We are approaching the start of a new school year, one that will undoubtedly be full of new and unprecedented changes. One of our goals at CBOB is to provide students with the educational resources they need, such as laptops, backpacks and school supplies, to be successful in their academic endeavors. Because of this, we are currently running a Sponsor a Child’s Backpack Campaign that strives to use every $15 donation to provide a student in Alachua County with a backpack full of school supplies (to donate, visit: http://www.chbob.org/sponsor-a-childs-backpack.html).
We are also raising money for students’ laptops, an effort we strive to emphasize due to the digital divide, a gap between those who have access to technology and the Internet and those who do not. This technological disparity feeds into the achievement gap of low-income students, a gap that has only gotten worse with the effects of COVID-19. Below we have shared an essay by one of our CWOB students that showcases just how prevalent this issue is and how one technological device can make a world of a difference in a student’s education:
“Children Beyond Our Borders has helped me and my family so much over the past five years, and I am so thankful for the opportunities it has opened for me. I have three younger siblings and one older brother. My older brother was not able to continue his education because he had to work to support us. I am determined to graduate high school, go to college and use my education to help my family and give back to the community. As I begin my freshman year, I know that I have learned so much and that I can count on CWOB to help me through the challenges I will face. My mother does not speak English very well, so weekly tutoring was vital to my academic success and mentorship inspired me to work hard to become the first person in my family to go to college. The workshops also helped me explore my interests and passions outside of school and helped me develop my goals for the future. Due to COVID-19, the transition to online learning has been especially hard for my family as we did not have internet access and share two cell phones, the only technological devices we can connect to from home. If we had access to laptops, my siblings and I would be able to complete online assignments, research projects and extracurricular learning activities from our home rather than needing to walk across town to the public library. Many teachers take access to technology for granted and assume that all students have devices, which puts people like me at an educational disadvantage. As we grow into a more modern society, technology is becoming tied to academic and life success. To empower through education is impossible without the ability to provide material support in terms of technological access.”
We have also included several resources below that go into further detail regarding what the digital divide is and how it affects low-income communities. We highly encourage you to visit and share these resources. Help us create a better and equal world for every student to succeed. Contact us if interested in donating for laptops, and don’t forget to donate a backpack for this next school year!
To view how the digital divide has affected families such as the ones we serve, check out this video on YouTube: To read more about the digital divide, check out this article: To read more about the digital divide and how it has worsened with COVID-19, check out these articles:
The racial issues happening within our country show that there is still an incredible amount of work that must be done in order to bring forth true equality. As our diversity and inclusion statement says, at Children Beyond Our Borders, Inc. we are committed to celebrating diversity of every kind, in the children we serve and the people within our ranks who serve them. Every child, student, intern and member – whatever their race, gender, age, gender identity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, religious or political beliefs, ethnicity, physical and mental ability, nationality, spirituality, cultural identity or military status – has the right to inclusion, belonging and respect. We aim to create an environment in which all members of the CBOB community feel empowered to be their true authentic selves. Because of this, we feel it important to discuss what is going on, and how we can help.
What is “Black Lives Matter”?
The Black Lives Matter movement (BLM) was created in response to police brutality and the disproportionate of violence and discrimination Black communities face. Its purpose is to combat the racism that is deeply embedded in our society and dismantle the institutions that perpetuate anti-Blackness, as well as demand justice for the lives lost to police brutality.
What is Systemic Racism?
Systemic racism refers to the forms of Black oppression that are rooted in our everyday thinking and ways of operating in societal institutions. For example, the disparities in things such as access to health care, education, income and employment among others reveal that systemic racism is prevalent to how our society functions.
Picture credits: @cheskatanglao on Instagram
Why are people protesting?
In short, the people are tired. We live in a society where the killing of Black people has become normalized and excusable. The protests are a way to demand justice and to commit to dismantling the system that has belittled and oppressed the Black community for far too long.
What is White Privilege?
