HPOU-sponsored student in Honduras making good grades, appears to be budding soccer star

Tom Kennedy

Ashly Pavon, the 13-year-old girl for whom the HPOU sponsors education and health care services in poverty-stricken Honduras, is proving herself to be quite a soccer star.

The HPOU Board of Directors has voted unanimously since 2012 to sponsor Ashly, whose family could not otherwise afford to send her to school. The sponsorship not only includes schooling and health care but also meals and uniforms through a missionary group, Hope for Honduras.

The focus of Hope is to make young children of the country productive citizens through education and, especially with the female population, counseling to prevent pregnancy. The academy is located in Megote, Honduras.

Amy Hunt, who has done missionary work in Honduras for about 10 years, saw Ashly in July and said, “She’s doing awesome. It’s so hard to tell her education level because their system is different from ours. She’s probably in the eighth grade and is making really good grades.

“She’s very much into soccer. One of the missionaries runs the girls’ soccer program there. If kids take an interest in (an extra-curricular activity), they try to work with them at what they excel in. Ashly is one of the best players.”

Hunt spoke to the girl through an interpreter and learned that Ashly “very much appreciates the HPOU for supporting her. It was translated to me how grateful she was. I could see the tears in her eyes.

“One of the teachers did not know she was supported by the Houston police union,” Hunt explained. “She didn’t realize it was the whole union that was supporting her. It was overwhelming to her to realize that it was not just one person but the entire union.”

There are two other individuals who also sponsor students at what is known as the Hope Academy. The Texas Police Trust’s Mike Mitchell and his wife Jill sponsor a male and a female student and – like Hunt – have positive reports from the academy.

The Mitchells set up the sponsorship at least four or five years ago. It has affected three students, including two current ones.

The boy and girl are both Ashly’s age and both enjoy soccer. Mitchell pointed out that he and Jill are very impressed with the overall goals of the academy. “One of the things I like the most is the training these children get to be leaders in Honduras. The goal is not to make them Americanized. The goal is to establish educated Christian people in Honduras to help lead that country.”

The Mitchells and Hunt receive a monthly academy newsletter which always includes a soccer report. Mitchell noted that the father of one of his sponsorships is a security guard at the academy. Basically, most families in the area never earn enough to get above the poverty level.

“There is a vast amount of poverty and gang violence,” Mitchell said. “It helps that they (the students) are isolated. This is a private school which isolates them from the bad influence.”