Gina Castaño who is on the board of directors for Children Beyond Our Borders, Inc. traveled to Popayan, Colombia, this past December to spend time with her family and spread the CBOB mission.
When Gina heard about the toy drive that CBOB was coordinating through Children Within Our Borders for the at-risk youth in Central Florida, she jumped at the opportunity to help bring this toy drive to Colombia. She placed collection boxes at the gyms where she teaches Zumba and her father’s office. She collected over 120 toys, which were distributed in Hospital Universitario San Jose, a public hospital in downtown Popayan.
“Popayan is a very small, Spanish-colonial town where my mom grew up and her family resides. Popayan is breathtakingly beautiful, yet it has a lot of poverty. I made the toy distribution a voluntary activity for my cousins and anyone else who wanted to join me. My sister, her boyfriend, my parents, and two of my cousins came with me to distribute the toys. The children we visited come from very humble families and were delighted and overjoyed to be receiving toys! It was a remarkable experience,” Gina said.
Gina joined the Children Beyond Our Borders family her freshman year at the University of Florida in 2009. She instantly fell in love with the the mission and vision of CBOB, while also being able to give back to her homeland, Colombia. Gina’s passion and dedication to CBOB has been unwavering since she joined in 2009. She once served as the President of the University of Florida student chapter. She even led a Bound For Peace trip to Cartagena in 2014, which is one of her most treasured memories.
“I was born in Cali, Colombia. I am proud to have been born there and to still consider Colombia my home! I am very blessed and grateful for all the opportunities I have been given here in the States, but Colombia calls to me in a way no other place has or will. There's something enchanting about my native land that attracts me to her time after time. I make it a plan to go back at least once a year, but if I could, I would make several trips throughout the year. My next trip to Colombia will be again, with CBOB and BFP this coming summer, and then I am planning on backpacking through cities I have yet to visit. My one suggestion to all: place all fabricated misconceptions about Colombia aside and experience it for yourself. You will be surprised at how much you will fall in love with its people, flavors, colors, and overall ability to make you smile,” said Gina.
Gina is currently pursuing a dual Master’s in Nonprofit Management and Public Administration at the University of Central Florida, so she can apply what she is learning to help CBOB grow and flourish.
Thank you, Gina, for all the wonderful work that you do!
"In Managua, Children Beyond Our Borders works with a community called San Isidro. The secondary school here runs a Fabretto program for kids where they integrate knowledge about agriculture and sustainability to their regular class subjects. The students run a farm and each class is responsible for a plot of land where they grow their own crops using the practices in their text materials. This allows the students not just the opportunity to share sustainable crop practices with their families, but they also get experience in running a business and marketing their products. The farm also has a program where the kids learn to raise their farm animals, all the way through the process of the slaughter, preparation, and sale.
Children Beyond Our Borders, Inc. experienced a phenomenal year in 2015, in which the CBOB family grew to include more members, interns, programs and partners.
The implementation of the community outreach program called Children Within Our Borders gave CBOB the opportunity to continuously live and give through our mission--to provide children with opportunities and to inspire and empower them to continue their education. CWOB raised hundreds of toys, threw Christmas parties, tutored, and fed hundreds of children and families in Alachua and Orlando. Sparked Pink, a spa for girls in Orlando, donated a spa day on Christmas Eve for 12 girls in our CWOB program in Orlando
Another highlight of 2015 was joining in partnership with the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in Orlando, which has helped CBOB grow!
CBOB hosted our second annual gala, Passport to Peace, at the Florida Hotel. Our partners from Walt Disney, Orlando City Soccer, and the Tampa Bay Rays among many generous others helped us raise thousands of dollars.
A new student chapter was established at Florida State University. The University of Florida student chapter hosted an extremely successful Hunger Awareness Day, which provided a powerful perspective on an important issue.
The success of CBOB in 2015 has resulted in even bigger goals for 2016.
For the first time, CBOB has elected a Public Relations Director. The position was given to Brittney Smith, a returning public relations intern who always went above and beyond for CBOB.
Brittney hopes to make CBOB’s social media and public relations as best as possible in 2016. She learned through interning in 2015 the importance of constant communication in order to achieve best results. She hopes to create a open work environment between all the interns, so everyone can be successful.
Thirteen of the interns from last semester chose to continue their internship, and we are so excited to see all the great things they will help CBOB accomplish.
“My goals for spring 2016 are to help make CBOB even bigger and better. CBOB has been growing exponentially, and I just want to be able to spread awareness and get people pumped up about helping both Children Beyond Our Borders and Children Within Our Borders. I know this semester we are going to accomplish so many great things. I'm so excited to see what comes next,” said Daniela Bulla, a returning intern.
CBOB has also welcomed 17 new interns to the VIP program, who are all eager to help CBOB be the best it can be in 2016.
“Some goals that I have for this position is to make sure my passion about education is shown through my actions. I want all of the volunteers to feel excited and well prepared for the service trips. Doing service work abroad not only helps the students in Latin America learn and grow, but it also helps the volunteers become more aware of the world that surrounds them. I want to ensure that the service trips abroad are the most memorable trips for both the students and the volunteers,” said Emalyn Deak, the new Bound For Peace training intern.
CBOB is starting a new student chapter at Florida International University in 2016, and we already have accepted interns at FIU, who can’t wait to help jump start CBOB at their school.
“My goals for this position in 2016 is to help as much as possible in making this organization successful and making a difference in the lives of the children that we help,“ said Matthew Hasbun, a FIU intern.
Manuela Gutierrez Velez, the Event Coordinator for the University of Florida’s Children Beyond Our Borders Chapter, has joined in the fight against childhood cancer.
