In 2013 BECA’s then Executive Director, Michael Buttram, met Amy and Wilson Escoto at the Sustainable Honduras conference in Copan, Honduras. Mike’s impassioned presentation led to a beautiful conversation with them about the possibility of collaborating to provide a bilingual education to the children living in the Amigos de Jesús (ADJ) home. MIke and Wilson still chuckle to this day about the fact that Wilson insisted Mike come see the home – which now has more than 140 children living in intimate home-like situations with madrinas and padrinas – that very same week. From that beautiful meeting, a several years’ long process of figuring out what a collaboration would look like began – considering everything from where BECA’s teachers would live (on-site in housing built just for them!) to how they would collaborate with ADJ’s existing volunteer team.
Amigos de Jesús Bilingual School (ADJBS), BECA’s third partner school officially opened in August 2013 as a joint venture between Amigos de Jesús (ADJ) and BECA. In 2020-2021, we will celebrate our first ninth grade graduation after adding a grade each year since the school opened. One of the many beautiful realities of this partnership is that the school (located on the home’s property) not only serves most of the home’s 140 children, it is also open for children from neighboring towns. Every day the children from the home and neighboring communities are breaking down barriers and building their collective future together with the guidance and support of their teachers.
Amigos de Jesús Bilingual School is blessed to have had the same amazing School Director, Profesor Osman Quintanilla, at the helm from day one and we can count on the support of ADJ Directors of Operation, Amy and Wilson Escoto, who live on site too with their family.
ADJ is truly a special place – the home is virtually self sufficient. They grow some of their own food and have livestock on site. They also run several other educational programs to ensure that there is an educational program for every child. Educatodos is an accelerated educational program for those who are significantly behind in formal schooling when they arrive at ADJ. Special Education is ADJ’s inclusive Special Education program for students from the hogar to work on developing their motor and social skills; and Colegio is a Spanish-language middle school for students from the hogar who did not attend bilingual elementary school.
All of these programs are run with the help of several different groups of volunteers: BECA volunteers, ADJ volunteers, and Honduran Volunteer Teachers. The Honduran volunteer teachers who give Spanish and Social Studies classes work in teaching pairs. Most of these teachers are volunteers who are finishing up university (although some have completed their studies). Almost all Honduran Volunteer Teachers stay for multiple years, which provides consistency for the school.
After adding a grade each year since the school opened, in 2020 – 2021 the school will have ten grades: preparatoria (kindergarten) through 9th grade – and will graduate its first full class of students!