Kindness is contagious. Pass it on.
By: Jessie Stein
Kindness is defined as the state or quality of being kind. It is a kind act or kind behavior. As Dalai Lama said, “Be kind wherever possible. It is always possible.” Being kind can mean many different things. For one, being kind could mean giving back in some way. It can also mean having a concern for others by taking action in wanting to help out. An act of kindness can be random or well thought out. There are no rules to being kind, only acts or behaviors that contribute towards one's kindness.
To begin, kindness is giving back. Who you choose to give back to and why does not necessarily matter, as long as your intentions are positive. CBOB does an incredible job giving back as much as possible. Our Bound For Peace service trip is one of the ways CBOBers give back. This trip allows our volunteers to give back to children in South America who have undergone social injustices or armed conflict. We educate, promote awareness, and empower change in communities that need a helping hand. We strive to give back to those who need it most, when they need it most.
In addition, being kind is having concern for others, contributing towards an action of helping somebody in any way, shape, or form. Helping somebody does not have to be a huge act of kindness; it could be something as little as helping your friend study for her test or letting someone elderly take your seat on the bus. Kindness is intended to make yourself feel better because you made somebody else feel better. With our new tutoring program and college-prep mentoring program, CBOBers, alongside other eager volunteers, will be able to help students learn English, apply for colleges, and so much more. Our goal is to help teach students about the different opportunities available when applying to colleges. Our Children Within Our Borders events help younger kids achieve goals and stay on the right track to success.
Furthermore, an act of kindness can be shown to anyone, anytime, anyplace. Kindness can be random, or well thought out. A random act of kindness could even mean helping someone who you don’t even know. It’s one thing to be nice to your friends, it’s another thing to be kind to a total stranger. Our sponsors show kindness constantly by donating money to our organization in order to help our scholars. Because of our incredible sponsors, we have been able to send five students in South America to college. Whether our donors show kindness once, twice, or every month, they help keep our programs going and keep our kids reaching for their goals. No matter the amount, or how often, every dollar helps us get closer towards our vision to help children in need. Regardless of social status, race, or gender, we believe every child deserves to live a stable life without barriers or fear. Every child deserves to dream - and dream big. Every child deserves a brighter future - a future that breaks boundaries and goes beyond borders
In closing, kindness can be shown in many different ways. You can show kindness by giving back to your community, a friend, or even a stranger, as well as helping others around you in need. There is no proper way to be kind, only a proper mindset. Think positive, give back, and always lend a helping a hand to anyone in need.
By: Veronica Salazar
Nicaragua is a country rich in history and culture; its people are incredibly humble and friendly, and its lakes, volcanoes, and beaches are second to none. For this reason, it may come as a surprise that Nicaragua is the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and the poorest Spanish-speaking country in the world. A series of civil wars, corrupt governments, and natural disasters have contributed to the extreme poverty the country faces, and unfortunately, education is not as prioritized as it should be.
In Nicaragua, the school year runs from February through November and the system is composed of primary, middle, secondary, and vocational or university-level education programs. While education is described as being free and compulsory, children are only required to attend school until age 12, and attendance is not strictly enforced. For this reason, thousands of children drop out of school in order to enter the workforce and provide for their family. In fact, only 51% of Nicaraguans are said to reach the 5th grade.
UNICEF representative, Philippe Barragne-Bigot, was described in The Guardian as believing that “Children drop out because of cultural norms driven by the cycle of poverty, poor-quality, lacklustre classes and the chronic lack of economic opportunities that makes school seem pointless.”
The argument seems valid-- If children are discouraged by lack of opportunity, education is likely to be seen as meaningless. And when families are struggling to make ends meet, there is often no choice, but to abandon studies. Money continues to provide instant gratification, whereas the benefits of education seem intangible and insignificant.
The fact that so many children drop out of school in order to join the workforce raises another concern: child labor. Nicaragua scores high in child labor-- it is estimated that there are between 250,000 and 320,000 child workers in the country, with one in three under the age of 14.