White privilege refers to the advantages and benefits that those who are White experience versus those who are non-White. For example, if you are able to easily find shows, magazines, articles, etc. that show people who look like you, you may have White privilege. If most products on the market are geared towards you, you may have White privilege. If you don’t face discrimination frequently because of the color of your skin, you may have white privilege. It is important to note that having white privilege does not mean you do not face other issues, difficulties or worries in life – it simply means your skin tone is not one of them.
What Can We Do?
There are many steps we can take to fighting for racial equality and justice. It is our duty to educate ourselves and be the change we wish to see by taking real action moving forward. While sharing posts on social media and showcasing our support can be beneficial to a certain extent, how can we take it further? How can we prevent this issue from dying out and continuing in a repetitive cycle? Read. Speak up. Get uncomfortable and talk to others who may not understand. Actions speak louder than words, and it’s the way we use our voice and power in ways that truly matter that will make us better allies for this cause. Below are some resources that we at CBOB have been using, and that we believe can assist you in educating yourself and others on the journey to change.
For educators who seek to teach and spark discussions about racial bias and systemic racism, this link provides a list of resources to help you get started (created by Alyssa Klein): https://www.tolerance.org/moment/racism-and-police-violence
For English-speakers who want resources such as films, TV series, podcasts, books, articles and organizations that discuss anti-racism (created by Gabriela Kovate Sanchez): https://docs.google.com/document/d/1BRlF2_zhNe86SGgHa6-VlBO-QgirITwCTugSfKie5Fs/mobilebasic
For Spanish-speakers who want resources such as films, TV series, podcasts, books, articles and organizations that discuss anti-racism: https://docs.google.com/document/u/0/d/1DbS6Q9oSfLbShmkNrkTgaDVHGedpYrCI-Pq6RDUcYrY/mobilebasic
Our student chapters are a huge part of who we are. We are incredibly grateful for everything they do to spread CBOB's message. Their hard work makes a huge difference in the communities they serve.
Our UF Chapter
The UF Chapter of CBOB is involved with many fun activities and events throughout each semester. For general body meetings, members meet once a month to share updates and opportunities and work together to think of new ways to fundraise or plan an event for the children they work with. Their socials are also monthly and include food, interactive games, movies, and bonding! This is when they get to know each other and de-stress from the busy school week. The best way they are able to spread the word about the organization is by tabling on campus. It's a great way for the Executive Board and chapter members to participate in the UF community and let students know about the programs they offer and the difference they are making.
Libros de Familia
The UF Chapter offers a tutoring program called Libros de Familia, where a group of 2 to 3 students is paired with a Hispanic family in the community, and there is a 1:1 tutor to tutee session held weekly. Libros de Familia is an amazing experience for both the members and the children and families they are able to work with. Many members have said they often feel like they become part of the family they are paired with. This program offers Hispanic children the opportunity to have their very own tutor who wants them to academically succeed and is also there for them as a friend. Libros de Familia is a program UF CBOB is very proud of and hopes to continue the future.
Monday Night Tutoring
Another tutoring opportunity UF CBOB members are involved with is CWOB's Monday night tutoring, where the tutors and tutees meet every Monday for their tutoring session. A few of their members have been a part of CWOB for a couple of years now and have formed a true bond with their tutee. UF CBOB members also volunteer for the health clinics provided by Children Beyond Our Borders as well as help to fundraise for them.
COVID Fundraising Event
The UF Chapter of CBOB, along with 25 other UF organizations, was recently able to be part of the #ComeTogether movement for COVID-19 as a way to continue making a difference while staying home. This movement raised $35,621 for the CDC Emergency Response Fund. As a chapter, they are very thankful to join such a wonderful movement and look forward to being part of more in the future.
Spreading the Word
UF Chapter's VP of PR, Iman Whyte, put together a video where she went around campus asking UF students questions related to their education; this was something that some of their members were able to be part of. The video served to strengthen the mission of CBOB and show how great the importance of education is and that education does truly equal empowerment.
Our UCF Chapter
UCF CBOB also has biweekly UCF CBOB member meetings where they create children activities for the students at Engelwood community center to enjoy.
