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.
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.”
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’”.
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.
By: Melissa Moreno
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.
By: Micayla Kinder
With Father’s Day around the corner, some of the Children Beyond Our Borders’ Inc. scholars and staff reflect on lessons learned and memories made with their dads.
This Sunday, families across the country will spend the day celebrating their dads and thanking them for all that they do in honor of Father’s Day. The word father has many different meanings. For some it represents a biological father, for others it may indicate an adoptive father or a father figure who took on the role of a dad. A father is someone who raises a child, someone who nurtures them, guides them throughout their life, supports them and is their number one fan. Children Beyond Our Borders Inc. strives to help children be able to have a future that is bright and filled with possibility and we are grateful for the many fathers who share this vision and have worked hard to empower their children.
IAMCBOB Scholar, Jeison Alexander Orrego Toro, is thankful for the fundamental role that his father, Alexander de Jesús Orrego, has played in his life.
“I am grateful for him sacrificing his youth, for him giving me and my sisters what we needed,” Jeison said. “We have never lacked anything thanks to him. He is the best father of all. He is the most hard-working and persevering person I know, and he’s always striving hard to get what he wants.”
Yosimar Palacios Becerra, is an IAMCBOB scholar who has also learned important lessons from his father, Jose Luis Palacios.
“He has definitely shown me with his example and just with little things, so many lessons in my life, Yosimar said. “I have learned so many values from my father and I am so proud of him.”
Yosimar stated that he is most grateful for his father’s dedication, hard work and patience.
Another IAMCBOB scholar who has a lot to thank his dad for this year is Davian De Jesús Ortíz Velásquez.
Davian had this to say about his dad: “My father has been a fundamental support for my life and for my personal development. He has been a very strict, yet very valuable person in my life. My father is an indescribable person, but I would best describe him as a very enterprising person that is able to face many obstacles that life gives him. Despite so many difficulties, he has always been there for my family and willing to make a life for us.”
Children Beyond Our Borders’ Inc. Executive Director, Andrea Ortega has a special relationship with her father, Jairo Ortega, and sees him not only as her dad, but also as her best friend.
“My dad has been the provider for my family not just financially but also when it came to anything I needed emotionally,” Andrea said. “My dad has always been my best friend even through my crazy teenage years. He's always been understanding and someone I can talk to. The most important thing he has always taught me and supported me by is through education. For as long as I can remember my dad has said go to school, go to school and never stop.”
Andrea has learned important lessons from her father and still uses many of the things she learned from him today.
“He taught me to say sorry,” Andrea said. “While our lives haven't been perfect, I am lucky enough to remember the good things because of his ability to push through and put his love for his family first. He taught me money doesn't mean happiness because even when I think about the times we really struggled when he lost his job when I was like 12, I just remember being able to spend more time with him and still always making my education a priority. ”
Andrea has a lot of great memories with her father and recounted one tradition that her and father began when she was a child.
“There are so many wonderful memories with him, something we did all the way through High School was go to the movies EVERY Friday,” Andrea said. “He taught me family was more important than friends and anything else in life. If he was taking the time out every Friday to be with me, then I should too and it became our little tradition so even if there was a party or something I actually preferred going to the movies because it was with him and spending quality time with those we love.”
Whether you write a card, prepare a meal or make a phone call; be sure to express your gratitude in some way to the man that raised you this Father’s Day. Children Beyond Our Borders Inc. would like to say thank you to all of the wonderful fathers out there who have worked hard to protect, teach, provide for, and empower their children. Happy Father’s Day!
Students in the IAMCBOB scholarship program reflect on how the program has impacted their lives and helped them to reach their goals.
