Our Mission

El Hogar provides a quality education and a safe and nurturing home to children living in impoverished conditions in Honduras. Our goal is to break the cycle of poverty so that our students can fulfill their potential as productive and independent Honduran citizens.

Our Programs

Since 1979, El Hogar has been supporting children facing vulnerable situations to improve their lives.  We enable them to break the cycle of poverty and unemployment by providing them with a home, a nurturing environment, an education and a marketable trade. We operate several centers in Honduras, which include:

El Hogar de
Amor y Esperanza

Grades 1-6 – The Home of Love and Hope. Children are in academic classes through early afternoon and then attend enrichment workshops, play sports, learn traditional dance, and study music.

Director Claudia Castro heads the staff and the campus includes a dormitory, classrooms, dental clinic, kitchen and cafeteria, volunteer house, medical clinic, art room, bodega (storage), computer lab, administrative offices, and an auditorium. There is no chapel on the property, so children go to nearby St. Mary’s Episcopal Church on Sunday mornings.

Instituto Tecnico Santa Maria

Grades 7-12 – The Technical Institute (ITSM) is a residential campus providing students with a traditional academic curriculum as well as vocational training in metalwork, woodwork and electricity. There is a chapel and an auditorium on campus that are used for all-school events and also made available to the community.

The campus includes a kitchen and dining hall, dormitory, classrooms, and administrative offices.

Escuela Agricola de
Amor y Esperanza

Our working farm provides vegetables and protein for out centers. The farm includes acres of beans, corn, greens, bananas, mangos, and other vegetables and fruits. Yony Aguilera maintains and operates the farm year round. Students enjoy visits to the farm to see animals and learn where their produce, dairy and other food is sourced from. 

El Hogar Dental Clinic

Located on the campus of Hogar de Amor y Esperanza, El Hogar runs a dental clinic that provides free preventive and restorative dental care to all the students enrolled in El Hogar Projects as well as their families, a primary care service often inaccessible through the public system.  The primary goal of El Hogar’s dental clinic is to ensure that our students develop a long-lasting, healthy smile that will improve their overall health. During the school year, El Hogar performs more than 150 dental cleanings, monthly dental hygiene education, fluoride treatments and fillings and extractions when necessary.   Since 2015 El Hogar has partnered with Advent Health Sharing Smiles to support the year-round functioning of our dental clinic.

Discover a place
where hope has a home

Our Origins

It started in 1979 with five young boys living on the streets of Tegucigalpa, Honduras. Five members of the local Episcopal Church wanted to do something about child homelessness in the capital city. They rented a house, took in those five boys and nurtured and cared for them. With that, El Hogar de Amor y Esperanza was born.

In the years since, nearly 1,000 students have graduated from El Hogar, which has grown to include three campuses: an elementary school, a Technical Institute, and the Agricultural School.


Honduras: Vibrant and Challenging

Denise Vargas, Executive Director in Honduras reflects on the culture and context of our home.

Whenever I say I´m from Honduras, I tend to lean forward as if to speak its name with my whole body:  so much to cradle in a single word.  If only I could say, I´m from a land that soars and plunges in every shade of blue, like our mountains into shores.  Blue like the endless morning skies that glide gently over jagged rooftops.  Indigo like the small-town bridges that bow over dried-up rivers.  Teal like our untold stories.  Every part of us and every corner of this country, from the bold pink bougainvilleas to the deep green of our pine trees, every single thing of beauty here carries a hint of violet from a mother´s tears or an old man´s struggle.  It´s what makes our country real and magical, fierce and generous, impossible to define, but infinite to experience. 

Honduras is a remarkably diverse land of raw beauty and ageless mystery.  Within a few kilometers one can travel centuries: climb the wooden steps of Comayagua´s cathedral and sync your heart to the oldest working clock in the world, or dive into one of the Mayan tunnels to feel your pulse race as you near the Sepulturas.  From the height of rainforests to the depths of coral reefs, Honduras is a box within a box of contrasts.  A country bursting with vibrant, colorful traditions, kept alive in legends, poems and songs.  A place to experience simple pleasures: stopping by the side of the road to taste freshly made tortillas and cuajada is a hammock for the soul.  A land where adventures lure everywhere, in unexplored caves, ruffled waters, or simply in a casual stroll along the city markets where there´s no limit to what one can encounter. 

The same contrasts reside in our people.  Anyone visiting our country will be drawn to our campechano personalities: in general, Hondurans are welcoming, opinionated, ingenious and kind.  We boast hundreds of unique expressions and peculiar gestures that make any Honduran recognizable to another without speaking a word.  But we are also formidably complicated: we house corruption, hopelessness, indifference, intolerance and severe injustice.  Over 60% of Hondurans live and die in poverty, without adequate access to basic services such as education or healthcare.  Our institutions are weak, our political views grow increasingly polarized with the majority of our citizens lacking opportunities, and hope.

El Hogar embraces the beauty of our country´s reality, while remaining deeply aware of its challenges.  Our goal is to provide quality residential and educational services for impoverished youth so that they can lead their lives with the hope of a better future.  We believe that human potential is unlimited, and our mission is to empower local children and staff and provide the necessary ground for their best selves to blossom.   Deep inside, Honduras is simply a unique combination of beautiful extremes, concentrated in a noble country with a heavy name that we honor as our collective identity.

Meet our staff

Our schools in Honduras are run by a dedicated staff of administrators, counselors and teachers. All of our Directors and staff in Honduras are Honduran, except for the Coordinator of North American Relations

Teachers and staff work closely with our students to give them not only a rich education, but also a sense of pride in themselves and caring for others.