Englewood Neighborhood TutoringThe UCF CBOB Chapter dedicates the majority of their time to their tutoring program at Engelwood Neighborhood Center. Every Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday of both Fall 2019 and Spring 2020, there were around 30 CBOB tutors who dedicated at least one day a week to their students, tutoring them in subjects such as math, reading, and science. All of the students tutored by UCF CBOB are victims of either homelessness, abuse/neglect, poverty, social injustice, or relocation due to hurricane Maria.
Education Empowerment Workshops
UCF CBOB also hosts monthly education empowerment workshops for children and their families at Engelwood Community Center and created/taught educational health activities to children of uninsured farmers in Apopka who were being seen by UCF Medical's MedPACT clinic.
We are so excited that our CBOB team is ever growing! Meet the new additions to the team!
Briana Fletcher is the Service Trip Director at CBOB. She was born in Palo Alto, CA, but grew up in Gainesville, FL. She has often thought about the quote "think global, act local." However, she has found herself striving to identify conscious actions she can take that transcend borders and operate on a global scale. CBOB and the Bound for Peace trips represent a way of thinking and a commitment to mindful actions that do just that in the context of Colombia and Latin America at large. She is most looking forward to opportunities to translate what she have learned from her global experiences as an undergraduate, and to enhance her Spanish language proficiency.
Rahma Mkuu is the Health Initiatives Director for CBOB. She is originally from Kenya but has been in the US for 15 years. She also says she is from Bell, Florida, a lovely community in Gilchrist County, north of Gainesville. CBOB to her is an opportunity to contribute to working towards ensuring that vulnerable children and their families have access to resources that will allow them to have a better quality of life in order to pursue their dreams. CBOB is made up incredible volunteers who are all passionate and CBOB is a place where people are joining together to make a world a place where access to education and health resources is not reflective on socioeconomic status. She is most looking forward to working with the team to ensure that everyone in the community, regardless of immigration status, receive basic health care services and resources. She looks forward to increasing knowledge about our health fairs and working with the community to identify the best avenues and resources to provide. She hopes to increase the number of people who access our resources. She looks forward to working with the team and community to identify ways to increase the number of people who access our health fairs and receive the resources they need.
Emily Santiana is originally from Ecuador, yet also considers herself to be from Tarpon Springs, Florida. She is CBOB’s new Education Director and could not be more excited. This organization’s mission spoke to her and her passion to create educational opportunities and therefore, she hopes to contribute to its noble cause of equitable education. She aspires to expand the educational component of CBOB by growing our resources, capabilities, and programs for the benefit of more students now and in the future. As a CBOB team member, she is most looking forward to seeing our efforts being reflected in the community and the futures of the students we serve.
Rayanah Mkuu is an Administrative intern at Children Beyond our Borders. She grew up in Bell, FL but her family is from Kenya. CBOB means a lot to her. More specifically it means giving a helping hand and maintaining positivity to those who are disadvantaged. She believes these people are looking towards the light at the end of the tunnel and CBOB means making sure they have the opportunities to get to it. As a CBOB team member she looks forward to seeing CBOB in action firsthand and getting more involved. She hope to shed more light on the organization and work to expand it.
Kindy Michael is a Grant Writing intern at CBOB. She was born in Canada but moved to Florida when she was very young and grew up there. To her, CBOB means empowering children and giving them the resources that they need to be successful. As a CBOB team member, she is most looking forward to working with a team of compassionate people, toward the goal of expanding our community and helping children to succeed academically. She hopes to help CBOB expand its resources, while continuing to see the growth of this incredible organization.
Isabel Zorn will begin her position as Operations Director on May 1. She is from Sea Cliff, New York. To her, CBOB means recognizing that the resources and education that some people are fortunate enough to have is not easily accessible to everyone. Being apart of CBOB means that she can help those who are less fortunate with their educational opportunities, which she believes should be available to all people equally. She is most looking forward to being able to meet all of the people that CBOB strives to help and to be able to see the positive difference it will make in peoples lives. By working with CBOB she hopes that as a team we can accomplish expanding our outreach to more and more students each year!
