CBOB's managers open up about their jobs and love for CBOB.
From workshops every month, to weekly tutoring, to international Bound for Peace trips, running Children Beyond Our Borders is not an easy task. Here’s a closer look at the team who makes it all work behind the scenes.
Marian Segura: Student Chapter Coordinator
Marian is a student at the University of Florida where she is studying Communication Disorders. She is Pre-Med and hopes to one day be a Pediatric Surgeon. As Student Chapter Coordinator, her responsibilities include making sure all the chapters (UF, UCF, AND FSU) are in constant communication with the Nonprofit Organization, Inc. All the chapters have different expectations for each semester, and she works to help them achieve these goals. Something you might not know about her is that she was born in Cuba, and her Hispanic heritage is one of the reasons she feels so connected to this organization.
Juan Leon: Volunteer Coordinator
Juan is a second-year student at the University of Florida where he is studying Biomedical Engineering. He first got involved with CBOB through VIP (Volunteer Internship Program) and loved it so much that he is now one of our managers! Juan is originally from Ecuador, having immigrated to the US at the age of 13, and has a passion for helping those in his same shoes. As Volunteer Coordinator, Juan’s responsibilities include overseeing the workshops at UCF and UF, running the tutoring events, and also managing the Health Initiatives branch of CBOB, including our free pediatric community clinic. A fun fact about Juan is that he has been playing classical guitar for the past three years and is actually minoring in Music Performance.
Shana Call: Operations Director
Shana first got involved with CBOB during her senior year at the University of Florida, where she began as the grant writing intern. One of her favorite experiences from her time with CBOB is working at the monthly workshops. “They all have different personalities and needs but ultimately we find a way to get a positive reaction from them which makes our work worthwhile,” says Shana. As Operations Director, her responsibilities include directing VIP. She is very involved, making sure the interns are not overwhelmed, get the support they need, and are making their respective departments as successful as can be. When she’s not busy with CBOB, her favorite hobby is creative writing.
Melissa Moreno: Creative Director
Originally from Miami, Melissa came to the University of Florida in 2015 and is graduating this upcoming December with a degree in Public Relations. She first got involved with CBOB this summer as one of the public relations interns. She worked her way up to Creative Director, where her responsibilities now include overlooking all the PR campaigns of the organization and maintaining CBOB’s branding and mission. For Melissa, one of her most memorable CBOB experiences was the Summer Retreat, where she got to meet and bond with the whole team. Outside of CBOB, Melissa just got a new puppy named Stella, and as Melissa says, she is “the cutest thing alive!”
Teagan Murphy: Mentorship Director
Teagan is a third-year student at the University of Florida majoring in Family, Youth & Community Sciences with a minor in Nonprofit Organizational Leadership. She has a passion for fighting societal inequalities and social injustices through nonprofit work, which is clearly reflected in both her major and involvement with CBOB. Teagan first got involved through VIP as the fundraising intern during fall 2015. She was promoted to Mentorship Director after she developed the College Prep Mentoring Program, which helps low-income students in Gainesville and Orlando prepare for college. Her responsibilities now also include overseeing the IAMCBOB Scholarship Program and managing the professional development activities for our scholars in Colombia. As if all of her work for CBOB in Florida is not enough, Teagan served on the Bound for Peace trip to Cartagena, Colombia in May 2016.
“Through this trip, I was able to work with a group of incredible, fun-loving kids and create long-lasting bonds with both fellow BFP volunteers and local volunteers from the area we served. The trip left such an impact on me that the following year I went back to Cartagena on my own to visit the kids I met and the friends I made while volunteering. During this return trip, I was also able to attend our first scholar's college graduation celebration, and meet our four other scholars from Medellin who were in town for the celebration. I had an incredible time catching up with old friends and making new ones!”
Endrina Fernandez: Director of Service Trip Program
Endrina was born in Venezuela and is a University of Florida Gator. She first got involved with CBOB in 2015 when she participated in a service trip to Cartagena for two weeks. She returned with a love for CBOB and decided to dedicate more of her time to the organization. Now, as Director of the Service Trip Program, she is responsible for all Bound For Peace trips, the very trip she first got started with. Her favorite experience so far has been connecting with all the children on the service trip. While in Cartagena, she connected with the kids and shared many amazing experiences with them, and they even taught her a dance! Not only did she love spending time with the kids, but had a great time exploring the city as well.
"Cartagena has beautiful scenery and culture, which made it overall an unforgettable experience. Joining Cartagena BFP trip is what motivated me to come back to CBOB and do more. Each kid has a way of demonstrating genuine friendship and appreciation that touches your heart, as cliche as that may sound," says Endrina.
