CBOB members come together for a weekend of team building activities to create unity and prepare for the new semester.
By: Micayla Kinder
On Saturday, the Children Beyond Our Borders team headed to Davenport, Florida, for their summer Member Retreat! Both returning and new VIP interns were present as well as executive-board members from the UCF and UF chapters. The retreat began at around 10 a.m. Saturday with the interns getting the opportunity to talk and get to know each other better. The VIP interns work together virtually, so the face-to-face interaction and quality time that the members got to have was very valuable and important for creating unity and establishing relationships to improve the communication that takes place for CBOB on a regular basis. Those attending the retreat were split into four teams: the pink team, the blue team, the green team and the purple team. Each group had a team captain and teams worked together throughout the day for several fun outdoor activities!
The sun was full ablaze as the teams walked outside and prepared themselves for the competition.The first game of the day was a high energy balloon stomp game. The game got heated and the competition was close, but in the end the blue team was victorious! The next activity was a friendly game of Tug-of-war. Though every team did their best, the green team won by a landslide (pun intended). The CBOB members then took a lunch/pool break and got to spend some time conversing. After a few brief conversations with people I was amazed to see how diverse the CBOB family is.
I met people with different career aspirations and from all different backgrounds. There were some students studying public relations and social sciences and others who were studying biomedical engineering and biochemistry. While it was easy to note our differences, it was also inspiring to see how so many different people can come together and be unified under a common cause.
Mariam Hussein, the UF Campus Communications Liaison, was touched by the power that CBOB had in bringing all of us together.
“One thing I took away from the retreat was that while all of the interns and e-board members come from different backgrounds and have different majors, we all want to make a difference and help better CBOB,” Hussein said.
It took the teams a little while to warm up to each other but by the end of the day everyone was laughing and having a good time. Teagan Murphy, the Mentorship Coordinator for CBOB, spoke about how her team transformed throughout the day.
“I really enjoyed working with my team. At first we were all a bit nervous and just wanted to get the activities over with, but we ended up becoming a bit competitive ourselves and really enjoyed the activities,” Murphy said.
The next activity on the agenda was an intense game of Twister. The teams chose their representatives wisely and the game ended in a three-way tie between the green, blue and purple team.
Around 5 p.m. the day came to a close with one final relay race. The teams gave it their all and raced to the finish line. When the points were added up the blue and green team tied for first place and they made the decision to share the prize. When the activities were completed, the members came together and shared their highs and lows from the day as well as any goals they had for the semester. Some members had goals that were specific to their position while others simply wanted to help CBOB grow as a whole. Valentina Betancur, one of the new fundraising interns, shared about how the retreat helped shape some of her goals for CBOB.
“Seeing how hard everyone was working for some of the events that CBOB is having definitely helped me to solidify my own fundraising goals and made me more serious about reaching them,” Betancur said.
Everyone took something away from the retreat and left feeling more connected to each other and to the CBOB mission.
“I think the retreat is beneficial because it really helps us to get to know each other and who you’re actually working with,” Betancur said. “Since this is a virtual internship, the people working and volunteering for the organization felt a little abstract to me. Then after meeting everyone and sweating with them, it helped solidify the whole experience.”
The semester is already off to a great start and after a really fun weekend together, the CBOB team is ready to work hard to make CBOB the very best is can be!
Meet the new team that will be handling all things CBOB this summer
By: Melissa Moreno
The Volunteer Internship Program (VIP) is a selective program that allows individuals to get involved in an international non-profit organization. VIP interns are treated as employees by encouraging independence, originality, and a stress-free environment. While participating in VIP, interns apply their academic skills to a hands-on experience in the nonprofit field. The overall goal of VIP is to encourage and empower our interns by providing life skills that can prepare them for a successful future.
The Summer 2017 team just started and we’d like to introduce them to the rest of our CBOB family!
Meet the Team: (Name, Position)
Juan Leon, Community Outreach - UF
Hi! I am a first year (soon to be second year) Biomedical Engineering major. CBOB is significant to me because of their vision, which boils down to empowerment through education. I immigrated from Ecuador when I was a teenager and struggled to integrate into American culture, so I see CBOB's mission as a very noble way to prevent other children from facing similar hardships. I am most looking forward to directly giving back to Gainesville's Latino community and helping to bring down any barrier that might stand in a child's way.
