Born on December 6, 1998, Heidy Carolina Avila Espinal spent her early years with her mother and grandmother in a small town near Tegucigalpa. In 2009, she lost her mother to AIDs, leaving Carolina in the care of her grandmother. When her grandmother grew unable to care for Carolina, she moved to Villa Nueva to live with her aunt and cousins. Although her aunt worked long hours to provide for her family, she was simply unable to provide the amount of resources needed to support her family plus Carolina. When Carolina’s aunt came to a neighbor for help, she was introduced to POI. Through this newly formed relationship, Carolina was able to move into a home with 14 other children in the POI family.
Over the years, Carolina has become a part of the POI family. Through POI, she has received an education which allows her to pursue whatever she puts her mind to. POI has not only given opportunities but also hope. In the year 2016, Carolina and two other members of the POI family reached their 18th birthday. In the country of Honduras, once a child turns 18, they are no longer legally allowed to live in a home with younger children. These new adults must move out of the home and all of a sudden, they must try to figure out how to live on their own. They often end up back in the very environments from which they came. Because of this growing need, POI has ventured to create a solution for the problem, a Transitional Home. This newly founded step allows those who have lived in a POI home to continue their education in a safe and secure environment once they have aged out of the system.
This is exactly what Carolina is doing! We are proud to announce that she has graduated high school and is currently enrolled in college, majoring as a food and beverage technician. Carolina also attends a private culinary school where she will eventually become a certified sous chef! Her current education and dedication allows her to work her way to become a head chef. She is already an amazing cook and enjoys making food for her POI family.
-What is your favorite meal to make?
Chicken with a tomato based sauce. Since I began culinary school I have been taught how to make various sauces. I absolutely love to make sauces!
-How did graduating high school make you feel?
In my previous years of schooling I never really gave it my best. Ana then told me that we need to be intentional about what we do. I then decided to challenge myself and give it my all. By graduation day I had accomplished my goal. Although I was sad that my mother wasn’t there to celebrate with me, I enjoyed spending the day with the people I loved.
What are the most important lessons you have learned during a year in the transitional house?
I have learned to make decisions thinking towards my future. Those around me have taught me to take responsibility for my actions and truly become intentional about what I do in life. I have learned to set goals and how important it is to work to achieve them.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
My dream is to become a chef doing international cuisine. Someday I would like to visit France where the Culinary Institute has a study abroad program. This practicum is only given to students who have academic excellence. And that is what I am striving for!