Meet the team that will be helping CBOB grow this fall! By: Maria Aguila
The Volunteer Internship Program (VIP) is a program that allows students to become part of an international non-profit organization. Interns are strongly encouraged to build essential skills such as independence, creativity, and problem-solving skills while also applying academic skills towards numerous hands-on activities. The objective of VIP is to help our interns grow, as they help others grow, and together: build a successful future and a healthier world.
As the Fall 2017 term begins, it would be our pleasure to introduce the team to the rest of the CBOB family!
Meet the team! (Name, Position)
Christina Mouttet, Public Relations & Social Media Intern
CBOB represents change. It is a nonprofit fighting to help youth in underprivileged areas through education and empowerment. This semester I am looking forward to learning more about public relations and graphic design from this internship. I am also so excited to get to know everyone and see more about how this organization works!
Chrishanity Jones, Street Team
My name is Chrishanity Jones I am a first year Health Science Major on the Pre-Med track. What CBOB means to me is helping educated and empower children that can't do it themselves through workshops and many other opportunities and making a huge impact in their life and lifestyle . I want to accomplish helping and making a difference in someone’s life , I want to make making a difference a lifestyle -- something I can do forever. I also want to become more professional and learn more about people especially kids and how they live and what they go through and find ways to help them.
Minyoung Kim, Health Initiatives Intern
CBOB is a way of changing children's lives for the better using education and empowerment. It's about giving underprivileged kids the tools to succeed and creating future leaders and scholars of the community. To me, CBOB is one step to changing children's lives and the world for the better. This year with CBOB I look forward to holding a successful mobile clinic and improving the community's health!
Mariana Piedrahita, Mentor Coordinator
My name is Mariana Piedrahita and I am a Senior International Studies major with a focus on Latin America and the Caribbean. CBOB is an amazing organization and I am honored to be a part of it. Education is extremely important, and is a way of empowering communities. I was born in Medellin, Colombia and I feel a special connection with the cause. I'm extremely excited to be part of something that is changing lives.
Eva Gluck, Community Outreach Intern
I'm Eva Gluck and I'm an undecided Engineering major in the class of 2021. CBOB for me is an opportunity to help people in need and make a difference where it's most impactful: in children. I look forward to forming creative events, improving my management skills, and making bonds with all the kids.
Tiffany Wut, Communications Liaison
CBOB is a nonprofit organization that allows me to help children with social injustices achieve their dreams as well as gaining the experience by giving back to the community.
Ravin Maheshkumar, Health Initiatives Intern
I believe CHBOB is an amazing way to give back to the community in a positive way through education and support. It helps the community, especially children, know that they are not alone in this world and we are here to show them the right path they should take to achieve a successful future. My goal for CBOB is to maintain a stellar clinic which aims to improves the health of the community around us in the Alachua area.
Valentina Betancur, Fundraising Intern
My name is Valentina Betancur and I am double-majoring in Economics and International Studies. CBOB to me means hope--hope for the children as well as the community as a whole. I would like to work in the International Development field one day and one of the best pathways to development is providing women and children with the tools to get educated. This is actually my second semester interning for CBOB so I look forward to seeing through the Gala project that we have been working on for a while now as well as working on other opportunities and possibly gaining some more hands on experience.
Micayla Kinder, Public Relations & Social Media Intern
Working for Children Beyond Our Borders has been such an incredible experience! I've learned so much about how to be a professional and effective communicator. Its also made me more aware about the different injustices that children are facing and how education can be a tool used to combat poverty and build a better tomorrow. I'm looking forward to continuing in my role as a public relations and social media intern this semester and working to expand our audience and promote CBOB's mission.
Keila Bazile, Fundraising Intern
In my opinion, I believe that Children Beyond Our Borders is a non-profit organization that provides the opportunity to children who are affected by social issues through education as way to develop self-growth. I believe that education should be accessible to all individuals and everyone should be able to accomplish their dreams . I look forward to making a difference and having an impact with CBOB. I also look forward to meeting and interacting with some of the children.