Andrea Ortega: Executive Director
Andrea is currently pursuing her PhD in Public Administration at the University of Central Florida. She is happily married and is expecting her first child, Gaby, very soon! As Executive Director, she has major influence on the team. Her responsibilities include making sure everyone is communicating, and stepping in to solve any issues that arise. She says that if it was not for her amazing team, her job would be way harder.
CBOB has impacted Andrea's life in more ways than one: she actually met her husband on a CBOB trip in 2012! She first got involved with CBOB back in 2009. When she heard there was an organization that allowed you to travel and help kids in Colombia, she was instantly attracted to the program. Since then, she has traveled on a total of 5 Bound for Peace trips! She has not only learned so much about patience and resilience on these trips, but she believes that they have made her a better person overall as well. Her trips have left her with so many memories, some leaving lasting impressions. So many inspiring moments happen in Bound for Peace trips, but one of her favorite stories to tell occurred on a trip to Medellin, Colombia. The members of the trip raised enough money to buy blankets for every single child at a home in Medellin, about 80 kids.
"So, the story is that they planned the best tuck-in night ever, they all helped them eat their snacks, read them bedtime stories, tucked each child in and gave them a kiss goodnight before leaving the home. One child started crying and the volunteer asked 'Why are you crying?' and he said 'Because no one has ever tucked me in before.' I bawled that night, literally everything changed in me when and even my relationship changed with my parents," said Andrea.
Gina Castaño: Development Director
Gina was born in Cali, Colombia and is both a board member and Development Director for CBOB. In addition to CBOB, she is a Teach for America Corps member, teaches a third-grade class in Orlando, is a salsa dancer, Zumba instructor, vegetarian, and human rights activist. As Development Director, her job has led to a talented team of bright interns. She is in charge of work such as partnering with local businesses to host fundraisers, meeting with potential donors, writing the 5-year plan, and more!
She first heard of CBOB during her freshman year at the University of Florida. She is always looking for ways to visit and work in her native Colombia, so the Bound for Peace trips were the perfect opportunity for her. She describes both trips as “incredible and memorable” and says that it is difficult to describe her amazing experiences without crying. She even has “Bound for Peace” tattooed on her collar bone!
A fun fact about her is that she has a 30 under 30 goal: to visit 30 countries before she turns 30. She has three years left and just 9 countries to go!
Get ready to dress up, have fun and give back at Children Beyond Our Border’s fourth annual Gala!
By: Micayla Kinder
It’s almost here! Our fourth annual Gala is right around the corner! Join Children Beyond Our Borders, Inc. for this black tie event and celebrate our accomplishments from the year! This event will help us to expand our programs which currently serve over 1,130 children abroad and locally. This year Gala will take place on November 4th at Caribe Blu in Orlando, Florida and the theme is: A Building Block For Education! Members of the community, as well as CBOB interns and volunteers all come together each year for this spectacular event. This year our main focus is improving our facilities for our children in Orlando and Gainesville so that children can have a safe and loving environment to focus on the values the that we teach. With your help, we can achieve that goal and do so much more!
To understand why Gala is such an important and incredible event, you should first know a little more about the organization that Gala supports. Children Beyond Our Borders Inc. is a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering children through education both in the United States and internationally. CBOB’s mission is to “provide opportunities for children and youth affected by armed conflict and social injustice to find peace, prosperity and well-being through education and empowerment.” Children Within Our Borders works with local children in the Gainesville and Orlando communities. Workshops and tutoring sessions are provided to help the children build an education, as well as help give them the confidence to succeed and follow their dreams. They have five main programs which include Children Within Our Borders, Bound For Peace, the Volunteer Internship Program, the IAMCBOB Scholars Program, and our Student Chapters. Each program is unique but all of them work together to achieve the common purpose of providing children with education so that their future is bright and so that they can have the tools they need to make this world a better place.
So why should you attend Gala? Gala is a wonderful opportunity to give to a good cause and enjoy a night filled with great food, dancing, silent auctions! This year our wonderful donors have donated incredible items that you will have the chance to win in our silent auction! Some of the items include two 30-minute sessions at the Floating Lotus Spa, two admission tickets to Busch Gardens, and four admission tickets to the Kennedy Space Center. Gala is not only a time to give back but it is also a great opportunity to connect with those involved in Children Beyond Our Borders, Inc.
Teagan Murphy, CBOB’s Mentorship Coordinator, has attended Gala in the past and has made a lot of great memories there.
“The most exciting part is to see everyone with a love for this organization come together for a formal yet fun night of dinner and dancing,” Teagan said. “My favorite memory was when I got to reunite with three girls from my Bound for Peace trip the summer before, and all four of us received different CBOB awards!”