Because of such high numbers of child labor, the government has been debating whether to raise the compulsory age of schooling. Some individuals believe that raising the age could prompt families to reorient their thinking toward education, while others believe that raising the age would not produce results because there is still lack of opportunity in the country.
It is important to note that many Nicaraguans are aware of the lack of opportunity in the country, and work tirelessly to improve the quality of life for their people. One such organization is Fabretto, whose mission is to empower underserved children and families in Nicaragua to reach their full potential, improve their livelihoods, and take advantage of economic opportunity through education and nutrition. They, and so many others, have taken steps toward improvement in hopes of one day breaking the cycle of poverty.
At Children Beyond our Borders, we also believe that education equals empowerment. We believe that every child deserves a brighter future, and that every child deserves to dream big. For this reason, we continue to raise awareness of the issues faced by youth in Nicaragua and other Latin American countries.
Kids learned how to set and achieve their goals in a fun way for the New Year!
By Nicholas Regueiro
Thinking about how much our volunteers and local children enjoyed our Goooal! event?
First of all, what is a goal?
I guess you can say that those definitions are interchangeable.
Our volunteers arrived early in the morning and started setting up for what was our most rewarding event this year so far.
Activities were played which allowed each individual to put together a collage that accurately defined their goals for this semester.
Lots of magazines were collected and tons of construction paper was bought in order to help children set out their goals for this upcoming new year.
Our Volunteer Coordinator and Outreach interns spent time trying to plan this great event for our local community. (Shout out to the team!)
Each intern led a specific activity which stimulated a goal reaching mentality among the children in attendance.
Still not jealous you weren't there? We even have our newest CBOB inside joke. Our favorite line of the event was “my favorite fruit is chicken?” Don't you already want to come to the next Children Within Our Borders event?
The best way to describe this event is the opposite of describing a soccer ball. It wasn't black and white but it was colorful. Meaning that everyone in the room had different goals. Goals ranging from graduating to passing the third grade swarmed around the room. Goals are your own and your responsibility.
What it means to flee...
By Jessie Stein
There is a lot of confusion when deciphering the difference between an Internally Displaced Person (IDP) and a refugee. Although both classifications of people have undergone social injustices or armed conflict in their home countries, the two are actually different.
To begin, both refugees and IDPs are displaced people; however, where they choose to go after being displaced is what sets them apart. IDPs are forced out of their homes to avoid violence and man made disasters, but choose not to cross borders, meaning legally they are not defined as refugees. A refugee is someone who is forced to flee their home and cross national boundaries because they can no longer return home safely.
Did you know that in 2015 there were 8.6 million new displacements by conflict and violence in 28 countries? That same year Colombia ranked 8th in the list of countries with the most new displacement due to these issues. One of our IAMCBOB Scholars Jose Martinez was an IDP in Colombia who was able to answer some questions about his lifestyle growing up.
When asked these questions, Jose answered with this:
“I lived in a town called Santa Barbara on known block like the passages of palms, in 2006 the Farc came to this block, I studied and lived there with my mom, my older brother and all of my aunt’s family. We were all displaced that year. To clarify: a person is not displaced only while finding a place to live, having forcibly left the place where you live is something that stays with you for life. Since my aunt is a teacher I had no problem studying while I got settled in a new place.”
Below are regions with the most new displacement in 2015.
Although Jose was fortunate enough to be able to attend school, many displaced kids are faced with different barriers in regards to education, which hinders their ability to learn the way most students do. Although there can be schools in IDP camps, they are usually under-funded and only provide primary education. Additionally, there are huge safety risks with IDP children due to their unsafe residences. These kids could face issues such as stepping on a mine or military roadblocks on their way to school, or even be at risk for sexual violence, especially for females. It was also found that 40.8 million people were internally displaced worldwide as the result of conflict and violence.