By: Micayla Kinder
IAMCBOB is a scholarship program funded through Children Beyond Our Borders, Inc. that works to give students who face adversity in Colombia the chance to go to college. Colombia has one of the highest levels of social inequality in South America and this program aims to help these young adults pursue their dreams and have the opportunity to be the change they want to see in the world. Scholars receive an all-expense-paid college education, and in exchange act as service leaders to work to give back to their communities. The IAMCBOB scholarship program has been sponsoring five students this past year and has helped one IAMCBOB scholar to graduate! IAMCBOB has also selected five new students to be a part of the program: Andrea Cano, Juliana Cossio, Luisa Maria Bedoya, Yeny Lopez and Valentina Rincon. We are excited to be welcome them to the CBOB family and see them grow throughout their journey in college.
Last month Yosimar Palacios Becerra became the first IAMCBOB scholar to graduate and his life has been changed for the better. Yosimar spoke about how he is incredibly grateful for the IAMCBOB program.
“Being an IAMCBOB scholar has been one of the biggest blessings of my life. CBOB means the world to me and I will forever be grateful to it for changing my life,” Yosimar said. “They have shown me that nothing is impossible in life, and that you should never let anything or anyone stop you from making your dreams come true. If I can make it, everyone can.”
Yosimar went above and beyond his commitments as a scholar and was constantly volunteering with CBOB, putting on workshops and assisting with Bound for Peace trip logistics.
“This has been one of the greatest experiences of my life. I started volunteering as CBOB’s trip coordinator in Cartagena arranging hotels, food, excursions, workshops with the children and anything else that the volunteers may need,” Yosimar said. “I have been doing this for the last five years, so it is kind of crazy because I volunteer, work, and go to university, but I love it so there is no pain doing it. I want the best for the community and my dream is that more children will achieve their dreams like I am doing right now.”
Yosimar plans to continue working in the tourism industry and is excited to see what the future holds. He is currently in the United States starting an internship and will be there for three months.
Davian De Jesús Ortíz Velásquez is also an IAMCBOB scholar who has benefitted greatly from the program. Davian is studying Industrial Design in Medellin, Colombia and spoke briefly about his experience with the scholar’s program.
“It has been a wonderful experience since IAMCBOB opened the doors for a new and prosperous future for me,” Davian said. “Now I can get ahead and fight with better tools for my family and for everyone that needs my support. I have learned thousands of things for my personal and collective development.”
Jeison Alexander Orrego Toro, a Civil Engineering Student in Medellin, Colombia, is another IAMCBOB scholar. Jeison hopes to someday work and do a specialization in the United States.
“It has been the most valuable experience of my life,” Jeison said. “Since becoming a part of CBOB, I learn new things every day and I see my dreams get closer. I have met wonderful people and I hope to keep those friendships in my life.”
Jeison stated that though being in college is challenging, he is persevering with the help of those around him.
“The most difficult thing about being in university is leaving important things in your life aside in order to dedicate yourself to studying for exams,” Jeison said. “The university is a valuable and difficult stage in life. Thanks to the support of my family and CBOB, it has been an adventure, but thanks to God I do very well.”
You can become an IAMCBOB sponsor today and change someone’s life by helping them become empowered through education. By contributing any amount for these students you are not only providing them with the opportunity to better themselves, but also equipping them to better their communities and ultimately better the world. Visit www.chbob.org/iamcbob-scholarship to learn more about our IAMCBOB scholarship program and find out how you can become a sponsor.
Join us for this annual event as we create friendships, eat delicious food, and support the local children.
By: Karin Fazio
Mark your calendars for November 4th because Children Beyond Our Borders is holding the biggest CBOB event of the year. The 4th Annual Gala: A Building Block for Education is making its appearance in Orlando, Florida, this time at the Caribe Blu for the very first time. Every year our CBOB family gathers together for this black tie event to celebrate all of our efforts and accomplishments for the year, as well as discuss our vision for the future. Each year our Gala gives opportunities to help shape the lives of the children we serve.