Giovanni Godoy, Community Outreach Intern
My name is Giovanni Godoy. I'm a senior at the University of Central Florida and I'm majoring in biology. This is my first year with CBOB and I'm extremely excited to start this new experience. What CBOB means to me it's an opportunity to help reaching children in the most need of help and empowered them with education and motivate them to strive for success. What I'm looking forward to accomplish this semester it's just to see the children that we help smile and to be happy and to make them realize that life is full of joy and opportunities.
Samantha Boddupalli, Grant Writing Intern
My name is Samantha Boddupalli, and I am a third year Biochemistry major at UF. CBOB is not only an opportunity for me to develop my professional skills and achieve my career goals, but it gives me an opportunity to make a difference every single day.
Kimberly Eskew, Community Outreach Intern
My name is Kimberly Eskew. I'm an Interdisciplinary Studies major and I am a junior. CBOB is a chance for kids to create a support network and gain valuable skills and confidence through education that they might not normally be able to, and I'm looking forward to having the opportunity to directly make an impact in the lives of these children.
Rebecca Troast, Fundraising Intern
With this internship with CBOB, I hope to further the mission of CBOB which I believe in, gain a better understanding of the nonprofit fundraising world, and make an impact on young children who are striving for education through my efforts as a fundraiser.
Mariam Hussein By joining CBOB, I am able to give back to the community and contribute to empowering children through education.
Maria Aguila, Public Relations & Social Media Intern
My name is Maria Aguila and this is my first semester at the University of Florida. I’m majoring in Public Relations and I am the VIP intern for Fall 2017. CBOB has definitely touched my heart in all that they do as a non-profit organization, and I feel proud to be part of something so great. I can’t wait to make a difference in our world, and in the future of others!
Samira Amirova, Training Intern
As a senior sociology major at the University of Florida, I have made countless decisions both big and small. My best decision so far has been joining Children Beyond Our Borders in their fight to end social injustices among children. The VIP program has granted me an opportunity to develop as a leader and as a professional to ultimately become a successful physician. A significant feature of this program is the tireless support from the team. They are the embodiment of dignity, passion, and purpose. The team has influenced me into pushing beyond my own borders and capabilities to better my community. " You have two hands; one to help yourself and one to help others "
With the new school year comes a new beginning for teachers and students across the globe.
By: Micayla Kinder
It’s that time of year again... the time of year when store aisles are packed with families bustling to get the best quality lunch boxes, most fashionable backpacks, the healthiest snacks, and the sharpest pencils for their children to help ensure their success this school year. It’s the time of year when college students around the nation prepare for the new football season and load up on their college gear. Some students may dread it, others may look forward to it, but one things for certain: the back to school season is a time of new beginnings.
Children Beyond Our Borders, Inc. Operations Director, Shana Call, is a University of Florida alumni and currently teaches high school in Orlando, Florida. Shana spoke briefly about what excites her about going back to school.
“My favorite part of the back to school season is the thought of a new beginning,” Shana said. “New teachers, new students, and new learning opportunities. No matter what kind of year you had last year this year is a chance to turn things around.”
As a teacher, Shana sees first hand how students react to being back in the classroom. “I think most students initially are excited to see their friends but may be less excited about waking up early, getting back into a routine, and having homework,” Shana said. “I think it's important for kids to be excited about school and learning because keeping an open mind leads them down the road to undiscovered opportunities.” Shana is not only a teacher but she is also a mom and believes that students should not only be do their best in school but also choose to have a character that is kind. “As a mom I think the most important thing for kids to remember is to treat others how you want to be treated,” Shana said.
Shana is a teacher who works hard to ensure that her students learn everything they need to and excel in their academics. “The best part of being back at school and teaching is all the opportunities I have to make connections with new students. My students are special and have unique needs and learning styles, my job is to find out how to reach them in the most effective and efficient way possible. This is the most interesting part of my job.”