Another huge barrier to education for IDP children is a loss of documentation, which can inhibit children from having the opportunity to attend school. Even if IDP children are able to attend school, there is the issue of language barriers and discrimination. Children who don’t speak the same native tongue as others in the schooling system might feel discouraged or embarrassed and won’t want to return. They may even be alienated as an IDP and segregated between IDP and non-IDP children, and can even face discrimination from their teachers due to their status as internally displaced.
Lastly, although primary education is free, there is illegal levying of school fees, which forces IDP families to choose between food and school. Food and school are necessities in life that no child or family should ever have to choose between; however, since most IDP parents lack sufficient funds, they are are unable to pay for schooling materials. If families are very tight on money, some children are needed to help support their families financially, and therefore, do not have the time to also attend school.
Now that and IDP has been fully explained, let’s break down the differences between that and a refugee. As stated earlier, a refugee is a displaced person who has crossed national borders because returning back to their home residence is too unsafe. Under Article 1 of the 1951 UN Convention, a refugee is defined as:
“owing to well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country.”
The definition suggests that there are certain requirements in order to be considered a refugee. One is to have presence outside of their home country, along with the “incapacity to enjoy the protection of one’s own state,”. Another condition is to have a justifiable fear of persecution. This legal term was coined purposely to set IDPs and refugees apart from one another. Because displaced persons must forcibly leave their homes, and their habitual country’s borders, they are legally defined as refugees.
Similarly to IDP struggles with education, refugees face many of the same realities. Refugees must also deal with discrimination and embarrassment from not speaking the home country's native tongue. As well, refugee families lack sufficient funds to afford school materials and may even need their kids to help support financially, which would hinder their ability to receive an education.
Although both classifications of people are legally defined as being different, they face many of the same issues, especially in regards to education. The two groups of people have undergone similar social injustices and armed conflict that forced them out of their homes, but choose to flee differently. IDPs stay within their countries borders yet still have a hard time receiving an education or supporting themselves sufficiently. Refugees have certain protections under law, which helps them a little more; however, still must face harsh realities when entering a new world.
We believe every child deserves an education so they can make a better life for their families and themselves. We strive to generate awareness and educate on these horrific issues so we can help those affected get similar opportunities as we are so fortunate to have.
Presentations will be going on at all our Student Chapters, find yours below and make sure to attend!
Florida State University: February 15th
By Naseam Jabberi
University of Florida: February 21st
By Mariam Hussein
University of Central Florida: February 22nd
By Casey McCarthy
A great article by the "Right To Education Project" enumerates the different barriers internally displaced children face in regards to education.
The barriers are listed as the following:
Read more about the article here! Copy and paste this link: http://www.right-to-education.org/node/619
An inspiring tabling event from our Student Chapters
By Nicholas Regueiro
Once you’re sitting in your cap and gown at graduation, the only thing you’ll think about are the people who have impacted me in life. Who are my mentors, friends, and motivators? Basically asking yourself, who lifts you up? Who makes you a better person.
The Student Chapters of Children Beyond Our Borders, Inc. (CBOB) at UF, FSU and UCF took the time this past Thursday, January 27th to appreciate those who lifts them up. This National Tabling Event serves as a tradition for all our members. Students and faculty who pass by the student chapters’ tables were able to write the name of a person who inspires them (lifts them up) on a balloon! The balloons are representations of people who spark our motivation to pursue our dreams. By writing the name of a person who lifts you up on a balloon, you’ll be thanking them for the advice and influence that they have instilled upon you.
Don't be afraid to seek a mentor. Usually a mentor can deliver negative feedback and deliver praise when appropriate but the goal is – to continuously lift you up no matter the obstacles. Feedback is crucial when growing. Consider it the water component when gardening.
A mentor pushes you to find that better version of yourself. My own mentor is actually my exact age. She seems to have the wisdom of a long-time professional with years of experience. Her wisdom derives from the projects and positions she has taken on during her college career. I know she is just a call away. She lifts me up with constructive feedback and continues to push me to new borders. (Get it cause Children Beyond Our Borders.) My mentor pushes me to do service and take on new projects.