A building block, defined by the Merriam Webster dictionary, is a basic unit from which something is built up. It’s also defined as a component that fits with others to form a whole. Our mission in CBOB 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”. Not only are we providing an education for these children, but we are supplying them with the proper building blocks to achieve that education. Our main in focus is improving our facility for our children in Orlando and Gainesville to have a safe and loving environment to focus on the values the that we teach. With your help we can make this happen. With a small donation you can help us reach our goal.These will serve as a safe space for the children, where their educational needs can be met, a mere building block for them to follow their dreams through education. With the help of our donors, we can continue building our programs into bigger and better resources to encourage our children, who inspire us every single day while they push to expand their knowledge for a brighter future.
Meghana Tatineni, the Event Manager, has been working hard at finding sponsors for this event, as well as entertainment in hopes to make this event enjoyable for all of our hardworking members, as well as all of our supporters. We all at CBOB know that Gala is going to be a success with the efforts of Meghana, those working alongside her, and of course all of our attendees. Our previous Event Manager Carolina De La Rosa, who organized the 2016 Gala event, describes Gala as a “fun, memorable night and a great way to be reminded of what CBOB does for the community, while getting to dine and dance with people that share your love for service”.
Shana Call, our Volunteer Coordinator, says “Gala gave me an opportunity to be surrounded by people with the same mission in mind. It’s a wonderful networking experience. Each year members of the board, interns, managers, and individuals who have a love for CBOB all come together to support what is CBOB.” It is definitely a time to cherish and remember in the future years to come.
If you are new to CBOB and want to get to meet and connect with fellow active members this is the perfect way to do so. Our Mentorship Coordinator, Teagan Murphy, has been involved with CBOB for two years now and has attended the past two Gala events. The 2015 Gala event occurred when Teagan had only been involved with CBOB for a month. “It was a great way for me to see so many people who had been involved with or impacted by CBOB, including but also aside from the interns I worked with regularly” Murphy states.
For the 2016 Gala event, Teagan had now been involved for over a year and felt as if she was reuniting with the CBOB family rather than being introduced, both memorable in different ways. Here, Teagan was able to catch up with managers like our Executive Director and the Director of the Service Trip Program, the interns from other cities, and the girls she volunteered with in Cartagena on a Bound For Peace trip that previous summer. Teagan was rewarded CBOBer of the Year at the event for all of her hard work and was able to reflect back on the year. CBOB is so lucky to have members like Teagan who help achieve our goal and mission and that’s why Gala is such an important event. It allows for everyone to come together and celebrate a cause we all hold very dear to our hearts.
As you can see, the Gala is a wonderful social event for members, but more than anything else it is a night to raise money for our Children Within Our Borders program. 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 not only an education, but confidence to succeed and follow their dreams.
Juanita Buitrago, the Service Trip Program Director, has attended the previous Galas and looks forward to attending every single year. Seeing individuals being highlighted for all of their hard work during the award portion is one of her favorite parts. Every single individual is what makes CBOB what it is today. Just like building blocks we are all individual pieces that comprise of one framework, providing the support and love for the children who fight against social injustice. Every year Gala awards are handed out for volunteers in appreciation of their time, efforts, and passion they put into the organization and the children.
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 email@example.com.
With your help we can end the fight against social injustice and change the lives of all of the current and future children involved with Children Beyond Our Borders!
CBOB members come together for a weekend of team building activities to create unity and prepare for the new semester.
By: Micayla Kinder
On Saturday, the Children Beyond Our Borders team headed to Davenport, Florida, for their summer Member Retreat! Both returning and new VIP interns were present as well as executive-board members from the UCF and UF chapters. The retreat began at around 10 a.m. Saturday with the interns getting the opportunity to talk and get to know each other better. The VIP interns work together virtually, so the face-to-face interaction and quality time that the members got to have was very valuable and important for creating unity and establishing relationships to improve the communication that takes place for CBOB on a regular basis. Those attending the retreat were split into four teams: the pink team, the blue team, the green team and the purple team. Each group had a team captain and teams worked together throughout the day for several fun outdoor activities!