Baotran Duongkhuu, Community Outreach - UCF
My name is Baotran Duong, prefer to be called Bao. I'm a psychology major and I'm a senior at UCF. CBOB is significant to me because I love what this organization stands for. Whatever their situation may be, a child should feel happy and loved. Being a part of CBOB as a member and meeting the children has definitely touched my heart. What I'm looking forward to as an intern is giving more love and time to the children and families at Great Value Suites!
Lai Jing Su, Health Initiatives
Hi! I'm a rising third year student double majoring in Biochemistry and Spanish while on the premed track. CBOB is significant to me because it truly does empower young individuals to strive for a better future, whether it’s through the educational or medical resources that CBOB provides. This summer I am really looking forward to the Mobile Health Clinic event because the kids are great and it's just so great to see the positive impact it has on families.
Liana Grantges, Grant Writing
I will be a junior this year at the University of Florida, and am awaiting my application status for the Nursing major. Additionally, I obtained a Music Performance minor for the violin, an instrument I have been playing since I was five years old. Last year, I served as the Treasurer for the UF Chapter of Children Beyond our Borders, and am very excited to be continuing as an intern with VIP. I love writing and research, so I’m eager to put these passions to the wonderful cause that CBOB stands for. I am grateful to hold a position where the skills developed will translate to skills used in the medical field that I aspire to enter as a professional.
Micayla Kinder, Public Relations and Social Media
My name is Micayla Kinder and I am currently a senior at the University of Florida. I am a public relations student and my outside concentration is in nonprofit organizational leadership. I hope to one day work full time for an organization that is striving to help those in need and make an impact in their community. I love all things related to social media, photography and music. I am thrilled to be joining the CBOB team and am looking forward to an exciting summer.
Melissa Moreno, Public Relations and Social Media
My name is Melissa Moreno and I am currently a senior at the University of Florida studying public relations with a specialized focus in business. I am on schedule to graduate this upcoming December and I am very excited to do what I love and start my career. I started my internship at CBOB this summer semester, and I am thrilled to have this opportunity. Much of my family is from Colombia, so I feel a personal connection to the cause of this organization and to the children that we serve. I hope to contribute as much as I can to spread the word about the mission and passion of this organization to others in the community.
Karin Fazio, Public Relations and Social Media
I am currently a student at the University of Central Florida studying Social Sciences with a concentration in advertising. In the future, it is my personal goal to work for a nonprofit organization and use my knowledge of media communication to help the organization succeed and impact those in need. I think this internship position will help me grow as an individual as I learn skills and gain insight from a non-profit organization. I look forward to working with this team.
Tara Berg, Graphic Design
I’m going into my second year of studying graphic design at the University of Florida, and I love it. In the future, I hope to be utilizing graphic design for marketing purposes, whether that means working for a non-profit like CBOB, or a marketing firm. I’m really excited about my internship with CBOB this summer. I think that it will be really fulfilling to create designs that will ultimately benefit children both locally and globally. I love CBOB’s mission, and I’m honored to work for them.
Hali Reeves, Graphic Design
My name is Hali Reeves and I'm a graphic design major. I just finished my freshman year, so I still have a year before I officially apply to the graphic design program. CBOB is important to me because everyone in the world deserves to have the same opportunities as anyone else. CBOB helps to provide opportunities for people who may not have been born into many privileges and I think that's really meaningful for the way that the systems of our world and our country are growing and changing.
Samantha Boddupalli, Fundraising
My name is Samantha Boddupalli, and I'm a rising junior majoring in Neurobiological Sciences. CBOB is important to me because I am really passionate about education and empowerment through education. I can't wait to get to work and raise as much money as I can for CBOB!
Valentina Betancur, Fundraising
My name is Valentina Betancur, I am a second year student at the University of Florida. I am majoring in Economics and International Studies with a minor in International Development and Humanitarian Assistance. CBOB is significant to me because the educational opportunities that it is providing to children in other countries not only benefits those children, but also helps those countries to develop and better serve its people. As a fundraising intern, I am most excited to see how the donations that my partner and I raise will make an impact in the lives of the ones we are set to help.