Teagan also emphasized that the funds that Gala raises all go toward bettering the next generation through education.
“Gala raises money for our Children Within Our Borders programs, which provide at-risk youth in Alachua, Orlando, and Tallahassee with opportunities like tutoring, weekend workshops, and summer camps,” Teagan said.
CBOB’s Operation’s Director Shana Call, has also attended Gala and had nothing but good things to say about the event.
“Gala is such an important event for CBOB,” Shana said. “It is not only a wonderful community fundraising event, it allows us to recognize the hard work and efforts of those who help make CBOB successful. This formal affair is an excellent networking opportunity and puts like-minded people in touch with each other in hopes of building a stronger bond to further our mission.”
If you are interested in supporting Children Beyond Our Borders by attending this event you can purchase tickets at www.chbob.org/gala.html For more information or on how to sponsor this event please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Learn about the holiday coming up Monday, October 2nd, and about how we can all come together to improve the lives of children across the country
By: Maria Aguila
On National Child Health Day, we celebrate the commitment of working to enhance the lives of children and families around the world. Every child and family is deserving of a chance to live the best life they can live. National Child Health Day is a United States Federal Observance Day held each year on the first Monday in October. This day serves its purpose of spreading awareness of how one can protect and develop a child’s health. Numerous health professionals and organizations participate in this special day through different activities such as how the HRSA (Health Resources and Services Administration) provides educational resources for parents, children, and schools in regards to issues such as healthy choices and a fit lifestyle.
Former president Barack Obama believes that today’s youth will shape our nation’s story - and CBOB does too. President Obama’s proclamation on September 29, 2016 spoke on how his administration’s top priority was to improve children’s health throughout his 8-year term. Communities gathered together and worked as a team to reduce childhood obesity by giving available access to those in need of affordable and nutritious food as well as encouraging physical activity to become an early habit throughout daily life.
Unfortunately, obesity across the U.S. in children is rapidly increasing. Children with a body mass index equal to/higher than 95 percent of their peers are said to be obese. Children who are obese face many different serious health risks such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, asthma, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. These physical health issues aren’t the only risks though, children fighting obesity may also become depressed and develop low self-esteem.
Many things can cause obesity such as family history, psychological factors, and lifestyle. A diet with high levels or fat or sugar, and minimal nutrients assist in gaining weight rapidly. Common foods are fast food such as McDonald’s, as well as candy and soda. Did you know that more than half of children in the U.S. drink 24 ounces of soda at minimum per day? Not enough exercise or activity is another leading cause of obesity as well as feeling stressed or depressed.
Luckily, there are ways to prevent AND combat obesity. Changing eating habits is essential in order to be and feel healthy, limiting sweets, fast foods and soft drinks is a must. Physical activity is also a must. Most children don’t like exercising so playing games, such as tag, instead is a good alternative. Television and social media entertainment should also be limited; the time spent during these activities could be spent performing physical activities.
Here are some tips on how to stay healthy:
At CBOB, we stand for bettering the lives of our children. That is why we hold a mobile health clinic where health care is provided to children. We aim to teach children about proper nutrition and health habits so that they can live the best life they can and achieve all the success in the world. Let’s all make a difference in a child’s life, and in our own life, by promoting healthy habits today!
CBOB’s Student Chapter Presidents open up about what they do and how working with CBOB has impacted their lives.
By Micayla Kinder
Every school year Children Beyond Our Borders, Inc. student chapter members work to raise awareness on campus and throughout their communities about where child poverty, social injustice and internal displacement is found. Members participate in educational workshops, fundraisers for special projects and also help organize Bound For Peace service trips.
Sofia Camara is the president of FSU’s student chapter. This is her first year serving as president and she spoke briefly about her experience.
Sofia found out about the Student Chapter through NoleCentral: a website where students can learn about the different clubs on campus.
“My favorite part of being involved in CBOB is seeing the difference we make first hand,” Sofia said. “After going to Colombia last year for CBOB, I fell even more in love with this club.”
Sofia believes that joining the CBOB team is the best decision someone can make and that it’s a learning experience that no one should pass up.
“It is not too time consuming so you can focus on school work and other activities. You can also get a lot of hands-on experience with volunteering with kids in Tallahassee, as well as general fundraising around our campus. Of course the best opportunity is to go on a trip to help children in underprivileged areas beyond the United States.”
Yanelis Diaz is the President of UCF’s student chapter. Yanelis had a lot to say about how her time working with CBOB has impacted her life.