The sun was full ablaze as the teams walked outside and prepared themselves for the competition.The first game of the day was a high energy balloon stomp game. The game got heated and the competition was close, but in the end the blue team was victorious! The next activity was a friendly game of Tug-of-war. Though every team did their best, the green team won by a landslide (pun intended). The CBOB members then took a lunch/pool break and got to spend some time conversing. After a few brief conversations with people I was amazed to see how diverse the CBOB family is.
I met people with different career aspirations and from all different backgrounds. There were some students studying public relations and social sciences and others who were studying biomedical engineering and biochemistry. While it was easy to note our differences, it was also inspiring to see how so many different people can come together and be unified under a common cause.
Mariam Hussein, the UF Campus Communications Liaison, was touched by the power that CBOB had in bringing all of us together.
“One thing I took away from the retreat was that while all of the interns and e-board members come from different backgrounds and have different majors, we all want to make a difference and help better CBOB,” Hussein said.
It took the teams a little while to warm up to each other but by the end of the day everyone was laughing and having a good time. Teagan Murphy, the Mentorship Coordinator for CBOB, spoke about how her team transformed throughout the day.
“I really enjoyed working with my team. At first we were all a bit nervous and just wanted to get the activities over with, but we ended up becoming a bit competitive ourselves and really enjoyed the activities,” Murphy said.
The next activity on the agenda was an intense game of Twister. The teams chose their representatives wisely and the game ended in a three-way tie between the green, blue and purple team.
Around 5 p.m. the day came to a close with one final relay race. The teams gave it their all and raced to the finish line. When the points were added up the blue and green team tied for first place and they made the decision to share the prize. When the activities were completed, the members came together and shared their highs and lows from the day as well as any goals they had for the semester. Some members had goals that were specific to their position while others simply wanted to help CBOB grow as a whole. Valentina Betancur, one of the new fundraising interns, shared about how the retreat helped shape some of her goals for CBOB.
“Seeing how hard everyone was working for some of the events that CBOB is having definitely helped me to solidify my own fundraising goals and made me more serious about reaching them,” Betancur said.
Everyone took something away from the retreat and left feeling more connected to each other and to the CBOB mission.
“I think the retreat is beneficial because it really helps us to get to know each other and who you’re actually working with,” Betancur said. “Since this is a virtual internship, the people working and volunteering for the organization felt a little abstract to me. Then after meeting everyone and sweating with them, it helped solidify the whole experience.”
The semester is already off to a great start and after a really fun weekend together, the CBOB team is ready to work hard to make CBOB the very best is can be!
Meet the new team that will be handling all things CBOB this summer
By: Melissa Moreno
The Volunteer Internship Program (VIP) is a selective program that allows individuals to get involved in an international non-profit organization. VIP interns are treated as employees by encouraging independence, originality, and a stress-free environment. While participating in VIP, interns apply their academic skills to a hands-on experience in the nonprofit field. The overall goal of VIP is to encourage and empower our interns by providing life skills that can prepare them for a successful future.
The Summer 2017 team just started and we’d like to introduce them to the rest of our CBOB family!
Meet the Team: (Name, Position)
Juan Leon, Community Outreach - UF
Hi! I am a first year (soon to be second year) Biomedical Engineering major. CBOB is significant to me because of their vision, which boils down to empowerment through education. I immigrated from Ecuador when I was a teenager and struggled to integrate into American culture, so I see CBOB's mission as a very noble way to prevent other children from facing similar hardships. I am most looking forward to directly giving back to Gainesville's Latino community and helping to bring down any barrier that might stand in a child's way.
Baotran Duongkhuu, Community Outreach - UCF
My name is Baotran Duong, prefer to be called Bao. I'm a psychology major and I'm a senior at UCF. CBOB is significant to me because I love what this organization stands for. Whatever their situation may be, a child should feel happy and loved. Being a part of CBOB as a member and meeting the children has definitely touched my heart. What I'm looking forward to as an intern is giving more love and time to the children and families at Great Value Suites!