Manuela wants to raise $1,000 by March 17 for St. Baldtrick’s Foundation, a volunteer-driven charity that provides more funds for childhood cancer research grants than any other organization except the U.S. government. If she does so, she will shave her head to show her support for children with cancer who often lose their hair during treatment while also inspiring friends and family to donate to support life changing research.
She learned about St. Baldrick’s from a fellow CBOB volunteer, Dragana Tabaković, who also shaved her head in solidarity in 2013. Manuela’s passion for working with children and knowledge of how underfunded the research of childhood cancer has inspired her take on this challenge.
“I have spent the majority of my time the past couple of years volunteering with and serving children. Children have taught me more than I could have imagined and creating brighter futures for them motivates me every day,” said Manuela. “Having volunteered with children facing terminal illnesses has inspired me to raise funds for pediatric cancer research.”
Dragana is a CBOB alumnus who was the Volunteer Manager of the nonprofit last year. Shaving her head was on her bucket list, so when Andrea Ortega, the executive director, mentioned St. Baldrick’s fundraiser, she was eager to join.
“It was inexplicable. I could write a thesis on it,” Dragana said about her experience shaving her head. “I didn't have time to think about the hair or stage fright. It's an event that's so much bigger than one's self so you feel small, big, empowered, loved, invincible, stunning. It is to this day one of the best moments of my life.”
Click here to donate to support a fellow CBOBer in the fight against childhood cancer.
The holidays are in full swing and CBOB inc. is in the holiday spirit. In light of thanksgiving, everyone from every tier of CBOB inc. is thankful. We are thankful for this incredible organization that lets us service others, and watch our impact first hand. This post is dedicated to share what you are grateful for in 2015. Here are a few words from our very own CBOB members:
"I am thankful for so many things in my life! First, I'm thankful for the safety and health of all my loved ones. Also, I am incredibly thankful to be part of the CBOB family. I have learned so much and made many new friends. It has truly been a blessing for me." - Daniela Bulla, VIP intern.
"I'm thankful for my family, friends, and loved ones that are constantly supporting and encouraging me. I am also thankful for all the opportunities and new experiences I have had this year. I am thankful for the opportunity to attend the University of Florida and be able to expand my knowledge and education. I am also thankful for having found CBOB as it has brought many great people, experiences, and opportunities. I am thankful for the opportunities that CBOB has given me to challenge myself and grow as an individual and as a professional. I am also thankful for all the experiences it has given me to try new things, learn from my mistakes, experience different cultures, and meet different people, all with different views of the world." - Tati Paz, Volunteer Manager.
Here is a video of our very own IAMCBOB scholar, Yosimar Palacios on what he is thankful for this year.
Comment below what you are thankful for this year.
On Monday, November 16th, the University of Florida (UF) chapter of Children Beyond Our Borders, Inc. held its first annual Hunger Awareness Day (H.A.D.). This initiative helped bring awareness to the approximately 793 million people who are undernourished around the world. About 40 students challenged themselves to only eat one cup of rice and drink one bottle of water for the entire day to stand in solidarity with those who are suffering from food insecurity in the United States and abroad. They tabled on campus, explaining their cause to students who walked by and encouraging them to join in their challenge.
“This event was very different from anything we have ever done before. Normally, we want as many people as possible to participate in our events but when people didn’t participate in this event, it proved our cause even more. People didn’t want to participate because it was going to be “too hard” or “torture” - and that is exactly the point we were trying to make,” Alexa Moore, President of the UF chapter.
We are so proud of our UF chapter for taking the extra step to challenge not only themselves, but also their whole campus to live a day in the lives of those who are less fortunate.
Have you #HADenough?
Our Volunteer Internship Program would not be possible without the dedications of Tati Paz, the Volunteer Manager, and Andrea Ortega, the Executive Director. They are the backbone of CBOB’s Volunteer Internship Program.
Andrea started the VIP Program two years ago with three interns, and she has watched the program get better and better each semester through learning and leading the interns and CBOB. Finding interns that “make it happen” and desire to learn has allowed Andrea to teach the necessary skills to be successful in this internship so that CBOB can thrive, and the interns can develop and grow skills that will ensure a successful future for themselves.
“My job is the best. I get to be there for every position which I love. At one point, I had been every job so now seeing the team working cohesively makes me feel like I got people who have my back and I hope they feel the same from me! I get to oversee all programs, decisions and anything CBOB,” said Andrea about her experience as Executive Director for CBOB.
Tati oversees all of the Standard Operation interns by providing them with the tools, knowledge and support to perform their tasks to the best of their ability. She meets with the interns weekly over Google Hangouts to provide feedback and prepare them for their next tasks. Her favorite part about being the Volunteer Manager is collaborating with the interns on their ideas to help them implement them.
“I have grown so much by working for CBOB. CBOB feels like a big family in which there is constant love and support, making you feel like there's nothing you cannot accomplish. My leadership skills are probably what have developed the most. I think my professionalism and public speaking have also improved considerably. Leading meetings, running events, brainstorming ideas, working as a team, and contacting outside businesses in a professional manner become second nature. I believe that after working for CBOB, I am much better equipped to enter the workforce,” Tati said about her experience as Volunteer Manager for CBOB.
If you’d like to join the family, please apply by December 4th at www.chbob.org/apply!
The Volunteer Internship Program allows for students to get involved with an international nonprofit through a hands-on experience. As an intern for Children Beyond Our Borders, you have the opportunity to learn and develop skills that make you stand out while also being apart of the CBOB family. The CBOB family has hundreds of prior interns and volunteers all around the world working in a variety of industries who you can connect with. The overall goal of the VIP program is to empower and encourage our interns to enable them for a successful future.