Next week another Bound For Peace trip will be taking place in Medellin, Colombia!
By: Micayla Kinder
Bound For Peace is a service trip program that sends volunteers to develop workshops for youth in Latin America. Over 500 hundred volunteers have traveled with Children Beyond Our Borders to Latin America in the past 13 years and the volunteers work to facilitate workshops with the children there.
Maria Morales is one of the trip leaders for the upcoming Bound For Peace Trip to Medellin and she spoke briefly about what the team will be doing this year.
“We will be in Medellin for two weeks to educate and give educational workshops to young girls affected by social & economic injustice in Colombia. We will provide tools that will stimulate their knowledge & interest in themselves & those around them,” Maria said.
“For this specific trip we will focus on universal values such as honesty, integrity, trustworthiness, loyalty, fairness, caring, respect, responsibility, pursuit of excellence, accountability, tradition & culture, goals orientation, & last but not least self-care,” Maria said. “The volunteers will all work together to create interactive & fun workshops to teach the girls all about these topics.”
Not only do the students get to volunteer and interact the youth in Medellin but they will also get to do some sightseeing during the weekends there and experience the rich Colombian culture.
“While we are there we will also immerse ourselves in the Colombian culture through their food and visiting some of the most well-known spots in Medellin to better relate to them,” Maria said
Carolina Palacio is another one of the trip leaders. She stated that the workshops and activities done through the program can produce many benefits for the children.
“In Medellin we are helping underprivileged kids by integrating them in hands on activities that work toward preparing them fight social conflicts in their country,” Carolina said. “All of these workshops strive to enlighten the children and inspire them to fight for a better future for themselves and everyone around them. 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.”
This year there will be a group of seven volunteers going to Medellin. One of those volunteers is UF student Nathalie Perez.
Nathalie is a Junior at UF studying business administration and sociology and this will be her first BFP trip.
“I'm really looking forward to spending all day with the young girls,” Nathalie said. “Our days are going to be long, but I'm excited to be able to see the impact I have on the girls and to learn from them as well.”
Nathalie said that her main inspiration for going on the trip is her desire to serve children abroad and her love for Children Beyond Our Borders.
“I have always loved working with children and once I got involved with CBOB, I knew that I had to do a trip like this before I graduate,” Nathalie said. “I served as the Community Outreach Director for the UF Chapter from Jan 2016 to April 2017 and have worked with local children in Gainesville doing workshops and tutoring. However, I wanted to get the full CBOB experience and travel abroad and do what I've been doing here in Gainesville over there.”
Nathalie also stated that she believes that the work Children Beyond Our Borders does on these trips can have a lasting impact on both the children and the volunteers.
“I think trips like these are real eye-openers,” Nathalie said. “Here in the USA, we all hear about the differences in our education system compared to countries in Latin America, but we don't really understand the differences. We could see a video or see pictures about the disadvantages kids in Latin America have, but until we witness it with our own eyes, we can't fully understand. The children in Colombia will benefit from us just as will benefit from them. The kids will have the opportunity to learn from the workshops we have planned. The interaction between the children and volunteers will be a mutual learning experience for both parties. We each will gain insightful cultural knowledge from each other.”
The trip will last two weeks and the team is set to leave at the end of this week. To learn more about Bound For Peace and the application process to become a volunteer on future trips visit http://www.chbob.org/bound-for-peace.