By: Micayla Kinder
Bound For Peace is CBOB’s incredible service trip program that sends volunteers to Latin America to facilitate educational workshops and make a difference in the lives of the children we serve. Over the years Bound For Peace has transformed and grown, and continues to be a powerful force working toward the mission of meeting community needs. The program works to provide social and emotional support for the kids we work with, and provide volunteers with exposure new cultures and knowledge about equity and inclusivity. This year we have several trips taking place over Spring Break and the Summer. Volunteers will be able to travel to places like Medellin and Cartagena, Colombia as well as Quito, Ecuador. If you would like to learn more about BFP and hear firsthand from a BFP alumni member you can attend one of our upcoming information sessions! There will be one at UF on December 6th in Matherly Hall room 0115 at 6:30 p.m. and another via Facebook Live on December 7th at 7 p.m.!
Catherine Phillips is a former BFP volunteer who went on a total of three service trips.
“The two weeks I spent in Colombia are, to date, the best two weeks of my life,” Catherine said. “The amount of love and zest those kids have for life, in the midst of their environment, is inspiring.”
Catharine stated that though no trip is the same, they all are so fulfilling and allowed her to form lifelong friendships.
For anyone thinking of going on a BFP trip Phillips said, “It will be the single greatest decision you make this year. It is challenging yet rewarding experience, and I promise you will return home a changed person because of it.”
Carolina Palacio was one of the trip leaders on the Bound For Peace trip to Medellin, Colombia this past summer. She helps give a great perspective on what the volunteers will actually do on the service trips.
“In Medellin we are helping underprivileged kids by integrating them in hands-on activities that work towards preparing them fight social conflicts in their country,” Carolina said. “We teach them positive values following themes like embracing the beauty of their culture, self care tactics, and even more universal themes like trustworthiness and fairness. All of these workshops strive to enlighten the children and inspire them to fight for a better future for themselves and everyone around them. Each volunteer is in charge of creating and implementing the workshops following the themes mentioned previously along with many other themes that promote the CBOB goal. The volunteers will be directly working with kids in engaging activities in the hopes of transmitting these messages but also giving the children a whole new experience to enjoy and learn from.”
Sofia Wills went on a trip to Medellin, Colombia this past summer and had an unforgettable experience there.
“My hopes before the trip was to make an impact in those girls’ lives, little did I know, that by the end of it, those girls would make an enormous impact in mine”
Acacia Douglas is another volunteer who went on a Bound For Peace trip.
“My experience with CBOB truly taught me love knows no language,” Douglas said. CBOB helped Douglas find her passion for education. For anyone going on a service trip, Douglas recommends to listen to the service trip leaders because they really work hard to provide the best training, trips, and experience.
Acacia said that it is vital for volunteers to listen to their trip leaders because they work hard to provide them with excellent training. She had these words of advice for students who are thinking about going:
“Know the reason you’re going,” Acacia said. “These trips will offer a chance to see and do things you never have before, but they are bonuses and a chance to see the culture of the country. If you go with an open mind and are ready to serve, you will have the most amazing and life changing experience of your life.”
To learn more about our Bound For Peace Service Trips visit www.chbob.org/bound-for-peace. To apply to become a volunteer visit chbob.org/bfp. Begin your adventure today and become a champion for change!
In honor of Thanksgiving, read about what the VIP team is most grateful for!
By: Micayla Kinder
The leaves are falling, the weather is cooling, the hot cocoa is brewing and hungry college students are heading home for the holidays which means it’s finally Thanksgiving! Every year, families around the nation come together to share a meal in honor of Thanksgiving. From the delicious Turkey, football games and family reunions, the Thanksgiving season is a memorable and fun time of year where people not only spend time with those they love but also reflect on the things that they’re thankful for. This year we asked members of the CBOB family what they’re most thankful for and the responses overwhelmingly show that our interns and staff know that the people, experiences and education they’ve been given are precious and that they should not be taken for granted.
Tiffany Wut is the communications liaison for Children Beyond Our Borders, Inc. and spoke about how thankful she is for her friends.
“I am grateful for my eboard and here is a picture from our friendsgiving!” Tiffany said. “They welcomed me as communications liaison and I feel like I've known them for years. We are a diverse family and I can't wait to see what we accomplish together.”