Lai Jing Su, Health Initiatives
Hi! I'm a rising third year student double majoring in Biochemistry and Spanish while on the premed track. CBOB is significant to me because it truly does empower young individuals to strive for a better future, whether it’s through the educational or medical resources that CBOB provides. This summer I am really looking forward to the Mobile Health Clinic event because the kids are great and it's just so great to see the positive impact it has on families.
Liana Grantges, Grant Writing
I will be a junior this year at the University of Florida, and am awaiting my application status for the Nursing major. Additionally, I obtained a Music Performance minor for the violin, an instrument I have been playing since I was five years old. Last year, I served as the Treasurer for the UF Chapter of Children Beyond our Borders, and am very excited to be continuing as an intern with VIP. I love writing and research, so I’m eager to put these passions to the wonderful cause that CBOB stands for. I am grateful to hold a position where the skills developed will translate to skills used in the medical field that I aspire to enter as a professional.
Micayla Kinder, Public Relations and Social Media
My name is Micayla Kinder and I am currently a senior at the University of Florida. I am a public relations student and my outside concentration is in nonprofit organizational leadership. I hope to one day work full time for an organization that is striving to help those in need and make an impact in their community. I love all things related to social media, photography and music. I am thrilled to be joining the CBOB team and am looking forward to an exciting summer.
Melissa Moreno, Public Relations and Social Media
My name is Melissa Moreno and I am currently a senior at the University of Florida studying public relations with a specialized focus in business. I am on schedule to graduate this upcoming December and I am very excited to do what I love and start my career. I started my internship at CBOB this summer semester, and I am thrilled to have this opportunity. Much of my family is from Colombia, so I feel a personal connection to the cause of this organization and to the children that we serve. I hope to contribute as much as I can to spread the word about the mission and passion of this organization to others in the community.
Karin Fazio, Public Relations and Social Media
I am currently a student at the University of Central Florida studying Social Sciences with a concentration in advertising. In the future, it is my personal goal to work for a nonprofit organization and use my knowledge of media communication to help the organization succeed and impact those in need. I think this internship position will help me grow as an individual as I learn skills and gain insight from a non-profit organization. I look forward to working with this team.
Tara Berg, Graphic Design
I’m going into my second year of studying graphic design at the University of Florida, and I love it. In the future, I hope to be utilizing graphic design for marketing purposes, whether that means working for a non-profit like CBOB, or a marketing firm. I’m really excited about my internship with CBOB this summer. I think that it will be really fulfilling to create designs that will ultimately benefit children both locally and globally. I love CBOB’s mission, and I’m honored to work for them.
Hali Reeves, Graphic Design
My name is Hali Reeves and I'm a graphic design major. I just finished my freshman year, so I still have a year before I officially apply to the graphic design program. CBOB is important to me because everyone in the world deserves to have the same opportunities as anyone else. CBOB helps to provide opportunities for people who may not have been born into many privileges and I think that's really meaningful for the way that the systems of our world and our country are growing and changing.
Samantha Boddupalli, Fundraising
My name is Samantha Boddupalli, and I'm a rising junior majoring in Neurobiological Sciences. CBOB is important to me because I am really passionate about education and empowerment through education. I can't wait to get to work and raise as much money as I can for CBOB!
Valentina Betancur, Fundraising
My name is Valentina Betancur, I am a second year student at the University of Florida. I am majoring in Economics and International Studies with a minor in International Development and Humanitarian Assistance. CBOB is significant to me because the educational opportunities that it is providing to children in other countries not only benefits those children, but also helps those countries to develop and better serve its people. As a fundraising intern, I am most excited to see how the donations that my partner and I raise will make an impact in the lives of the ones we are set to help.