Another person excited about the new school year is Children Beyond Our Borders Fundraising Intern, Valentina Betancur. Valentina is a returning intern who is entering her Junior year at the University of Florida. Valentina is excited about both her new classes and all that the fall semester will bring. “School in the fall is always more exciting than the other semesters for some reason,” Valentina said. “What I’m looking forward to the most this fall is just the energy and excitement that comes from the football games and Gator Growl and other school events.” Valentina stated that she agrees with Shana about the fact that fall is a time of new beginnings. “I think that my favorite part of fall semester is that since it’s a new year, you kind of get the opportunity to redefine yourself,” Valentina said. “You can join new clubs and organizations and explore to see what your interests are.”
Valentina is also excited about returning for another semester with Children Beyond Our Borders! “I began as a fundraising in CBOB during the summer semester this year so this is my second semester as a fundraising intern for the organization,” Valentina said. “I’m looking forward to taking on some new responsibilities with my position since I’m more familiar and comfortable with CBOB now.”
From football games, to new teachers and new friends, it’s evident that the start of school year brings an abundance of new and exciting things. Children Beyond Our Borders would like to wish you luck as you head back to school! Remember to work hard, be yourself and make the most of every opportunity that comes your way!
Since 2003, when Children Beyond Our Borders Inc.(CBOB) was founded by four University of Florida students, our organization has welcomed and said goodbye to many beloved individuals who impacted the organization in some shape or form. Although we excitedly welcome new groups of interns and volunteers each semester, we never forget our past members and their contributions to this organizations.. As much as we hate to see them depart, we know our CBOB family is off to achieve tremendous adventures and opportunities, impacting their communities along the way.
Dragana Tabakovic was involved with CBOB during Spring 2014 until Fall 2015 as part of the Volunteer Internship Program (VIP). Tabakovic spent her time with CBOB as the Volunteer Manager. For Tabakovic, the start of the second semester was a rewarding moment for her. With VIP being fairly new, Tabakovic got to see all the potential it held. By the following semester, she was able to watch as the program flourished, as it doubled in size and became much more diverse and successful.
“I originally started as a BFP (then Crossing Borders) volunteer in 2012. The experience completely shaped my college career and the friendships I maintained. Like most post-grads, I had a stint of lostness and didn't have much direction. VIP helped me guide my passion and transition after college, but also I found myself learning SO MUCH from the interns. They had a lot of different education and skill backgrounds and brought so much to the table,” Tabakovic said.
For any incoming interns, Tabakovic suggests to “use your time at CBOB wisely! There is an unlimited amount of little gems within the organization for everyone to tap into.”
Now, Tabakovic works as a family crisis manager at a local mental wellness organization that works with Baker Acts, people experiencing homelessness and families that are in a state of crisis. Tabakovic connects families to resources within the community, including resources our organization has, and gets them back on track to overcome whatever obstacles they may have (whether that be housing, childcare, utilities, rent, etc.).
Acacia Douglas went on three volunteer trips with CBOB, traveling to Medellin twice and attending the founding trip to Ecuador. Douglas was the Fundraising Coordinator for the UF chapter and explains CBOB as life changing for her. For her second trip, Douglas was given the opportunity to be a trip leader.
“Sharing my passion and love for CBOB with these new volunteers was an incredible feeling.” Douglas recounts her experience with the kids during her trip as indescribable. Despite the fact that she was not a fluent Spanish speaker, she was still able to connect with those around her and was impacted by the children she encountered.
“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.
“Know the reason you’re going! 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,” Douglas said.
Today, Douglas works with at-risk youth to help them go to college by providing them with a volunteer mentor and 2-year Florida prepaid scholarship. Douglas serves as their Student Advocate and college success coach. Some of her ‘Take Stock Scholars’ came out to one of our recent events in Alachua, the Back to School Bash.
“It felt so amazing to see my two favorite organizations come together and collaborate! My heart was so full!” Douglas says joyfully.
Catherine Phillips got involved with CBOB in 2014 through the Bound For Peace service trip. Even though Phillips did not have much knowledge about Colombia, she was eager to go when Tabakovic approached her about the trip. During her trip, Philips, along with many other volunteers, worked with roughly 100-120 children. While they were there, they taught workshops that focused on personal development and empowerment, as well as played countless games and activities.
“The two weeks I spent in Colombia are, to date, the best two weeks of my life. The amount of love and zest those kids have for life, in the midst of their environment, is inspiring,” explains Phillips.
