Let’s look back to all of what Children Within Our Borders has accomplished as boundaries have been broken as they go beyond borders.
By Karin Fazio
Children Within Our Borders means friendship, growth, community, love, learning, care, and the list goes on and on. CWOB, Children Within Our Borders, is one of the five programs that Children Beyond our Borders, Inc. offers. CWOB has allowed for our organization to connect with children in the Gainesville and Orlando areas and provide them education and empowerment. Each month our outreach team coordinates events and workshops for children and their parents to attend. These events allow our volunteers and interns to form relationships with the kids and give them a sense of community. Shana Call, the Volunteer Coordinator, shares how heartfelt it is when she hears the children say “When are you coming back?” to our volunteers. “It makes everything we do worth it” she states. At CBOB, not only do we make it a goal to provide children with the proper tools and environment to expand their knowledge and flourish, but we strive to supply them with love and support to gain confidence and an understanding of their full potential as individuals.
Get Close Up with CBOB
On Friday, May 26th CWOB gave recently immigrated high school students a glimpse of the beautiful campus of the University of Florida. CWOB partnered with The Close Up Foundation and gave these students and their families tours. Individuals from the Volunteer Internship Program and the UF CBOB Student Chapter took charge as they guided the group throughout the campus and told stories on how the University has impacted them as individuals. “It was great that we could impart just how great our school is to potential applicants!” Says Juan Leon, the Community Outreach Intern.
Honoring Heroes at Home
Baotran Duong, the Community Outreach Intern, along with the UCF CBOB Student Chapter, coordinated this event on May 27th. This event was held on Memorial Day weekend, to honor and remember our fallen soldiers, as well as appreciate our current active military. Children were able to bond with a few of our troops who generously offered to spend their Saturday afternoon with the kids. The kids worked alongside the troops to create cards, as well as craft American flags out of popsicle sticks. After eating a lunch that consisted of mac n cheese, beans, and other delicious foods they brought their athletic abilities to the test in the obstacle course. The kids really seemed to enjoy this part as they ran around and competed against one another to see who can complete the course the quickest. “Seeing the kids smiling and enjoying the event made the preparation and time all worth it.” stated Baotran. These events have given Baotran the chance to be closer to the families and children at the events, since so many of them are recurring participants.
DIY for Dads
In preparation for Father’s Day this year, the community outreach team coordinated the DIY for Dads event in Alachua. Father’s Day only comes once a year, and although dads should be celebrated everyday we wanted to dedicate our June event in Alachua to our hardworking dads. For this event, volunteers and local children gathered together and created gifts for the dads they cherish. The children participated in woodwork by creating a wooden picture frame, they also made a homemade spice grill, and a tie shaped bag to fill with candy. The best part about the entire event was the personalization aspect. The children loved adding their own touch to their special gift for their loved one. DIY for Dads allowed for the kids to make their imagination come to life. “CWOB has been an amazing experience for me, especially since it has allowed me to truly connect with and make a tangible impact on the Alachua community.” explains Juan Leon, the Community Outreach Intern. Juan has had the pleasure of creating events for the community and his favorite memory was this event in particular. He states “These children are kind, creative, and, overall, happy, making every event a joyous experience for all involved. This event was tons of fun, with lots of painting and decorating for the children.”
Summer Science Camp
This summer, our team in Orlando, has organized a special four session camp for the local children. Each session will consist of different experiments relating to science. We’re already halfway through, and the two previous sessions have been a great success! During the first workshop the President of the UCF Chapter, Yanelis Diaz, guided the kids as they learned about blood and anatomy. As for the second session the kids learned about static electricity. Yanelis Diaz started out as a volunteer for CBOB and is now the President of the UCF Chapter, this is her second year involved with CBOB and her second term as President. Yanelis states “Through my volunteering with CWOB I have been able to bond with children that teach me the importance of having confidence day in and out.” Yanelis personally loves seeing the kids complete activities from start to finish and personally overcome difficult instructions. For her, it’s the perfect opportunity to remind the children that no matter what the situation they can overcome it. It’s the little things like those kind of encouraging words that can make a huge impact on the kids.
Seeing the same children at events and seeing them grow as individuals is a rewarding feeling that is indescribable, one of the benefits of being a volunteer with our organization. CWOB provides children personal relationships with volunteers and the other children participating, CWOB gives them someone they can rely on and someone who can be a positive role model for them. CWOB has had a positive impact on everyone in the community including the interns and volunteers. Juan Leon says that CWOB means friends, creativity, and fun and he looks forward to making more memories throughout the summer. All the volunteers are given the opportunity to work alongside other individuals who also share the same passion for educating the children, through this organization they are able to ignite relationships that result in lifelong bonds. Creating special friendships with the volunteers has allowed Yanelis Diaz to grow as a leader, while following a mission so dear to her. She thanks CBOB for helping her be the person she is today.
Children Within Our Borders continues to grow every single day with all of the dedication from our volunteers. It doesn’t take an abundance of money to make an impact on someone and CWOB is the perfect example of that. All it takes is a passionate heart and commitment. It’s one thing to go beyond, but you can’t forget to go within too.