Victoria Harrington, Student Chapters Coordinator
My name is Victoria Harrington, and I am currently a third year student at the University of Florida, with a double major in Geography and Anthropology alongside a minor in Japanese. I will be working with Children Beyond Our Borders as the Student Chapter Coordinator. I am extremely excited to work with this organization, as it aligns with my career goals of combining the computer software of Geography to research migration patterns of rural families, and help improve living conditions of these migrating individuals. I hope I am able to learn much more about professionalism for the job market after graduation, and can not wait to become more involved in the future!
Mariam Hussein, Campus Communications Liaison - UF
Hi! I am in my third year and I am currently majoring in Biology while also having a minor in Disabilities in Society. I hope to attend dental school after I graduate and one day open up a nonprofit dental clinic. I am excited about both being able to work first hand with a non-profit organization and also about being able to gain valuable experience. I hope to utilize the skills that I gain from this internship later on in my professional career.
Teagan Murphy, Mentorship Coordinator
My name is Teagan Murphy and I have just completed my second year at the University of Florida, double-majoring in Sociology and Family, Youth & Community Sciences. I have been working with CBOB for almost two years now, and I look forward to continuing this experience. Since January, I have been working on developing a mentoring program through CBOB for low-income high school students involved in our CWOB program in Orlando and attending Eastside High School in Gainesville. I will continue working on the development of this program throughout the summer and hopefully into the upcoming academic year.
Meghana Tatineni, Event Manager
Hello! I am a rising Junior at the University of Florida pursuing a bachelor of science in Statistics with a minor in Actuarial Science. After graduating from University of Florida, I aspire to work as a data analyst or a statistician. I am excited to have the opportunity to work with Children Beyond Our Borders! During my internship, I hope to increase my professionalism and gain valuable communication skills. I am also looking forward to plan engaging events for Children Beyond Our Borders this summer.
Samira Amirova, Training Coordinator
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 "
Carolina Pastor, Data Analyst
Hello! I am so grateful to have this amazing opportunity to work with such an amazing non-profit. I am a senior studying Information Systems and Operations Management at the University of Florida. In the future, I would like to find a career where I can combine my knowledge in Information Systems with non-profit. I want to help others excel and be a positive influence by using my background and skills to change lives.
Show the team some love! Share this blog and use the hashtag #CBOBinterns to make the team feel the CBOB spirit!
Celebrating CBOB Moms and Moms Across the World
By: Melissa Moreno
Mother’s Day is a holiday that comes once a year, typically held on the second Sunday of May, and celebrates motherhood as well as mothers and other motherly figures. It is a day for people to recognize the sacrifices, hard work, and love their mothers have provided for them, and to show their appreciation. Generally, the widely accepted custom for this day is to give your mother a gift - whether it be a card, candy, flowers, clothes, etc. Although it is observed in different forms across the world, one thing remains constant: Mother’s Day is a day that involves expressing great recognition and gratitude towards the woman that played a large role in someone’s individual development and personal growth.
When we are young, our whole worlds revolve around our mothers; anytime we need something, we call her. It is as if she inherently has all the answers to any problem in the world. As time goes on, we grow to become more independent and may lose sight of how much we truly depend on our mothers. It is because of this that Mother’s Day can be so significant to a mother and make her feel like all the work she has done has not gone unnoticed. Whether it is a gift, a note, or even a phone call - any form of appreciation can make a mom feel treasured.
According to the History Channel, more phone calls are made on Mother’s Day than any other day of the year. These holiday chats with mom are said to cause phone traffic to spike up by almost 37%. In the United States alone, Americans are said to spend $800 million on Mother’s Day cards and $2.4 billion on flowers. Needless to say, many people like to lavish their mothers on this holiday.
Children Beyond Our Borders has had the opportunity to work with many children and families, and has met countless honorable moms along the way. We recognize that moms try to provide the best that they can for their children, even when the state of their country’s political, economic and social climate is out of their control. CBOB works with communities and families so that children can be empowered and motivated to live to their fullest potential - which is all a mother ever wants for her child.