Angela Shar is currently a Public Relations and Social Media intern at CBOB. She is from Leesburg, Florida but was born in Canada. To Angela, CBOB means opening up opportunities to those that may not readily have them and encouraging others to seek their highest potential. She most looks forward to working with other like-minded individuals to create an environment where dreams are achieved, whether it is through education or career goals. She hopes to impact CBOB by bringing innovative ideas to increase its presence.
Gabriela Perez is a Public Relations and Social Media intern. She is from Toa Alta, Puerto Rico and loves CBOB! It has been very exciting and therapeutic thus far, especially during this time of social distancing and isolation. She really enjoys getting to do things related to social media so it’s been fun getting to work on different projects for our distinct platforms, especially when knowing that it’s helping raise awareness of CBOB’s mission! She cannot wait to start being more hands-on with different CBOB events once this quarantine is over. What she most hopes to accomplish during her time as an intern at CBOB is to increase social awareness of the incredible work being done here to change the lives of kids and scholars, not only in Colombia but in other parts of the world as well.
Julie Marciante is a Public Relations and Social Media intern for CBOB. She was raised in Boca Raton, FL, and moved to Gainesville to start her undergraduate studies at UF in 2017. CBOB’s mission to aid children facing adversities and social injustices through education and empowerment inspires her to do her part in making a difference in the world. She is so excited to be a part of a team with such a moving and uplifting vision, and she hopes to use her experiences with CBOB to propel her into working in the nonprofit field post-graduation. As a CBOB intern, she looks forward to using her skills and knowledge of public relations to elevate the organization, expand its reach, and in turn, increase its ability to change children’s lives.
Wafaa Ateyah is the new Development Director. Her parents are originally from Egypt, but she was born and raised in Gainesville, Florida. CBOB means family - whether it's the CBOB team or the children in the community. As a family, it means that we aim to empower each other and the people around us and advocate for the rights and needs of others. As a CBOB member, she is most looking forward to giving back and helping empower children to empower themselves, advocating for children who are often silenced, and being a part of a family that aims to build relationships and break down barriers. As the new Development Director, she hopes to assist CBOB in expanding its reach, coming up with innovative ways to sustain our current programs, expand future endeavors, and have the opportunity to work with a compassionate and passionate team who aspire to lead with empathy.
My name is Valentina Lopez Rincon, I am 21 years old and I am studying Human Resources. I became an IAMCBOB Scholar in 2018. The scholarship has helped me a lot financially through the course of my studies with transportation, food, supplies, and more. More than this, it has helped me improve my capacity to serve and to help those who need it, share my abilities, and to do things with love. I was motivated to go to college because I have a desire to continue learning and growing professionally. I would also like to help my family financially in the future. I chose this career because I found all the topics that it covers and all the things you can learn about a business very interesting, as well as the human aspect that this career entails, and the opportunity to improve personally and professionally. When I finish my career, I want to specialize in Human Resources to increase my knowledge and be able to exercise this career. The plan is to continue improving and studying so I can help my family in every aspect.
My name is Erik Johani Mejia Uribe, I am 26 years old and I am studying Biological Engineering. I became an IAMCBOB Scholar in 2011. The scholarship has helped me support myself and my monthly expenses. It has also helped me with 75% of my university financial necessities, including tuition every semester and monthly expenses. I really like biological sciences, and academic areas that are not common in everyday, life like molecular biology, immunology, and microbiology. My plans are to enroll in an entity where I can implement informatic tools coupled with genetics to study bioinformatics. If this is not possible, I would also like to do biochemical analyses or analyses in areas that align with my interests. My ideal job is to be in a field where I can learn about the things that surround me and work hard to maintain the ecosystems alive without harmful interferences. I would like to do pro-conservation work, teaching everything I can to contribute to human growth, and I would add a lot of research because I like knowing the reasons behind everything.