Rebecca Troast, fundraising intern, has immense gratitude for her family and all that they do.
“I'm thankful for my family even if sometimes they drive me crazy,” Rebecca said. “I know they will always be there for me.”
Operations Director Shana Call stated that her family is what makes Thanksgiving special for her and that she loves the way the holidays brings them closer together.
“My favorite part of Thanksgiving is spending time with family,” Shana said. “It is one of the few times during the year when we slow down and appreciate each other without interruptions. Our family comes together and even with our differences we always agree that the love of family makes every holiday season special.”
Samira Gasanova, CBOB’s training coordinator is especially grateful for her mom and sister this year.
“I’m thankful to have a little family that supports me big time,” Samira said. “The care and motivation these two women give me is a blessing in it of itself. Whether it’s academic/career issues, personal problems, or even the slightest meltdown these two have always held it down for me. My sister and my mother are the two spirits I’m grateful to have in this journey. They’re as dramatic, silly, and fun as I am. It’s almost as if we grew up under the same roof.”
From family and life long friends to education and new opportunities, there certainly is a lot to be thankful for this year. Children Beyond Our Borders, Inc. would like to wish you and your family a Happy Thanksgiving! We are grateful for your continuous love and support of CBOB! May your bellies be full and your hearts be warm this holiday season!
By Melissa Moreno
The UF Medical Guild was formed in 1959 to promote friendship among its members and render service to UF Health and the communities it serves. In this past year, the Guild funded a total of $50,000 worth of grants to many organizations around the community - one of them being Children Beyond Our Borders, Inc.
Our very own health initiatives and grant writing interns, along with Dr. Diana Montoya-Williams, made this opportunity happen for our Children Within Our Borders program.
Dr. Montoya is originally from Medellin, Colombia and came to the US with her family when she was very young. She took advantage of all the educational opportunities the US had to offer her and ultimately ended up in medical school in Columbia University. Now in Gainesville, Florida, Dr. Montoya has lended her knowledge and passion for education, both locally and abroad, to CBOB in hopes of spreading our mission to the rest of the community. Dr. Montoya understands the value of education but she also understands the value of health care, which is something that not all children have access to in Alachua County.
Because of this pressing issue, CBOB started holding a Mobile Health Clinic where basic healthcare would be provided to the underserved and immigrant populations in Alachua County. In this event, we also create and educate a team of volunteers about the sociopolitical and health status of low-income children in the local and global community.
The aim for our organization and volunteers is to always serve those in need, but unfortunately we are unable to so without funding.
CBOB is fortunate enough to have such motivated and devoted volunteers like Dr. Montoya and our VIP team that work hard to make sure we have the funds to help those in need in our community.
The $1,500 grant that we received from the UF Medical Guild is an amazing success and something that CBOB is proud to share! We want to thank Dr. Montoya, our VIP team and the UF Medical Guild for giving us the opportunity to continue spreading the happiness and joy to the children that we serve.
Read all about our annual Gala of 2017 in Orlando!
by Christina Mouttet
Gala this year was a blast! Interns, volunteers, and board members alike all met in service of Children Beyond Our Borders, Inc. and its amazing cause. I personally drove down from Gainesville to Orlando to attend the event, and was so glad I did. Meeting other interns and volunteers who I do not normally get to interact with was such a memorable experience. Working with CBOB, we all share the same values for service and involvement and it was amazing to connect with people in these respects. My mom also caught a flight to Orlando for the event and was really impressed by the love and dedication expressed by all the CBOB members.
The food offered by Caribe Blu was everything that was expected and more. Every bite of the Latin cuisine was delicious. The menu of the night was rice, chicken or beef, and tostones. The photo booth was set up at the entrance, so immediately upon walking in there were so many activities going on. The photo booth was especially popular as Gala is a black tie event, so everyone was dressed up in beautiful dresses and suits. Lastly, no night is complete without dancing. If you thought Gala was all serious, you were mistaken!
“It was amazing to have a formal experience in which I could show my support for the children. The food was delicious and they really made it fun with the music and dancing,” said Eva Gluck, a UCF student intern.
