The Bound For Peace trip to Cartagena, Colombia was one both the volunteers and the children will remember forever. With one of our partner foundations, Fundación Granitos de Paz, our volunteers were able to immerse themselves in the culture of Colombia and provide educational workshops to the children in an attempt to empower them and to break the cycle of violence and poverty.
The workshops topics presented by the volunteers included sex education, gang violence, decision making, and the importance of caring for yourselves and others. All the workshops discussed topics that educated the children on social and lifestyle issues. Those lessons learned will affect them on a daily basis, having a positive impact on the rest of their lives. One of the volunteers, Nikki Scort, said that she enjoyed the sex education and gang violence workshops the most because “it’s something that is a pressing issue in their community and it was one of the workshops where [she] saw that the kids were very interested and very willing to participate and learn more.” The volunteers helped the children set goals and figure out ways to accomplish them, something that came very natural to these kids. One of the volunteers, Erini Longini, was extremely impressed with how they responded to this activity, saying that “most of them had no problem writing the steps to reach their goals” and that all the children were “very open about their lives,” which made her feel welcomed. The ease at which these children caught on to the information and the excitement and maturity they showed is something that is going to be constantly inspiring the volunteers for years to come.
The Bound for Peace volunteers were able to experience the city of Cartagena as a whole on this trip. All of the volunteers were quickly immersed into the culture of the country through architecture, dance, music, and a volunteer favorite, food! Michelle Beissel said that her favorite part of the Colombian culture was “experiencing the food every night,” no matter if they stayed in or went out. They were able to see how the city was different from where they lived and how fortunate they were. Every single one of the volunteers left with a feeling of gratitude for the children and for the city. Through exploring beaches and little back roads in the city, the volunteers were able to establish a lifelong bond with each other.
Overall, to say our Bound For Peace trip was a success is an understatement! The memories made, the lessons taught, and the smiles created will never be forgotten. “I think this was a really good service trip because instead of just coming in and doing temporary things we were supporting Granitos de Paz which has a huge positive influence in the community. I feel like I got to learn a lot about Cartagena and even Colombia in general by getting to spend so much time with the kids,” said Eirini Longini. This trip was just another example of how education equals empowerment.
Applications for our next Bound for Peace trips will open in the early fall, so keep an eye out! But in the mean time, you can donate to a volunteer to make the next trip possible here http://www.chbob.org/payment.html!
For more information: email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions, or check out our website http://www.chbob.org/bound-for-peace.html.