My name is Luisa Bedoya Castrillón, I am 22 years old and I am studying to obtain a Bachelor's degree in Literature and Spanish with a double degree in Hispanic Philology. I became an IAMCBOB Scholar in 2017. The IAMCBOB Scholar scholarship is a great help to continue studying; it’s a great opportunity to not give up, in spite of the financial difficulties. The scholarship allows me to pay for the expenses of an average student in a public university in Colombia, such as, transportation, photocopies, books, and food. The scholarship also allows me a permanent cultural exchange by staying in contact with the director of CBOB. I believe that education is the only way to create a society that thinks and fights for change. A college education allows me to break barriers and interact with all types of people. In addition to starting a job in the future, I would like to do a master’s degree in a subject related to linguistics. I would also like to do an exchange, whether it's to perfect a second language or to expand my academic knowledge. I would like to start working as a Spanish teacher at a public high school in my city. Additionally, I would like to work in other fields, editing texts in magazines, newspapers, editorials, and promoting reading or teaching Spanish as a foreign language.
My name is Jeison Alexander Orrego Togo, I am 24 years old and I am studying Civil Engineering. I became an IAMCBOB Scholar in 2012. Apart from financial support, the scholarship has connected me to incredible people, from which I have learned thousands of great things for my life. I decided to continue with my studies because of my desire to help my family have a better future and give them a better life. I chose this career because since I was 13 years old, I have worked in construction with my dad and I liked the art behind it. After finishing my career I hope to start my own business in construction and obtain an education past undergraduate. My ideal job would be one in which I can dedicate time to my family and friends, and at the same time offer employment to other people. In five years I see myself in a farm outside of Medellín, waking up every day to my own company and seeing my family live without any concerns.
My name is Andrea Milena Cano Monsalve. I am 18 years old and I am doing my studies at the technical college in commercial and operational support in financial entities. I became an IAMCBOB Scholar in 2017 and I am very grateful for this scholarship because I see more opportunities to make my dreams come true. Initially, the scholarship helped me with school supplies, food, and transportation. It helped me pay for an entrance exam required for the UdeA. Unfortunately, I was very close to passing it and now the scholarship helps me pay for technical school. Thanks to the scholarship program my dreams are more clear and I have the possibility to achieve them, and that makes me very happy! The program has never denied us help and is always there for us. I chose to study International Business because I want to learn about how businesses operate, new international markets, other cultures, and how to create new commercial strategies that are viable for a company. I started with this career because this is a way for me to learn about my interest in businesses and everything that makes them successful. After graduating I hope to have a good job, start my own business based on my studies, give my family what we have not had until now, and start a small foundation to help kids and young adults that have been victims of violence.
Several times a year, Children Beyond Our Borders organizes a free clinic that aims to promote and support the overall well-being of the Hispanic community in North Central Florida through a wide range of services. These services range from medical, dental, social, legal, educational, and so much more.
These services would not be possible without our generous donors. Thank you to all of our donors for your support that helps to further our mission. Your donations allow us to continue to help the community and assure everyone has access to healthcare.
Because of our donors, our Winter Immigrant Health Clinic on December 7, 2019, was a success. Thank you again to all our donors. It is because of you that we are able to execute this event as it continues to grow.
Our next clinic will be in Alachua County on March 21. We hope to see you there!
“Great opportunities to help others seldom come, but small ones surround us every day.”
– Sally Koch
As fall turns to winter and the holiday season approaches, families in different communities may struggle to afford Christmas presents for their children.
The UF Chapter of Children Beyond Our Borders is hosting a toy drive until December 1 and accepting donations from all members. Specifically, toys that can help children learn are in demand. One of CBOB’s missions is “providing educational tools that stimulate self-esteem, interest, curiosity, and innovation through our mentoring and vocational education program.” With donations from the community, the right toys can serve as educational tools for children to learn in a fun way!
What better way to help a child pick up new vocabulary and learn how to spell than Scrabble? This popular board game may be helpful when trying to practice English with children. Not only will they be challenged to form their own words, but they will also be able to learn from your example through the words that you create.
Play Cash Register
Children are expected to reach different milestones in their math skills as they grow older. One way to have fun while practicing math is with a play cash register! Kids can learn how to add, subtract, and handle money. At the same time, they will learn real-life skills that can be applied in the future when buying groceries from the store.