Victoria Harrington, Student Chapters Coordinator
My name is Victoria Harrington, and I am currently a third year student at the University of Florida, with a double major in Geography and Anthropology alongside a minor in Japanese. I will be working with Children Beyond Our Borders as the Student Chapter Coordinator. I am extremely excited to work with this organization, as it aligns with my career goals of combining the computer software of Geography to research migration patterns of rural families, and help improve living conditions of these migrating individuals. I hope I am able to learn much more about professionalism for the job market after graduation, and can not wait to become more involved in the future!
Mariam Hussein, Campus Communications Liaison - UF
Hi! I am in my third year and I am currently majoring in Biology while also having a minor in Disabilities in Society. I hope to attend dental school after I graduate and one day open up a nonprofit dental clinic. I am excited about both being able to work first hand with a non-profit organization and also about being able to gain valuable experience. I hope to utilize the skills that I gain from this internship later on in my professional career.
Teagan Murphy, Mentorship Coordinator
My name is Teagan Murphy and I have just completed my second year at the University of Florida, double-majoring in Sociology and Family, Youth & Community Sciences. I have been working with CBOB for almost two years now, and I look forward to continuing this experience. Since January, I have been working on developing a mentoring program through CBOB for low-income high school students involved in our CWOB program in Orlando and attending Eastside High School in Gainesville. I will continue working on the development of this program throughout the summer and hopefully into the upcoming academic year.
Meghana Tatineni, Event Manager
Hello! I am a rising Junior at the University of Florida pursuing a bachelor of science in Statistics with a minor in Actuarial Science. After graduating from University of Florida, I aspire to work as a data analyst or a statistician. I am excited to have the opportunity to work with Children Beyond Our Borders! During my internship, I hope to increase my professionalism and gain valuable communication skills. I am also looking forward to plan engaging events for Children Beyond Our Borders this summer.
Samira Amirova, Training Coordinator
As a senior sociology major at the University of Florida, I have made countless decisions both big and small. My best decision so far has been joining Children Beyond Our Borders in their fight to end social injustices among children. The VIP program has granted me an opportunity to develop as a leader and as a professional to ultimately become a successful physician. A significant feature of this program is the tireless support from the team. They are the embodiment of dignity, passion, and purpose. The team has influenced me into pushing beyond my own borders and capabilities to better my community. "You have two hands; one to help yourself and one to help others "
Carolina Pastor, Data Analyst
Hello! I am so grateful to have this amazing opportunity to work with such an amazing non-profit. I am a senior studying Information Systems and Operations Management at the University of Florida. In the future, I would like to find a career where I can combine my knowledge in Information Systems with non-profit. I want to help others excel and be a positive influence by using my background and skills to change lives.
Show the team some love! Share this blog and use the hashtag #CBOBinterns to make the team feel the CBOB spirit!
Celebrating CBOB Moms and Moms Across the World
By: Melissa Moreno
Mother’s Day is a holiday that comes once a year, typically held on the second Sunday of May, and celebrates motherhood as well as mothers and other motherly figures. It is a day for people to recognize the sacrifices, hard work, and love their mothers have provided for them, and to show their appreciation. Generally, the widely accepted custom for this day is to give your mother a gift - whether it be a card, candy, flowers, clothes, etc. Although it is observed in different forms across the world, one thing remains constant: Mother’s Day is a day that involves expressing great recognition and gratitude towards the woman that played a large role in someone’s individual development and personal growth.
When we are young, our whole worlds revolve around our mothers; anytime we need something, we call her. It is as if she inherently has all the answers to any problem in the world. As time goes on, we grow to become more independent and may lose sight of how much we truly depend on our mothers. It is because of this that Mother’s Day can be so significant to a mother and make her feel like all the work she has done has not gone unnoticed. Whether it is a gift, a note, or even a phone call - any form of appreciation can make a mom feel treasured.
According to the History Channel, more phone calls are made on Mother’s Day than any other day of the year. These holiday chats with mom are said to cause phone traffic to spike up by almost 37%. In the United States alone, Americans are said to spend $800 million on Mother’s Day cards and $2.4 billion on flowers. Needless to say, many people like to lavish their mothers on this holiday.
