As the summer comes to an end and school starts back up CBOB empowers our kids through education at our Back to School events.
By: Karin Fazio
As Nelson Mandela said “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” People can take away your fame, your house, your job, your car, but education is the one thing someone cannot take away from you. Education is the pathway to success and it all begins with school.
Every year, school supplies can cause a huge financial strain on a family's budget, especially if there are two or more children to supply for. Since 2006, the cost of school supplies has increased by 88 percent for elementary students. On average, a family will spend about $200 per child on school fees and supplies. For many students, whether or not they arrive on the first day of school with the proper school supplies can set their attitude for the rest of the school year.
For Children Beyond Our Borders back to school season is our favorite! Each year we hold our annual back to school events in Alachua and Orlando. Our CBOB family gather together for one last summer bash. Games, prizes, food, and activities are planned to bring the best experience for the kids. In Alachua, a Pediatric Mobile Clinic is arranged with UF Doctors to provide children and their families with medical attention. Dr. Diana Montoya-Williams is the leading Pediatrician for this event and states “Our hope is that by combining the existing infrastructure of the UF mobile Outreach Clinic with the pediatric expertise of physicians, nurses as practitioners and physician assistants at UF, we can help ameliorate local health disparities”. Kids leave with a backpack filled with school supplies and are ecstatic for school to begin. For Tati Paz, the former Operations Director, her favorite part of the mobile clinics are seeing the team come together to provide the community with the healthcare they need. She expects to help provide healthcare for even more families this year. “The kids will leave ready for school with backpacks full of supplies and their physicals filled out.” remarked Paz.
Currently, our Outreach Interns at UCF and UF are working tirelessly to finalize all of the plans for the carnival themed events. Just like a real carnival, booths will be set up to both educate and entertain the children. For Diving Back to School, the Orlando event, plans have been arranged for a bounce house with a slip-n-slide, snow cone machine, DJ, and educational booth games that can win participants extra raffle tickets. As for the Back to School Bash in Alachua, there will be face painting, a DJ, and booths focusing on physical and oral health. This will be the first year that the Pediatric Mobile Clinic and Back to School Bash will be combined. Shana Call, the Operations Director, hopes to meet the needs of the entire community in one location by fusing these two events together. “I am looking forward to helping children become empowered with the tools necessary to achieve success in school. Education is an important factor to breaking the cycle of poverty and through this event, our hope is to encourage empowerment through education” Call states.
Every student who joins us at either location will go home with a backpack. If you’d like to donate or sponsor a child, it is not too late. The deadline to do so is July 28th at 11:59PM. To donate, please visit: www.chbob.org/backpacks
We are also always accepting volunteers for both locations so sign up to be apart of something big. Watch as we give out over one hundred backpacks and spread smiles across kids faces.
Click below on the location you'd like to volunteer at!
By: Melissa Moreno
With personal, social, educational and professional commitments, college students often struggle to balance it all. With many obligations, it is refreshing and often necessary for students to find outlets/activities outside of school where they can showcase their passions and skill sets. Working on projects that are meaningful and productive can be a turning point for a student’s college career.
As any freshman, I struggled to find my way as I started at a new school and was forced into new environments. It took me almost a year to grasp my bearings - and even then I felt like I was working on different ventures all the time that didn’t inspire me or make me feel like I was serving a greater purpose.
Luckily, as I was walking around my college after class one day, I came upon a flyer for CBOB’s Volunteer Internship Program in April 2017. I took a picture of the flyer and decided to research Children Beyond Our Borders and see what VIP was all about.
It was almost an obvious choice for me to apply because it offered me a great way to gain experience in my field, while creating content and projects that actually matter to me and make an impact in someone’s life. I applied, went through the whole interview process and was eventually selected to join the team.
Since I started as a public relations and social media intern for CBOB in May, I have learned so much and have met so many amazing people along the way. I have created content for the organization’s social media pages and have seen the results in real time. It is one of the most rewarding things to send a message out and to be able to communicate with people who have the same passion and motivation for change as you do.
Besides working on my tasks as a public relations intern, I really enjoyed working with my team and getting to know the other interns. While we are all in different areas geographically, we still find time to work on the same goals and push the same causes. There wasn’t one instance where I reached out to an intern for help and they didn’t lend a helping hand. The Summer 2017 VIP team has been one of the most talented and dependable teams I have ever been a part of and I am grateful to have worked with each and every one of them.
Overall, I think the Volunteer Internship Program is a great way for students to get hands-on experience and understand what it takes to work for a great organization.
But don’t just take my word for it. Read what some of the other interns had to say about their VIP experience:
Bao Duong, Community Outreach - UCF
“Children Beyond Our Borders' Volunteer Internship Program has not only been a great opportunity for me to continue to help the children at Great Value Suites, but I also learned a lot about myself. I've met so many amazing people throughout my internship and I couldn't be more grateful for all their help and generosity. A huge shout out to Shana Call, Yanelis Diaz, Paula Moya and Selim Nassirou for assisting me and being a part of my life. The most rewarding part of interning is impacting these children's lives. I want nothing but happiness for them.”
Mariam Hussein, Campus Communications Liaison - UF
“I had a wonderful experience working as an intern at Children Beyond Our Borders, Inc. I gained many professional skills and was able to make a difference in the lives of young children.”