Yocasta Becerra is the mother to Yosimar, the first IAMCBOB scholar for Children Beyond Our Borders. As a recipient of the scholarship, Yosimar received an all expenses paid college education, and in exchange acted as a service leader to empower other youth to solve problems in his community.
Becerra is proud of her son for his achievements and is thankful to have been a part of CBOB and its activities with her community.
“I feel very happy to always be living an unforgettable experience whenever a group of volunteers comes. It is the best thing that has happened to us and to my family to know all those beautiful people,” Becerra said. “...I am very proud of my Yosi. Even though they were raised in a low-income neighborhood with many gangs and violence, Yosi and his brothers - thank God - knew how to overcome these obstacles, to avoid them, and to move forward with his motto that education is the foundation for a better future.”
Shana Call is the current volunteer coordinator for the organization and is a CBOB mom as well. Beginning in Fall 2016, Call fell in love with the organization and its mission to empower children through education. She felt it was important to share her love with CBOB and the children served with her son Charlie.
“Our conversations weren’t always easy when questioned about the how and why some of our children are faced with adversity, but it opened up an opportunity for us to work together and encouraged him to become socially active and aware of other children in need,” Call said. “I am proud of my son and his effort to make a difference. I am most grateful to CBOB for the opportunity to not only make a difference in the lives of the children we serve, but to also make a difference in my own child’s life as well.”
When asked how she would spend Mother’s Day, Becerra said that all she wanted was to stay home with her family and eat ice cream and Kokorico (a popular chain restaurant in Colombia). Call said that she would like nothing more than to spend quality time together with her mom and her children.
We are grateful and appreciative for Becerra and Call, and admire the love and dedication they have for educating and empowering their sons. We wish them and all the mothers out there a happy and exciting Mother’s Day!
In their third blog update, our EEI teachers Anna and Samantha discuss the academic and personal projects they have been working on with each of the four scholars in Medellín.
As our time in Medellin comes to an end we have been taking the time to reflect back on the goals we had set for ourselves and for the scholars back in January. In both high school and college both of us can recall the goals we set and the people that helped us carry them out. As our professional and personal roles have developed over time with the scholars, we made it our mission to help them determine in what ways CBOB can help them beyond just the idea of receiving an academic scholarship. After all, the whole point of the program is for them to give back to their community, and every time we meet with them, we realize more and more what they have already accomplished personally and with CBOB.
To start, this semester we have been so excited to see their CBOB project come to life week by week. They decided they wanted to implement a college preparation program at their former high school with a group of 20 or so students who were looking for help with the college process. Each week they prepare activities in three different areas: preparing for the college entrance exam, tutoring for their current math and science classes, and understanding the college system - what different majors are available to them, how to adjust to taking classes on your own schedule, and more. The program has a similar feel to New Horizons, the program where they all started their CBOB journey six years ago. New Horizons was designed as a mentorship program where they were given the tools for future college success, and it has served as a fundamental building block for our scholars’ education. We’ve talked at length with some of scholars about how being a part of CBOB and attending university has changed their lives. It’s made them realize what they want out of life, and what they’re capable of accomplishing. To watch them stand in front of a class of students and share their stories about how education has changed everything for them felt incredibly surreal. To watch them give tangible resources to these students and give some of them a chance at a brighter future filled us both with so much pride for them and for our organization. Seemingly small acts of service can lead to great successes, and these boys are creating change in an incredible way.
As each of them nears graduation in the next few years, we’ve opened the conversation for what comes next after CBOB. Each of them has different aspirations, but the common theme is that everyone would like to learn more English and have the opportunity to study abroad some day. Additionally, some of them would like to pursue a Master’s Degree in the future, but just like so many of us in the United States, a much deserved break post Undergrad seems to be more likely for the immediate future. We’ve taken the time to map out a timeline for each of them and set some realistic sights on what will be possible in the future. They have been doing their research, and what they are finding is promising. Regardless of what they end up doing, the work that has been put in these past six years with CBOB has solidified that with an education, everything can, and will change.
Until next time,
Samantha & Anna