Gina Castaño who is on the board of directors for Children Beyond Our Borders, Inc. traveled to Popayan, Colombia, this past December to spend time with her family and spread the CBOB mission.
When Gina heard about the toy drive that CBOB was coordinating through Children Within Our Borders for the at-risk youth in Central Florida, she jumped at the opportunity to help bring this toy drive to Colombia. She placed collection boxes at the gyms where she teaches Zumba and her father’s office. She collected over 120 toys, which were distributed in Hospital Universitario San Jose, a public hospital in downtown Popayan.
“Popayan is a very small, Spanish-colonial town where my mom grew up and her family resides. Popayan is breathtakingly beautiful, yet it has a lot of poverty. I made the toy distribution a voluntary activity for my cousins and anyone else who wanted to join me. My sister, her boyfriend, my parents, and two of my cousins came with me to distribute the toys. The children we visited come from very humble families and were delighted and overjoyed to be receiving toys! It was a remarkable experience,” Gina said.
Gina joined the Children Beyond Our Borders family her freshman year at the University of Florida in 2009. She instantly fell in love with the the mission and vision of CBOB, while also being able to give back to her homeland, Colombia. Gina’s passion and dedication to CBOB has been unwavering since she joined in 2009. She once served as the President of the University of Florida student chapter. She even led a Bound For Peace trip to Cartagena in 2014, which is one of her most treasured memories.
“I was born in Cali, Colombia. I am proud to have been born there and to still consider Colombia my home! I am very blessed and grateful for all the opportunities I have been given here in the States, but Colombia calls to me in a way no other place has or will. There's something enchanting about my native land that attracts me to her time after time. I make it a plan to go back at least once a year, but if I could, I would make several trips throughout the year. My next trip to Colombia will be again, with CBOB and BFP this coming summer, and then I am planning on backpacking through cities I have yet to visit. My one suggestion to all: place all fabricated misconceptions about Colombia aside and experience it for yourself. You will be surprised at how much you will fall in love with its people, flavors, colors, and overall ability to make you smile,” said Gina.
Gina is currently pursuing a dual Master’s in Nonprofit Management and Public Administration at the University of Central Florida, so she can apply what she is learning to help CBOB grow and flourish.
Thank you, Gina, for all the wonderful work that you do!
"In Managua, Children Beyond Our Borders works with a community called San Isidro. The secondary school here runs a Fabretto program for kids where they integrate knowledge about agriculture and sustainability to their regular class subjects. The students run a farm and each class is responsible for a plot of land where they grow their own crops using the practices in their text materials. This allows the students not just the opportunity to share sustainable crop practices with their families, but they also get experience in running a business and marketing their products. The farm also has a program where the kids learn to raise their farm animals, all the way through the process of the slaughter, preparation, and sale.
Children Beyond Our Borders, Inc. experienced a phenomenal year in 2015, in which the CBOB family grew to include more members, interns, programs and partners.
The implementation of the community outreach program called Children Within Our Borders gave CBOB the opportunity to continuously live and give through our mission--to provide children with opportunities and to inspire and empower them to continue their education. CWOB raised hundreds of toys, threw Christmas parties, tutored, and fed hundreds of children and families in Alachua and Orlando. Sparked Pink, a spa for girls in Orlando, donated a spa day on Christmas Eve for 12 girls in our CWOB program in Orlando
Another highlight of 2015 was joining in partnership with the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in Orlando, which has helped CBOB grow!
CBOB hosted our second annual gala, Passport to Peace, at the Florida Hotel. Our partners from Walt Disney, Orlando City Soccer, and the Tampa Bay Rays among many generous others helped us raise thousands of dollars.
A new student chapter was established at Florida State University. The University of Florida student chapter hosted an extremely successful Hunger Awareness Day, which provided a powerful perspective on an important issue.
The success of CBOB in 2015 has resulted in even bigger goals for 2016.
For the first time, CBOB has elected a Public Relations Director. The position was given to Brittney Smith, a returning public relations intern who always went above and beyond for CBOB.
Brittney hopes to make CBOB’s social media and public relations as best as possible in 2016. She learned through interning in 2015 the importance of constant communication in order to achieve best results. She hopes to create a open work environment between all the interns, so everyone can be successful.
Thirteen of the interns from last semester chose to continue their internship, and we are so excited to see all the great things they will help CBOB accomplish.
“My goals for spring 2016 are to help make CBOB even bigger and better. CBOB has been growing exponentially, and I just want to be able to spread awareness and get people pumped up about helping both Children Beyond Our Borders and Children Within Our Borders. I know this semester we are going to accomplish so many great things. I'm so excited to see what comes next,” said Daniela Bulla, a returning intern.
CBOB has also welcomed 17 new interns to the VIP program, who are all eager to help CBOB be the best it can be in 2016.
“Some goals that I have for this position is to make sure my passion about education is shown through my actions. I want all of the volunteers to feel excited and well prepared for the service trips. Doing service work abroad not only helps the students in Latin America learn and grow, but it also helps the volunteers become more aware of the world that surrounds them. I want to ensure that the service trips abroad are the most memorable trips for both the students and the volunteers,” said Emalyn Deak, the new Bound For Peace training intern.
CBOB is starting a new student chapter at Florida International University in 2016, and we already have accepted interns at FIU, who can’t wait to help jump start CBOB at their school.
“My goals for this position in 2016 is to help as much as possible in making this organization successful and making a difference in the lives of the children that we help,“ said Matthew Hasbun, a FIU intern.