To her surprise, Phillips went to change the lives of those children when in reality, they changed her. Phillips will never forget when she first drove up to the foundation with the other volunteers. While laughing, talking, and documenting their time through pictures and videos, Phillips explains the feeling of genuine excitement she could feel in the air on the bus. She will always remember the silence that shifted throughout the bus as they took in their surroundings of the Olaya Herrera Community and describes this moment as ‘extremely powerful.’ The volunteers got to see the environment, which helped them establish a deeper connection with the people they met. Phillips participated in two more trips after this one; no trip is the same, but they all brought the same feeling of fulfillment. Phillips formed lifelong relationships and unforgettable memories.
For anyone thinking of going on a BFP trip Phillips says, “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.”
Phillips even says the language barrier can be daunting but the kids just want your affection and love. There’s also always a few volunteers who speak Spanish well. For anyone going on a trip:
“Live in the moment. Go with an open mind, be ready to learn and have fun! Enjoy every second that you have with children, eat as much food as you can, and just soak in the sunshine. Let the kids teach you the dances. Teach them games. Be present. There’s an indescribable feeling you receive when you go and share life with these children. I can’t explain it, but when you feel it, and you will, you will understand why I fell in love with city,” Phillips said.
Phillips now lives in California and, though she is not actively involved with CBOB, the CBOB motto and mission stays with her everywhere she goes. Since moving, Phillips has finished getting her Teaching English as a Foreign Language license and is now currently applying to teach abroad with the hopes to empower even more children.
As you can see, former CBOB members are accomplishing amazing things in their communities. To no surprise, they are continuing to impact lives in their communities, just as they did when they were involved with CBOB. We wish all of our alumni the best of luck with their future endeavors and cannot wait to see what they fulfill as they become positive leaders to others.
Children Beyond Our Borders, Inc. was founded on the principle that all children, no matter what social, political or economic problems their country is facing, should be provided with a proper education. We believe that education is equal to empowerment and that with an education, any child can achieve their dreams.
To date, CBOB has mentored and affected the lives of thousands of children and has even provided a college education for a few deserving students. The work that CBOB does with the Volunteer Internship Program, Children Within Our Borders, IAMCBOB Scholarship Program, Student Chapters and Bound for Peace Program would not be possible if it were not for the help and support our amazing sponsors.
The dedication of our sponsors has allowed us to do the work that we do and for that, Children Beyond Our Borders, Inc. and the children we serve are extremely grateful. Thank you for all that you do!
We would like to start off by thanking our partners and supporters in the United States. Thank you to: Amazon Smile, Paradigm IT Group, Ana Echeverri and Associates, Mecatos Bakery and Cafe, Proyecto Somos Orlando by Hispanic Federation, HCCMO Leads Groups – East Orlando and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce – Metro Orlando.
Next, we’d like to thank our partner foundations in Latin America: Fundación Granitos de Paz, Fabretto, Fundación Colombia Somos Todos – James Rodriguez, Feed and Fortify and Fundación Lazos Unidos.
We would also like to thank 7Sage LSAT Prep for all that they do.
Every year, CBOB holds its Gala where a silent auction is held and where items that are donated are sold to guests with the highest bid. Our donations from the silent auction are used to expand our classroom facilities and our programs. This year, we were lucky enough to receive donations from: Busch Gardens, Alex & Ani, Crayola Experience – Orlando and Clearwater Marine Aquarium.
And of course, we would finally like to thank all of our recurring and one-time sponsors/donors who have contributed to this organization in one way or another. You have had a hand in improving the life of a child and we are so thankful for your help.
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.
As the summer comes to an end and school starts back up CBOB empowers our kids through education at our Back to School events. By: Karin Fazio As Nelson Mandela said “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” People can take away your fame, your house, your job, your car, but education is the one thing someone cannot take away from you. Education is the pathway to success and it all begins with school.
