Webster University basketball player Chelsea Holman is spending part of her summer on a mission trip at the Helping Hands Academy in Roatan, Honduras. Holman (SR, Decherd, TN/Franklin County HS) is helping to teach children at the Academy and aiding the local community at large.
Holman, a forward for the Gorloks, is at the Helping Hands Academy courtesy of the Montana Scholarship Fund. The Academy was created in 2014 in the area of Colonia in Roatan. An English as a Second Language school, it was created because of the need in the highly populated area to give children a way to express themselves. Many children in the area are not capable of attending regular schools on the island. The Academy and those serving it are helping it constantly evolve in regards to the facility itself, and the education of the children.
Holman noted, "This experience has opened my eyes to a whole new world. The little things we take for granted, like a toothbrush, the children here are excited to receive it. The things we have in America they don't have here, like clean water, nor a washing machine to clean their clothes...they don't have any of that. Being here has been a humbling experience. It's heartbreaking just walking on the beach and seeing little kids out here selling bracelets and hats and things they made just to make a living for their family."
The Montana Fund has a two prong goal; to help children around the world, where others aren't providing assistance, and educating volunteers like Holman of how fortunate they truly are. The hope is not only to help provide education but for the children in these places to know that hope is always there. "Every Child Deserves an Opportunity" is their motto.
The Montana Scholarship Fund was started in 2008 when a large earthquake hit the James Yin Engineering School in China's Sichuan Providence. It helped rebuild the school and now funds 10 students each year to attend the private institution. James Yin receives no government assistance, so it has been a difficult journey for this rural area.
In 2013, on a trip to Honduras, Montana Rhoton asked how she could help a school in the area. The locals talked about a tribal island about 15 miles off shore, with no electricity or tourist of any kind. This small island of Cayos Cochinos has a population of 52 families and is on a barter (trading) system . There are two small islands, one having an area for young children to be educated and the other for the older ones. For an older child to attend school they must pay one U.S. dollar to take a boat to the opposite island. It is a great difficulty when currency is not circulated through out Cayos Cochinos. The answer was the Helping Hands Academy.
With more helpers like Holman, and donations to continue their work, hopefully the Academy will continue to reach its goals. You can learn more about the Montana Scholarship Fund and the Helping Hands Academy HERE.
STORY COURTESY OF WEBSTER UNIVERSITY SPORTS INFORMATION OFFICE