Then ask yourself, who do you lifts up? Try to develop others. Find a great joy out of helping people who, over the years, you notice that through your mentoring have grown - and because of you they have achieved another level.
So, we want to know who are your mentors? You might have more than one, share with us by commenting below. We’d love to give them a shout out!
Striving towards equality and efficiency
By: Nathalie Jaramillo
Colombia has an eleven-year education system with both primary and a secondary school. Primary school consists of five years and begins at the age of six. Secondary school is divided into four years of basic secondary education and two years of upper secondary education. During upper secondary education, many different "tracks" are offered, which all lead to their own "Bachiller" after a curriculum of two years. These technical tracks include an industrial track, a commercial track, a pedagogical track, an agricultural track, and a social promotion track. The basic education cycle in Colombia is free and obligatory for all children between the ages of 5 and 15. According to wenr.wes.org, public universities usually cost around $1,000 per semester. Private universities typically charge between a range of $1,000-5,500 per semester.
Investing in education now can define the future of Colombia’s youth. Children Beyond Our Borders, Inc. (CBOB) has one program where you can sponsor a student at the university level. Our IAMCBOB Program has sponsored 5 students in Colombia to receive their graduate degree, one has graduated and 4 are less than a year away from doing so. Our scholars are chosen by a rigorous application program and stay in the program fulfilling requirements that mean staying academically on top, doing community service and being involved, even from afar with the members of the CBOB community. According to worldbank.org, young people represent almost 30% of the working age population and around 17% are unemployed due to lack of training and skills necessary for employment. In 2010, only 37% of secondary school students continued on with their education to the university level. The government has set a goal of increasing to 50% of students enrolling at a university. Colombia has also set the goal of becoming “the most educated” country in Latin America by 2025. This can only be accomplished by improvements in the quality and equity of education. One step that has brought Colombia forward is the national bilingual program that requires English to be taught during primary and secondary school. This gives Colombian students the advantage of having desirable skills in the labor force.
Education is regulated by the Ministry of Education and 10% of the government’s budget must be spent on education. The Ministry of Education outlines the learning objectives and subject areas for each grade level, but schools are allowed to organize their own specific study plans to meet the needs of their community. The World Bank is collaborating with Colombia in the education sector to allocate funds and resources towards projects that will help further the growth of academic achievement. With the increasing development of the education system, Colombia is on the path to building a better foundation for their youth.
We invite you to learn more about this program and how you can become a sponsor. We have many students waiting for a sponsor and for $75 a month/$150 a month you can give them the chance at an education and the title of being an IAMCBOB Scholar.
Visit http://www.chbob.org/iamcbob-scholarship for more information.
By Andrea Ortega
We are launching a new program! Empowerment through English Initiative (EEI) is our 6th program at Children Beyond Our Borders, Inc. (CBOB) and we are delighted to be offering an opportunity to our Service Trip Alumni to continue making an impact for our children. Thanks to a year of growth and a visionary Board of Directors this new program will help provide the girls Hogar in Medellin, Colombia, which we visit every year, with the keys to learning a second- language. Our English Teachers abroad are taking off for 4 months to provide them with an enriching curriculum to learn English through fun and innovatives way, as well as be mentors to the girls we have been serving for over 4 years. All in hopes, that when the girls graduate High School, they will be able to enter college.
We invite you to meet our 2 chosen teachers and get to know more about their adventures as they discover the beauty of Medellin and empower the children to receive an education.
If this is something you could see yourself doing in the future, we invite you to participate in one of our Service Trips, Bound for Peace is an unforgettable experience and applications close January 31st! Visit www.chbob.org/bound-for-peace for more information!
To learn more about EEI, visit: www.chbob.org/empowerment-through-english-initiative
By: Veronica Salazar
We are kicking the New Year off with 30 VIPs -- 19 new, 11 returning, and we could not be more excited to see what will be accomplished this semester! Following a rigorous, 5-step application process, only the best were selected to help in expanding our organization, and we could not be happier with the resulting team.
