet at the village’s Public Works garage at 8:30 a.m.
Linda Olson reminded the club that a member is needed to attend the grant management program.
Guests: Eric Schwartz, guest of Ken Pesik; Cindy Patzner, guest of Ellen Schaaf.  
Visiting Rotarians: None.
Greeters: March 9, Tom Roepke and David Rupp;
March 16, Bob Sachtjen and Todd Schmidt;
March 23, Jim Schmitz and Phil Simon;
March 30, Dan Statz and Harriet Statz.