"I have been involved with UCF’s student chapter since April 2016 and CBOB in general since January 2016,” Yanelis said. “My journey with CBOB started when I went to volunteer for a CWOB event that my friend heard in an announcement in her class. I would have never foreseen, after attending that one event, that I would be sitting here in my second year as President of the UCF Chapter, have completed a Bound for Peace Trip to Colombia as a Trip Leader, continued to be a Lead Tutor for CWOB’s Weekly Tutoring and helped kickoff a Summer Science Camp for children in our community with the help of CWOB. As president, I help connect others to all the amazing service opportunities CBOB has given me access to and ensure that all members truly understand our mission.
We are more than an organization looking to check hours off service hours, we strive to engage with the children we work with so they can continue to empower themselves when CBOB is not around. The UCF chapter is always working together with CWOB to make sure the children we have been working with for two years now are always given the best quality program to participate in, from monthly events to weekly tutoring. Furthermore we provide socials for our like-minded members, that want to make this world a better place so they can socialize and bond in a non-academic setting. Something new we are trying this semester is using half of the time of our hour-long biweekly meetings to make activities/gifts for the children we work with; by doing so we even get to use our meeting time to give back to our community. Since being a part of CBOB I value the power of building relationships and support more- that’s really all that children want from us when we are with them. To anyone out there thinking about joining the UCF Chapter: I encourage you to do so to not only help empower a child, but yourself."
Last but not least, UF’s Student Chapter President is Kiki Dowell. Kiki served as the vice president of the organization last year and began serving as the president last summer.
“As President, I work hand and hand with UF student government and the CBOB executive board to plan fundraisers, socials, awareness events, and community service events,” Kiki said
The Student Chapters hold a number of events throughout the year. Kiki stated that the event that has impacted her most is the CBOB mobile outreach clinic.
“My favorite events are the mobile outreach clinics,” Kiki said. “We come together to provide free healthcare to the children we work with. Through these experiences, I have been able to see first-hand the barriers for health care in our community. It has been a life changing experience. In the future, I hope to carry the mission to help vulnerable populations as I aspire to become a doctor.”
Kiki along with the rest of the UF Student Chapter members are strong advocators of the mission that Children Beyond Our Borders, Inc. strives to uphold: the mission of using education as a tool to empower children across the globe.
“I believe education is the pathway to success,” Kiki said. “The UF Student Chapter strives to help children in Alachua succeed in school. We encourage them to reach for their dreams. We support them through offering free tutoring services.”
If you are a student interested in social justice including peace initiatives, youth empowerment, community service, youth education, Latin American studies, sustainability studies, family and social wellness, science and technology, public relations, nonprofit management, or any other field related to CBOB’s mission, consider coming to a chapter meeting and find out how to get more involved!
For more information on the Student Chapters visit www.chbob.org/student-chapters
by Christina Mouttet
The only way to ensure a child’s future is through education. Education is the key to open all doors, to allow both individuals and societies as a whole to advance. This is why Children Beyond Our Borders Inc. has made it one of our top priorities to do our best in helping the education systems in Latin America, particularly in Colombia.
However, many top Colombian universities are making noticeable progress in access and quality and are on par with international standards. So, why is it that such a large number of Colombians are still not going to college?
Colombia’s education system by the numbers:
· Only 37.2% of Colombians continue education after high school.
· 45.4% of students dropped out of tertiary education as of 2010.
· By the time children reach age 17, 75% drop out of the education system.
· About 37% of students start school late and about 41% repeat at least one grade by age 15.
· There are only 7.1 Masters of PhD degree holders per 1,000,000 inhabitants.
The issue with the Colombian education is that while the students have good universities available to them, the educational system is not preparing the youth well enough for the universities. Inadequate facilities, lack of internet access, location of schools, and insufficient salaries for teachers are all factors that, combined, have created an extremely flawed system. While Colombia has put forth increasing effort in expanding the access of education across the country, they are not able to keep up financially with the rising number of students enrolled. Therefore, while more students may have access to a public school in their area, the quality of education they will be receiving is extremely low.
Furthermore, access to schools is still a problem in rural areas. 2 out of 10 children living in rural areas will not attend school. 4.6% of annual GDP has been invested in education, but only .5% of this expenditure has gone towards rural areas. Because of this, there is a huge disparity between children in urban and rural areas.
“In my experience, what can be improved about the system is the equality. Everyone deserves the right to the same education. When it comes to university, it is much harder for students who came from the public education system to be able to keep up with the students who received a paid, private education,” said Camilo Marrugo, a CBOB volunteer in Colombia.
These issues have culminated into a poor education system that is one of the most massive problems facing Colombia today. Lack of education leads to a cycle of unemployment, violence, and poverty. If the people are not empowered, they are less likely to be successful. And as we say at CBOB: education equals empowerment.
Meet the team that will be helping CBOB grow this fall!