Individuals were selected from various majors, including everything from Public Relations to Biology, and will be working together in an effort to reach a common goal: to continue building up this incredible organization while never losing sight of our mission of empowerment through education.
Nick Regueiro, a Public Relations and Social Media Intern, is especially excited about how diverse the group is:
"The individuals who are volunteering and interning all come from different academic backgrounds. I personally am a master’s student studying management but have a passion for service and public relations. My goals as a new intern will be trying to expand the CBOB brand and raising awareness amongst my peers all over the nation."
Another individual joining the team as a Data and Analytics Intern, Alejandra Sposito, is passionate about creating awareness on issues faced by children in Latin America, like lack of education opportunities, physical and mental abuse, and other kinds of social injustice. She went on to say:
"I was born and raised in Venezuela, therefore, working with an institution focused on Latin American issues is an opportunity for me to implement my skills to help people that share similar values and cultural practices."
Furthermore, an 88.9% approval rating from 42 past VIP Interns could signal our high retention rate. Our returning interns are thrilled to continue their work with CBOB as they expand their skills while working with a new team.
We have already seen bonds formed over similar career goals, passion for travel and learning new languages, love (and need) for coffee, taste in music, affection for animals, and more.
We have high hopes for this group and cannot wait to share their successes in the future!
--Children Beyond Our Borders
Education = Empowerment. Here’s how we are a part of the equation.
By: Kassandra Cabrera
As 2016 comes to an end we reflect on all that has been accomplished this last year as well as prepare for all we must do in the upcoming one. Children Beyond Our Borders, Inc. (CBOB), along with many other organizations, has worked tirelessly to provide all children with a right they so greatly deserve, the right to an education.
Unfortunately, our efforts, along with others, are continuously needed due to the fact that there are more than 59 million children still unable to receive an education. Girls make up 55% of these children. The two factors that are most influential for being able to receive an education are the type of community as well as income. Children living in rural communities are two times more likely to not attend school and the wealthiest 20% are four times more likely to be in school than the poorest 20%. In addition, not being able to receive an education greatly hurts the community’s ability to thrive socially and economically. Education empowers children to make good decisions and prepares them for future success.
This year CBOB has gone above and beyond in acting to combat the issue of the lack of education. In 2016, CBOB has provided five students with the IAMCBOB Scholarship. Because of this, they are able to attend various universities thus allowing them to advance their careers. Additionally, CBOB volunteers went on four Bound for Peace Service Trips this year. These trips allowed volunteers to educate the children of various areas in South America. CBOB was also able to provide over 500 children with backpacks, giving them the proper materials necessary for success in school.
Although much has been achieved this past year, our mission does not stop now. 2017 is a chance for new opportunities! CBOB plans to continue and expand its mission until every child, worldwide, has the right to an education.
By Terra Lilkendey
The holiday season is a time of giving back and opening our hearts to those who need help and support. Here at Children Beyond Our Borders, we love this time of year because we get to host so many fun events for children all around Florida. These events help us to support and inspire our communities!
We teamed up with Feed and Fortify to participate in the Angels Party for homeless students in Orlando. Our goal with the event was to provide an evening full of magic and making dreams come true for the over 200 families in attendance! The event had food for families, and special golden tickets for the children to participate in fun activities. Coming from such rough backgrounds we wanted our activities to help the kids foster their belief in themselves embrace their self worth! The kids had so much fun playing games and having their faces painted. Instead of writing letters to Santa, we had the kids write their future selves letters. It was so inspiring to see what goals the kids had for themselves!
Our Spirit of Giving event in Gainesville, provided children with toys and stuffed stockings thanks to our donations received from #GivingTuesday! The look of excitement on every child’s face made the event so amazing and rewarding.
Also, we want to say a HUGE thank you to all of our Holiday Helpers who came out and helped with our events! You guys were great and we know that you had an amazing impact on all of the kids!
This holiday season, Children Beyond Our Borders wants you to remember how important giving back is, and how much of an impact you can make on your community.
Best of Wishes and Happy Holidays,
Children Beyond Our Borders!