When Alex Clark-Youngblood wakes up in the morning to get ready for work, he knows what to expect. He goes through the motions, hops in his car, and drives off to meet his fifth grade class of emotionally disabled students for another full day of teaching in Phoenix, Arizona.
After a phone call a few weeks ago, the stability of his Phoenix lifestyle will only remain a reality for a few more months. Youngblood has been selected as the new Global Playground Honduras Teaching Fellow, and he will be joining the team in Honduras in May.
“I had already committed to come back and teach in Phoenix for a third year, but, to be honest, I was considering packing up my things and going straight down to Honduras,” Youngblood said. “Fortunately we worked out an arrangement where I don’t have to abandon ship here.”
Youngblood will spend the next few months connecting his fifth-grade Phoenix classroom with Thailand Teaching Fellow Ryann Tanap’s classroom to engage both in a cross-cultural dialogue. He will also make a few preliminary visits before moving to Honduras in May to complete the teaching fellowship.
“I think there i so much room for growth in Honduras and in El Progreso specifically – on top of that the opportunity to pick up where Adam left off with Students Helping Honduras and to work with an organization like OYE that I am familiar with and that has already been successful,” Youngblood said. “It’s a dream come true.”
Youngblood worked with the Organization for Youth Empowerment, or OYE, in El Progreso during the summer of 2011. He helped fundraise for their annual summer soccer tournament during the year, and then worked in Honduras during the summer to hold the event.
Global Playground’s prior Teaching Fellow, Adam Levin, while working in Honduras, had begun to work with OYE as well. When Youngblood found out about the program, he applied.
“It just seems like the perfect opportunity, and I couldn’t be happier that we found a way to make it work.”
Youngblood currently works with a group of emotionally disabled students on a day-to-day basis currently. His students come from various backgrounds and they all have different disabilities, but Youngblood finds himself reinvigorated by his work every day.
“It can be hard working with students that have severe education issues to maintain the motivation and patience, but I really do feel like I wake up every morning feeling ready to continue the fight that we are fighting here.”
Youngblood plans to bring this same energy with him to Honduras.
“Every day is a struggle so you just have to take pride and satisfaction in the small victories, because the good days can be few and far between sometimes.”