Online HDFS grad working to change lives of children in Honduras

Human Development and Family Studies online graduate Austin South talks with a young girl in Honduras as part of his work with Orphan Outreach.

A degree in Human Development and Family Studies can lead to all kinds of career paths. For Austin South, who earned his bachelor’s degree online from Colorado State University, it led to enriching his work with the nonprofit organization Orphan Outreach.

Orphan Outreach

South directs the organization’s Honduras program, assisting children who are orphaned or at risk of becoming orphaned. “We’re partnered with a school and orphanage in a very impoverished area, ridden with crime, drug trafficking, and street gangs,” South said. “We have full-time psychologists, we help with funding, we help with strategic planning, just kind of walking alongside that school and help carry out the vision that they have.”

South said some of the most exciting work he has done was partnering with the Honduran government to start a pilot foster care program.

“Foster care really doesn’t exist in Honduras,” said South. “But if you look at all the theories and the research, a lot of which I learned in the HDFS program, it says that the best place for a child to grow up is in a family environment. So, through foster care and really trying to promote domestic adoption in Honduras, we’re trying to get kids into the most conducive environment for development.”

Education elevates work

Although he had plenty of field experience before earning his degree, South said his education has given him so much more to draw from.

“If I hadn’t gone to CSU and if I hadn’t gotten a degree in human development and family studies, I think I wouldn’t be able to really be good at my job because I wouldn’t really know what I’m talking about,” said South. Now he says he is more prepared him to interact with governments, NGOs, and care providers.

Watch the video below to learn more about South and his work with children in Honduras.