Denise Vargas
Executive Director in Honduras

The Rev. Matthew Engleby
Chief Strategy Officer
in Honduras

Lazaro Juarez
Director of El Hogar Technical Institute
Sub-Executive Director of El Hogar Projects

Claudia Castro
Director of El Hogar de Amor y Esperanza, our Elementary School program

Yony Aguilera
Director of the El Hogar Agricultural School

Erika Skafel
Coordinator of North American Relations

The Right Rev. Lloyd Allen
Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Honduras

El Hogar is a mission of the Episcopal Diocese of Honduras.

Tim Monroe
Executive Director
El Hogar Ministries
in North America

Candy Beckwith
Administrative Assistant/Donations Coordinator in North America  

Our board

The Rt. Rev. Lloyd Allen
Ex-Officio Board Member

Lloyd Allen is the Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Honduras. Prior to serving as Bishop, Rev. Allen was the rector of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

The Rt. Rev. Robert J. O’Neill
President Emeritus

Rob served as the Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Colorado until his retirement in 2019. He is a graduate of Texas Christian University and Berkeley Divinity School at Yale. He was ordained to the priesthood of the Episcopal Church in 1982 at Saint John’s Cathedral in Denver where he served for ten years, first as Canon Educator and then as acting Dean of the Cathedral. In 1991, he became the rector of The Parish of the Epiphany in Winchester, MA, where he served until 2002 when he became Bishop.

Rebecca Taylor
President

Becky joined the board in January 2015, having been a longtime supporter of El Hogar. She has a 30 year career in Christian formation ministry, serving first as a volunteer and, since 2001, as a paid professional Christian educator in the Episcopal Church. She recently retired from All Saints Parish, Brookline, MA, as their Director of Children’s, Youth & Family Ministries. Becky has led several youth mission teams to the farm school in Talanga, Honduras. She and her husband, Steve, a former El Hogar board member, live in Wellesley, MA.

Christi James
Board Member

Christi joined the board in 2015 and is a longtime supporter of El Hogar. She is an award-winning educator with over 30 years of experience in teaching various grades and subjects, which have included Spanish. She also serves in various capacities with a number of community organizations, which includes her current designation as Outreach Commission Chair for Christ Episcopal Church in Denver, CO. She currently resides in Denver, CO.

Kristin Mullin
Board Member

Kris joined the board in 2017 after having led several youth and adult trips to El Hogar beginning in 2007. She is a graduate of Miami University (OH) and has a degree in Accounting. She has worked in both public and private accounting, and is currently consulting as a Family Office manager/accountant. She is an active volunteer at her church, St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church, as well as serving in various capacities for other community organizations. She and her husband, Steve, live in Cincinnati, Ohio.


Denise Sharp
Board Member

Denise joined the board in 2018. She has volunteered with El Hogar for many years, with multiple visits to El Hogar with Service Teams, primarily to the agricultural school. She lives in Maryland on a multi-generation farm, where she and her family farm. She has found her passion in outreach and service in the area of agriculture and education. Denise is an active member of the parish of St Andrew’s Glenwood, MD.

Denise Chew
Treasurer

Denise joined the board in 2020.  She is a scientist by training and artist at heart and has extended her disciplined methodology of creative problem solving into the fields of enterprise management, managerial accounting, and finance.  In her profession she is passionate about the development of entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial businesses and seeks to facilitate growth.  She holds an MBA from the F.W. Olin Graduate School of Business at Babson College, an MS in Applied Physics from NJIT/Rutgers and a BS in Physics from Eastern Nazarene College.   In her personal life she is passionate about service, community, and the development/restoration of economic sustainability for marginalized persons – specifically disadvantaged kids and the homeless. Denise is an active member of All Saints Parish in Brookline, MA. 

Pamela Kniss
Board Member

Pamela joined the board in 2019. She became an ardent supporter of El Hogar after her first visit to the elementary campus in Tegucigalpa in 2017. She was a teacher of middle and high school students with special needs for 30 years and currently serves as Director of Sales for a travel company she started in 1992. She is a member of St. John’s Cathedral, Denver where she devoted 11 years as a leader/facilitator for the middle and high school youth. Pamela lives in Aurora, CO.

David Hennessy
Board Member

Dave joined the board in 2019. He is a Senior Vice President with Keystone Partners and consults on employee transitions/outplacement and advises organizations on robust leadership development and executive coaching programs. A member of NEHRA’s Board of Directors, Dave also serves on the Board of Commissioners for the Reading Municipal Light Department, a municipal utility serving 29,000 customers in four towns north of Boston. He holds an MBA from Boston University’s Questrom School of Business and a BS in Mathematics and Philosophy from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He and his wife, Amy, a former El Hogar volunteer, reside in Reading, MA, with their teenage son.

Peter Cross
Board Member

Peter joined the board in 2020. Peter has more than 40 years of experience in health and education development in some of the world’s poorest nations, including Honduras. His work has focused on increasing access to services, promoting program efficiency, and loosening resource constraints. He currently serves as the President of Innovative Development Expertise & Advisory Services, Inc. (IDEAS), a small business seeking news ways to strengthen health systems in underserved populations throughout the world. He lives in the Boston area

Canadian Board

El Hogar Projects (Canada) is a registered charity that raises funds in Canada to support the work of El Hogar Projects in Honduras. It is based in Toronto, and is run by a volunteer board of 10 members. 


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