Get kids to play outside with the gift of a soccer ball! A game of soccer can help build new friendships with other children while also fostering teamwork. Along with soccer balls, any other toys that can promote exercise and physical activity, like jump ropes, would be beneficial for the children.
With the right tools, children can learn from play. Toy drives are a great way to help your community, and charities around the nation are facilitating them. The Toys for Tots program, run by the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, has gathered toy donations for children since 1947. To date, there have been 566 million toys distributed and 258 children supported by Toys for Tots. Through the UF Children Beyond Our Borders toy drive, children who might not have otherwise had access to educational toys will have the chance to receive a great present this year. Donate to the UF chapter of Children Beyond Our Borders by turning in toys at any UF chapter event or by emailing email@example.com to set up a meeting.
Here's the link to see the acceptable toys that can be donated: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Vv9DXwVSmD2eeC_BJgX_q92YSTqB-AKf58MIPXGGAUg/edit
With August comes a few inevitabilities: hot weather, crowded malls, and another back to school season. For many children around the world, though, the last one isn’t so inevitable.
According to a 2016 report by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), approximately 263 million children and youth are out of school around the world. This is especially prevalent in regions such as sub-Saharan Africa, where almost 60% of youth aged 15-17 are not in school. Armed conflict also plays a large part in this statistic: 35% of primary aged children, 25% of lower secondary aged children, and 18% of upper secondary aged children who are not in school live in conflict-affected areas.
Gender also still remains an issue when it comes to equal education for children. Girls are more likely than boys to never step foot in a classroom: 15 million girls will never get the chance to learn to read and write in primary school compared to 10 million boys. These gaps are even wider in the poorest regions of the world. These education deficits have wide-reaching implications for women, from lower employment wages to higher child mortality rates.
This issue is even prevalent in our own nation. Children Beyond Our Borders is committed to the belief that every child deserves to have an education, regardless of social status, race or gender. This back to school season, remember that education = empowerment. Add yourself to the equation with our organization.
"Education = Empowerment. Add Yourself to the Equation." At Children Beyond Our Borders, we see this over and over again. But have you ever stopped to think about what it truly means?
Ever since our conception in 2003, we have been dedicated to fight the social injustices around the world with the best tool we can offer: education. Malcolm X, an American human rights activist during the Civil Rights Movements, says that education is “the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.” It’s an incredible tool, recognized globally by organizations such as the United Nations, to end trends of violence and displacement.
However, it isn’t easily accessible for many children, both inside and outside the United States. Some simply can’t find a way to get to school; they walk miles upon miles to get to school and come back home, constantly exhausted from what they have to do. Others may not have the time and need to help support their family to barely meet the bare necessities for them to survive. A lot of children also may not even know how important education is to them. There are so many difficult situations that lead to education not becoming a priority to children around the world, which only adds to the continuous social injustice throughout the word.
That’s where we try to step in. We highlight these issues, bringing awareness to international problems through our social media and workshops. We venture out, traveling under our Bound For Peace service trip to interact directly with those in need of our help and support. We inspire others, becoming role models to those who need someone to look up to. We provide hope, giving a brighter future for those who deserve it.
Education = Empowerment. But it isn’t as easy as writing down an equation. We need to add ourselves to the equation so we all can look forward to a better, empowered world.
Children Beyond Our Borders wishes everyone a happy and safe 4th of July. Independence can be defined as being strong and able to survive alone, not having to depend on anyone or anything else. As we celebrate the declaration of independence of the United States, CBOB also celebrates the lives we have changed by giving the youth an education, in order to become empowered and independent.
One of the greatest feelings is helping people who sometimes can’t help themselves. Whether that be through providing education, creating awareness, and even establishing relationships. We love getting messages from those who have been impacted through the work we’ve done, even in the slightest way.
We received a message from someone in Cartagena and this is what he said, “good evening, I belonged to CBOB Cartagena some time ago, and thank you for existing, what great work you do thanks to CBOB and the group of volunteers you have helped me grow as a person.”
At CBOB, we will continue to make it our mission to provide the tools and resources to those who need it most, because everyone deserves the same opportunity for a bright future. Nelson Mandela once said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”