Every year, school supplies can cause a huge financial strain on a family's budget, especially if there are two or more children to supply for. Since 2006, the cost of school supplies has increased by 88 percent for elementary students. On average, a family will spend about $200 per child on school fees and supplies. For many students, whether or not they arrive on the first day of school with the proper school supplies can set their attitude for the rest of the school year. For Children Beyond Our Borders back to school season is our favorite! Each year we hold our annual back to school events in Alachua and Orlando. Our CBOB family gather together for one last summer bash. Games, prizes, food, and activities are planned to bring the best experience for the kids. In Alachua, a Pediatric Mobile Clinic is arranged with UF Doctors to provide children and their families with medical attention. Dr. Diana Montoya-Williams is the leading Pediatrician for this event and states “Our hope is that by combining the existing infrastructure of the UF mobile Outreach Clinic with the pediatric expertise of physicians, nurses as practitioners and physician assistants at UF, we can help ameliorate local health disparities”. Kids leave with a backpack filled with school supplies and are ecstatic for school to begin. For Tati Paz, the former Operations Director, her favorite part of the mobile clinics are seeing the team come together to provide the community with the healthcare they need. She expects to help provide healthcare for even more families this year. “The kids will leave ready for school with backpacks full of supplies and their physicals filled out.” remarked Paz.
Currently, our Outreach Interns at UCF and UF are working tirelessly to finalize all of the plans for the carnival themed events. Just like a real carnival, booths will be set up to both educate and entertain the children. For Diving Back to School, the Orlando event, plans have been arranged for a bounce house with a slip-n-slide, snow cone machine, DJ, and educational booth games that can win participants extra raffle tickets. As for the Back to School Bash in Alachua, there will be face painting, a DJ, and booths focusing on physical and oral health. This will be the first year that the Pediatric Mobile Clinic and Back to School Bash will be combined. Shana Call, the Operations Director, hopes to meet the needs of the entire community in one location by fusing these two events together. “I am looking forward to helping children become empowered with the tools necessary to achieve success in school. Education is an important factor to breaking the cycle of poverty and through this event, our hope is to encourage empowerment through education” Call states.
Every student who joins us at either location will go home with a backpack. If you’d like to donate or sponsor a child, it is not too late. The deadline to do so is July 28th at 11:59PM. To donate, please visit: www.chbob.org/backpacks
We are also always accepting volunteers for both locations so sign up to be apart of something big. Watch as we give out over one hundred backpacks and spread smiles across kids faces. Click below on the location you'd like to volunteer at! Orlando Alachua
With personal, social, educational and professional commitments, college students often struggle to balance it all. With many obligations, it is refreshing and often necessary for students to find outlets/activities outside of school where they can showcase their passions and skill sets. Working on projects that are meaningful and productive can be a turning point for a student’s college career.
As any freshman, I struggled to find my way as I started at a new school and was forced into new environments. It took me almost a year to grasp my bearings - and even then I felt like I was working on different ventures all the time that didn’t inspire me or make me feel like I was serving a greater purpose.
Luckily, as I was walking around my college after class one day, I came upon a flyer for CBOB’s Volunteer Internship Program in April 2017. I took a picture of the flyer and decided to research Children Beyond Our Borders and see what VIP was all about.
It was almost an obvious choice for me to apply because it offered me a great way to gain experience in my field, while creating content and projects that actually matter to me and make an impact in someone’s life. I applied, went through the whole interview process and was eventually selected to join the team.
Since I started as a public relations and social media intern for CBOB in May, I have learned so much and have met so many amazing people along the way. I have created content for the organization’s social media pages and have seen the results in real time. It is one of the most rewarding things to send a message out and to be able to communicate with people who have the same passion and motivation for change as you do.
Besides working on my tasks as a public relations intern, I really enjoyed working with my team and getting to know the other interns. While we are all in different areas geographically, we still find time to work on the same goals and push the same causes. There wasn’t one instance where I reached out to an intern for help and they didn’t lend a helping hand. The Summer 2017 VIP team has been one of the most talented and dependable teams I have ever been a part of and I am grateful to have worked with each and every one of them.
Overall, I think the Volunteer Internship Program is a great way for students to get hands-on experience and understand what it takes to work for a great organization.