Another highlight of Gala was the awards and speeches. This event always includes special honors to the people who most deserve it.
“What made it special this year was the growing amount of nominations and giving awards! That’s always my favorite part and the whole reason we started Gala. I know people might think it’s just for money, but it’s not even our biggest fundraiser. It’s really to showcase our student interns. I also loved having Yosimar and Gina as our MC’s, they were so fun!,” said Andrea Ortega, the Executive Director of CBOB.
Attending Gala made me feel so proud to be a part of a cause that is really making a difference! Seeing it all in action was definitely the icing on the cake. I encourage everyone to see for themselves, and attend next year’s Gala!
Weekly tutoring is a program offered by CWOB that is a memorable experience for both the kids and volunteers.
by Christina Mouttet
CWOB, or Children Within Our Borders, is a program within Children Beyond Our Borders that focuses on making a change in our local communities. This allows our volunteers and partners to add themselves to the equation for education here at home in both Orlando and Gainesville. So far, CWOB has accomplished amazing things this year- from fun, themed workshops to weekly tutoring sessions. Some of our workshops this year have included a space-themed one with the aim of encouraging a passion for science and learning in the kids, a cultivating culture workshop, and a Spooktacular event to celebrate Halloween.
As one of the public relations interns, I paid a visit to one of the weekly tutoring sessions in Gainesville to see for myself. I was awed by the many incredible volunteers, all working together to do whatever they can to help the kids. The bond that I saw developing between the volunteers and the kids was truly inspiring. The session consisted of helping with homework, eating snacks, and, after homework was finished, building a puzzle!
One of the best parts about volunteering at weekly tutoring is the friendships you make. For the most part, it is the same volunteers and kids who attend the session every week. The kids become friends, and so do the volunteers. Each of the kids is unique and makes the session enjoyable for both the volunteers and the other students. For example, Giovanni and Neymar are such a blast to have at tutoring and always make the volunteers laugh!
"How do you guys know each other?" asked a volunteer.
"We're neighbors," said Giovanni.
"But we're best friends, too, aren't we?" asked Neymar.
"Oh, right! Best neighbors!" exclaimed Giovanni.
Of course the list of reasons why you should attend Gala are endless, but here are three of the top reasons why this is a can’t-miss event!
by Christina Mouttet
1. Friends, Food, and Music
One of things that makes Gala so magical is all the amazing people you are surrounded by. Volunteers, interns, and sponsors will all be present and united under the amazing mission of CBOB. Gala serves as a perfect networking opportunity for people interested in nonprofit and work to improve education standards around the world. It is a great chance to not only meet new people, but connect with old as well. Teagan Murphy, the Mentorship Program Director, described how incredible it was to reunite with three other girls from a previous Bound for Peace Trip, and they all even ended up winning awards!
Food. This year we are so pleased to announce that we will be hosting Gala at Caribe Blu! Caribe Blu is a restaurant popular for it’s delicious Cuban food like tostones! And, the best part is that food is included with the price of your ticket! Be sure to check out their website to view their menu and see what they’re about: www.caribeblu.com
A great event can never be great without music. Returning for his third consecutive gala, the talented Manual Ocampo will be performing yet again! The Colombian artist will be present performing his amazing music with guitar in hand! If the food and meaningful cause doesn’t already attract you, this sure will!
2. You never know what could happen!
With a featured silent auction, every guest has a shot at winning some unbelievable prizes! This year, the auction will include, amongst other prizes, two admission tickets to Busch Gardens, four general admission tickets to Kennedy Space Center, a private tour and tasting for 10 at Funky Buddha Brewery, and a special offer for three 30-minute sessions to Floating Lotus Spa!
Gala is always full of surprises. One year, our very own Executive Director Andrea Ortega, was proposed to by her (now) husband who she met while on a Bound for Peace trip. The CBOB family is ever-growing and full of love, and Gala is the perfect place to witness it!
3. Overall, it’s a great cause!
Aside from everything fun and entertaining about Gala, we can’t forgot the reason we host the event in the first place: to support CBOB’s mission of improving education and the standard of living for children. All proceeds of the event go straight towards helping our cause, so even your very attendance is helping us make a difference!
See you all there!