Children Beyond Our Borders has had the opportunity to work with many children and families, and has met countless honorable moms along the way. We recognize that moms try to provide the best that they can for their children, even when the state of their country’s political, economic and social climate is out of their control. CBOB works with communities and families so that children can be empowered and motivated to live to their fullest potential - which is all a mother ever wants for her child.
Yocasta Becerra is the mother to Yosimar, the first IAMCBOB scholar for Children Beyond Our Borders. As a recipient of the scholarship, Yosimar received an all expenses paid college education, and in exchange acted as a service leader to empower other youth to solve problems in his community.
Becerra is proud of her son for his achievements and is thankful to have been a part of CBOB and its activities with her community.
“I feel very happy to always be living an unforgettable experience whenever a group of volunteers comes. It is the best thing that has happened to us and to my family to know all those beautiful people,” Becerra said. “...I am very proud of my Yosi. Even though they were raised in a low-income neighborhood with many gangs and violence, Yosi and his brothers - thank God - knew how to overcome these obstacles, to avoid them, and to move forward with his motto that education is the foundation for a better future.”
Shana Call is the current volunteer coordinator for the organization and is a CBOB mom as well. Beginning in Fall 2016, Call fell in love with the organization and its mission to empower children through education. She felt it was important to share her love with CBOB and the children served with her son Charlie.
“Our conversations weren’t always easy when questioned about the how and why some of our children are faced with adversity, but it opened up an opportunity for us to work together and encouraged him to become socially active and aware of other children in need,” Call said. “I am proud of my son and his effort to make a difference. I am most grateful to CBOB for the opportunity to not only make a difference in the lives of the children we serve, but to also make a difference in my own child’s life as well.”
When asked how she would spend Mother’s Day, Becerra said that all she wanted was to stay home with her family and eat ice cream and Kokorico (a popular chain restaurant in Colombia). Call said that she would like nothing more than to spend quality time together with her mom and her children.
We are grateful and appreciative for Becerra and Call, and admire the love and dedication they have for educating and empowering their sons. We wish them and all the mothers out there a happy and exciting Mother’s Day!
In their third blog update, our EEI teachers Anna and Samantha discuss the academic and personal projects they have been working on with each of the four scholars in Medellín.
As our time in Medellin comes to an end we have been taking the time to reflect back on the goals we had set for ourselves and for the scholars back in January. In both high school and college both of us can recall the goals we set and the people that helped us carry them out. As our professional and personal roles have developed over time with the scholars, we made it our mission to help them determine in what ways CBOB can help them beyond just the idea of receiving an academic scholarship. After all, the whole point of the program is for them to give back to their community, and every time we meet with them, we realize more and more what they have already accomplished personally and with CBOB.
To start, this semester we have been so excited to see their CBOB project come to life week by week. They decided they wanted to implement a college preparation program at their former high school with a group of 20 or so students who were looking for help with the college process. Each week they prepare activities in three different areas: preparing for the college entrance exam, tutoring for their current math and science classes, and understanding the college system - what different majors are available to them, how to adjust to taking classes on your own schedule, and more. The program has a similar feel to New Horizons, the program where they all started their CBOB journey six years ago. New Horizons was designed as a mentorship program where they were given the tools for future college success, and it has served as a fundamental building block for our scholars’ education. We’ve talked at length with some of scholars about how being a part of CBOB and attending university has changed their lives. It’s made them realize what they want out of life, and what they’re capable of accomplishing. To watch them stand in front of a class of students and share their stories about how education has changed everything for them felt incredibly surreal. To watch them give tangible resources to these students and give some of them a chance at a brighter future filled us both with so much pride for them and for our organization. Seemingly small acts of service can lead to great successes, and these boys are creating change in an incredible way.
As each of them nears graduation in the next few years, we’ve opened the conversation for what comes next after CBOB. Each of them has different aspirations, but the common theme is that everyone would like to learn more English and have the opportunity to study abroad some day. Additionally, some of them would like to pursue a Master’s Degree in the future, but just like so many of us in the United States, a much deserved break post Undergrad seems to be more likely for the immediate future. We’ve taken the time to map out a timeline for each of them and set some realistic sights on what will be possible in the future. They have been doing their research, and what they are finding is promising. Regardless of what they end up doing, the work that has been put in these past six years with CBOB has solidified that with an education, everything can, and will change.
Until next time,
Samantha & Anna