But don’t just take my word for it. Read what some of the other interns had to say about their VIP experience:
Bao Duong, Community Outreach - UCF “Children Beyond Our Borders' Volunteer Internship Program has not only been a great opportunity for me to continue to help the children at Great Value Suites, but I also learned a lot about myself. I've met so many amazing people throughout my internship and I couldn't be more grateful for all their help and generosity. A huge shout out to Shana Call, Yanelis Diaz, Paula Moya and Selim Nassirou for assisting me and being a part of my life. The most rewarding part of interning is impacting these children's lives. I want nothing but happiness for them.”
Mariam Hussein, Campus Communications Liaison - UF “I had a wonderful experience working as an intern at Children Beyond Our Borders, Inc. I gained many professional skills and was able to make a difference in the lives of young children.”
Victoria Harrington, Student Chapter Coordinator “Overall, I’ve really loved my experience with VIP. I’ve gotten to meet so many other great interns and have gotten to know the e-board members in the student chapters as well, and they have honestly been half the reason my time has been so great with VIP. Seeing the passion we all have for CBOB and coming together to make it work as best as possible has been amazing to witness and be a part of.”
Our CBOB family shared with us a few heroes without capes who have impacted their life in a positive way.
by: Karin Fazio When you think of a hero what is the first thing that comes to mind? Batman? Superman? Maybe Spiderman or Captain America? All of these beloved fictional characters have been stealing the hearts of many throughout the years. Why is it that these make-believe characters are loved by millions around the world? For some it may be their astonishing good looks or their witty attitudes, but for many it is their actions to help those in need; saving individuals as they cry for help and eliminating crime in the city with their superpowers. Imagine a world where fictional characters like Superman and the Avengers were real. A world where when we needed help someone was there for us. A world where we could look up to individuals who are courageous and selfless. The best part is that we do live in that kind of world. If you think about it, everyday we are surrounded by heroes. They may not have an elaborate costume or the supernatural powers, but everyday people inspire us to be better versions of ourselves and set examples for everyone around them.
Friend Yennis Diaz is a student at Unicolombo in Cartagena, Colombia. Yennis’ hero is our very own IAMCBOB scholar, Yosimar Palacios Becerra. Yennis met Yosimar back in 2008 in Granitos de Paz through CBOB. Yosimar has changed the life of Yennis tremendously by encouraging her to go to school and learn English. Yennis struggled with getting an education when she was younger, but Yosimar told her that she can start from the bottom. “He always helps me when I need him.” Yennis states. What Yennis admires the most about Yosimar is his constant state of positivity. “He’s always friendly, he’s good to everyone,” she gushes. Regardless of the situation or time Yennis can always count on Yosimar to listen to her, even if that means for hours. Yosimar is extremely honored to be considered a hero to someone else. It means a lot for him that his example can motivate others to do better. “As the saying goes, many hands can make light work. Helping others is something that always makes me happy. Whenever I can do something to make other people’s day better I am always willing to make that happen. It’s hard to say no whenever I know I can help someone in need.” Yosimar wants to thank Yennis for choosing her as his hero. “I’m going to always be there for her and she can always count on me no matter what.”
Mentor For our Training Coordinator, Samira Gasanovna, Helena Chapman has been a huge influence in her life. Chapman will be an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Science & Technology Policy Fellow at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in Fall 2017.The two met in January of 2016 when Chapman was Gasanovna’s group facilitator during their workshop for the Florida Opportunity Scholars Academy of Leadership. Gasanovna admires Chapman’s caring nature both in her personal life and professional world. “She sets the best example of what a human being should strive for. She touches the lives of people far and wide, big and small, white or black or green.” Samira explains. Chapman’s accomplishments shows Gasanovna that Chapman will continuously develop more skills and knowledge everyday. “Her drive and ambition to make a change in public health is a direct reflection of her work ethic. There is no one else I'd seek out for guidance and support.” says Gasanovna. Gasanovna’s favorite memory with Chapman includes all of their countless hours talking together. They always lose track of time, it seems that they have so much to share to one another that time is infinite. Gasanovna thoroughly enjoys listening to Chapman’s input on life. It allows her to reflect on her own decisions and behaviors.If Gasanovna could tell Chapman one thing she’d thank her for always seeing the light of potential in her when she couldn’t. Chapman is humbled by Gasanovna’s nomination. Gasanovna’s kind words inspire Chapman to further her global health journey. “This positive energy can only be felt with the heart and soul, as described by Helen Keller ‘The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched, they must be felt with the heart.’” Chapman believes that caring for others is a fundamental attribute as we promote peace, diversity, and solidarity across our local, national, and international communities. “As a global society, if we share support, joy, and kindness with others, then we can continue to spread our positive energy.” Chapman states. Gasanovna’s words have energized Chapman to strengthen global health leadership by further implementing health education, promotion, and research initiatives in communities, empowering physicians-in-training to be change agents in their communities, and serving as a mentor to health professional students. As quoted by Chapman “These reflections are invaluable, as described by Maya Angelou ‘People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel’”.