Victoria Harrington, Student Chapter Coordinator
“Overall, I’ve really loved my experience with VIP. I’ve gotten to meet so many other great interns and have gotten to know the e-board members in the student chapters as well, and they have honestly been half the reason my time has been so great with VIP. Seeing the passion we all have for CBOB and coming together to make it work as best as possible has been amazing to witness and be a part of.”
Our CBOB family shared with us a few heroes without capes who have impacted their life in a positive way.
by: Karin Fazio
When you think of a hero what is the first thing that comes to mind? Batman? Superman? Maybe Spiderman or Captain America? All of these beloved fictional characters have been stealing the hearts of many throughout the years. Why is it that these make-believe characters are loved by millions around the world? For some it may be their astonishing good looks or their witty attitudes, but for many it is their actions to help those in need; saving individuals as they cry for help and eliminating crime in the city with their superpowers. Imagine a world where fictional characters like Superman and the Avengers were real. A world where when we needed help someone was there for us. A world where we could look up to individuals who are courageous and selfless. The best part is that we do live in that kind of world. If you think about it, everyday we are surrounded by heroes. They may not have an elaborate costume or the supernatural powers, but everyday people inspire us to be better versions of ourselves and set examples for everyone around them.
Yennis Diaz is a student at Unicolombo in Cartagena, Colombia. Yennis’ hero is our very own IAMCBOB scholar, Yosimar Palacios Becerra. Yennis met Yosimar back in 2008 in Granitos de Paz through CBOB. Yosimar has changed the life of Yennis tremendously by encouraging her to go to school and learn English. Yennis struggled with getting an education when she was younger, but Yosimar told her that she can start from the bottom. “He always helps me when I need him.” Yennis states. What Yennis admires the most about Yosimar is his constant state of positivity. “He’s always friendly, he’s good to everyone,” she gushes. Regardless of the situation or time Yennis can always count on Yosimar to listen to her, even if that means for hours. Yosimar is extremely honored to be considered a hero to someone else. It means a lot for him that his example can motivate others to do better. “As the saying goes, many hands can make light work. Helping others is something that always makes me happy. Whenever I can do something to make other people’s day better I am always willing to make that happen. It’s hard to say no whenever I know I can help someone in need.” Yosimar wants to thank Yennis for choosing her as his hero. “I’m going to always be there for her and she can always count on me no matter what.”
For our Training Coordinator, Samira Gasanovna, Helena Chapman has been a huge influence in her life. Chapman will be an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Science & Technology Policy Fellow at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in Fall 2017.The two met in January of 2016 when Chapman was Gasanovna’s group facilitator during their workshop for the Florida Opportunity Scholars Academy of Leadership. Gasanovna admires Chapman’s caring nature both in her personal life and professional world. “She sets the best example of what a human being should strive for. She touches the lives of people far and wide, big and small, white or black or green.” Samira explains. Chapman’s accomplishments shows Gasanovna that Chapman will continuously develop more skills and knowledge everyday. “Her drive and ambition to make a change in public health is a direct reflection of her work ethic. There is no one else I'd seek out for guidance and support.” says Gasanovna. Gasanovna’s favorite memory with Chapman includes all of their countless hours talking together. They always lose track of time, it seems that they have so much to share to one another that time is infinite. Gasanovna thoroughly enjoys listening to Chapman’s input on life. It allows her to reflect on her own decisions and behaviors.If Gasanovna could tell Chapman one thing she’d thank her for always seeing the light of potential in her when she couldn’t. Chapman is humbled by Gasanovna’s nomination. Gasanovna’s kind words inspire Chapman to further her global health journey. “This positive energy can only be felt with the heart and soul, as described by Helen Keller ‘The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched, they must be felt with the heart.’” Chapman believes that caring for others is a fundamental attribute as we promote peace, diversity, and solidarity across our local, national, and international communities. “As a global society, if we share support, joy, and kindness with others, then we can continue to spread our positive energy.” Chapman states. Gasanovna’s words have energized Chapman to strengthen global health leadership by further implementing health education, promotion, and research initiatives in communities, empowering physicians-in-training to be change agents in their communities, and serving as a mentor to health professional students. As quoted by Chapman “These reflections are invaluable, as described by Maya Angelou ‘People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel’”.
A daughter’s love for her mother is an indescribable feeling. Not only do mothers provide their children with support, love, and encouragement, but it’s obvious that they have superpowers of their own. Which is why Shana Call, our Volunteer Coordinator, considers her mom, Darlene Herbert, a hero. Call has learned from Herbert how to give selflessly and how to be an advocate for those is need. “Her attitude of compassion and empathy makes her just as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside”. In hindsight Herbert impacted Call the most while receiving her Nursing degree. Herbert’s perseverance allowed her to achieve her goal despite being a mother of four. “She not only put her dreams on hold to make her children a priority, she showed me it doesn’t matter when you get your degree it matters when you pursue your dream. She inspires me daily.” If Call could tell her mother one thing she would thank her for never giving up on her. Herbert supported Call at her lowest and encouraged her to reach the potential Herbert knew she possessed. Herbert is immensely proud that Call chose her as her hero. “My heart was overwhelmed.” Herbert explains. Herbert grew up in a difficult circumstance and felt it was crucial to make everyone feel loved and important. “I would tell Shana that she is loved so much and I am so proud of the person she has become. Watching her grow has been wonderful.”
Whether it’s our friends, mentors, or family members, we are all surrounded by heroes in disguise. So I encourage all of you to take a moment to thank and appreciate the hero in your life. We can all be a hero for others in our community with selfless acts and a passion to help those around us.