Family A daughter’s love for her mother is an indescribable feeling. Not only do mothers provide their children with support, love, and encouragement, but it’s obvious that they have superpowers of their own. Which is why Shana Call, our Volunteer Coordinator, considers her mom, Darlene Herbert, a hero. Call has learned from Herbert how to give selflessly and how to be an advocate for those is need. “Her attitude of compassion and empathy makes her just as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside”. In hindsight Herbert impacted Call the most while receiving her Nursing degree. Herbert’s perseverance allowed her to achieve her goal despite being a mother of four. “She not only put her dreams on hold to make her children a priority, she showed me it doesn’t matter when you get your degree it matters when you pursue your dream. She inspires me daily.” If Call could tell her mother one thing she would thank her for never giving up on her. Herbert supported Call at her lowest and encouraged her to reach the potential Herbert knew she possessed. Herbert is immensely proud that Call chose her as her hero. “My heart was overwhelmed.” Herbert explains. Herbert grew up in a difficult circumstance and felt it was crucial to make everyone feel loved and important. “I would tell Shana that she is loved so much and I am so proud of the person she has become. Watching her grow has been wonderful.”
Whether it’s our friends, mentors, or family members, we are all surrounded by heroes in disguise. So I encourage all of you to take a moment to thank and appreciate the hero in your life. We can all be a hero for others in our community with selfless acts and a passion to help those around us.
With the Fourth of July quickly approaching, the topic of independence is sure to be discussed. The Cambridge Dictionary defines independence as:
The word has many meanings and connects with people for different reasons. In a political sense, the word has implications that a country or group of people are receiving freedom from a government or another country. We have seen this happen several times throughout history, with one of the most significant occurrences happening when the 13 Colonies declared independence from Great Britain in 1776 - thus the beginning of the Fourth of July celebration.
The second meaning has more personal and emotional implications that are symbolic of an individual's complete freedom. Someone who has independence can be who they are, say what they want to say, do what they want to do and believe what they want without the influence or command of someone else.
As someone who has a background and understanding of the significance of both implications of the word, I can truly say that independence is something that has affected my life from before the time I was born up until this very day. My family came to this country as immigrants from Colombia to try to build a better life for their children and to give them the independence that they deserved. Not a day passes by that I am not thankful for everything that my grandparents and parents have done to be able to provide me with the opportunity to be independent and build the life that I want in this country.
Valentina Betancur, a fundraising intern here at CBOB, and her family came to the United States after living in Medellín, Colombia.
“Independence to me means having the freedom and the ability to take steps to better your future,” Betancur said. “In Colombia, my family was never been well off - even though most of us are highly educated. The opportunities just weren’t there and that’s why we moved to the United States. Here, we are given a chance; a chance to have a better education; a chance to have a better job. Here, we are given the chance for freedom and independence.”
Children Beyond Our Borders, Inc. was founded on the mission to provide opportunity and education to children in nations with internal conflict. In doing so, our hope is that these children can have the independence and freedom to achieve their dreams. CBOB combines the word's political and personal implications to allow children to find an outlet outside of their nation’s conflict that can give them a way to live their life free of influence and pressure.
We hope you have a great Fourth of July and have fun celebrating this nation’s Independence Day! Stay safe!
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.