two years ago when we got married, we raised money for CBOB through our wedding. We have decided that every year around our anniversary, we would celebrate our anniversary by having a big salsa party as we both love to dance… The hope is that through this event, we can keep our Salud, Amor & More Scholarship that we set up for female Colombian students interested in a medical career alive and well and sustainable.”
This year, our Dance for Good event was HUGE and brought in over $3,000 alone! We here at CBOB extend an immense amount of gratitude and appreciation towards Dr. Montoya-Williams and her family for their time, dedication, and love for our organization. However, it doesn’t end here with Dance for Good. On April 8th-11th, Dr. Montoya-Williams gave a presentation at Consortium of Universities for Global Health International Conference in San Francisco. Her project, entitled "Education through Empowerment: A Novel Global Health Track for Residency Programs" was a “culmination of the merging of my global health interests and the existing Bound for Peace model that exists within CBOB. Given my desire to promote public health in Colombia, we created the first Medical and Public Health trip in the same model as a Bound for Peace trip.”
Montoya then explained to us that the trip has three important aims:
1) We want to teach undergraduates how to create and deliver public health talks to children and families
2) We wanted to serve the community's needs and as a result conducted medical history screenings that Colombia Somos Todos was in need of
3) The didactic component for me and the reason it worked as part of my formal pediatric residency curriculum is that I was learning about and teaching global health engagement simultaneously, preparing me for future global health endeavors. It was an exciting project and we are in the process of setting up the infrastructure to make it an annual trip.
Wow! How amazing is all of that? Drawing so much inspiration from CBOB and our programs is incredibly humbling and it drives us to be better and do better everyday. In closing, Dr. Montoya said this:
“More than anything, Brendan [her husband] and I are committed to empowering socially disadvantaged children through education and health. We have been impressed with CBOB's efforts to this same idea and honored to be able to contribute to CBOB's mission. We look forward to a long, productive, socially engaged and fun relationship with CBOB in the years to come.”
We would love to say that we are looking forward to the great relationship that is blossoming between us as well! Thank you so much for all of the work you’ve done and will do!
Something to keep an eye out for in Dr. Montoya-Williams’ continuous service involves a collaborative effort between CBOB, the University of Florida Pediatric Residency and the UF Mobile Outreach Clinic to bring a wholly pediatric-staffed mobile clinic to the immigrant and migrant families we currently serve in Alachua. The event is scheduled for June 11th and they hope this will be the first step to bringing regular primary pediatric care directly to these families in need. They are also in the process of applying for a national grant to help fund such future events.
Talk about an involved teammate! Thank you again for everything that you do for us and we are so incredibly blessed to be able to help and assist you in the ways that we can.
Brian started his journey on May 4th, 2015 from Times Square, New York City. Since then, he has traveled 11,470 miles around the continental United States, touching all four corners of the country and meeting countless people along the way. Brian has also been featured on numerous news stations. This trip has been no easy feat. So far, Brian has been spending an average of 23.7 hours on the road per week, crossing a state line every 329 miles, and has gone through 7 sets of tires. He plans on completing his round trip towards the end of April. Once he has concluded his ride, Brian will be traveling to Dubai to start a business with his friend, but he hopes to remain in contact with the charities he has helped raise money for and continue to support them. Throughout his trip, he has spoken at various schools, organizations, libraries,
Children Beyond Our Borders’ summer Volunteer Internship Program applications are available now! Children Beyond Our Borders, Inc. (CBOB) constantly works toward bettering the lives of underprivileged children both locally and internationally. This organization works tirelessly around the clock and is as exceptional as the people behind it. We are constantly looking for committed individuals with initiative, proficiency and a zeal for education awareness. Now you have the opportunity to become a member of the CBOB family!
CBOB’s VIP program is meant to spread the CBOB mission and truly make a difference in the world. Our past interns come from around the globe and have gone on to have successful careers in a variety of fields. CBOB not only opens the doors for your professional path, it puts you on course by providing opportunities to make valuable connections!
CBOB’s VIP objective is to introduce our new members into the professional world through engagement in real-world activities. In addition to helping our cause, VIP interns gain leadership skills, experience working in a team environment, confidence, and industry knowledge that they can carry with them into the workforce.
Our VIP program has grown immensely in the past year and our current spring VIP is comprised of 30 members! As CBOB continues to flourish, we learn more about the true core values of the organization as well as the messages of love and education that we help spread. By applying for the Volunteer Internship Program today, you will be bringing yourself one step closer to where you want to be tomorrow.
Emalyn Deak, UF Training Coordinator intern:
“Being a CBOB intern has taught me that we all have the power to change the world. Sometimes in life, we feel as though our work goes unnoticed, but working with CBOB has taught me quite the opposite. Everything I do from training Bound For Peace volunteers, to working with my fellow interns, all add up to a bigger picture. This was proved to me when I received a phone call from one of our CBOB scholars. He thanked me for the work I have done through CBOB. Even though I am a freshman intern, even though I’m still gaining experience, even though it involves a lot of trial and error –– he reminded me that my work is appreciated. This challenges and motivates me to give my all, no matter how tiny the task may be, because I know that my actions will make a difference.”
Jackeline Roman, FSU Fundraising and Community Outreach intern:
“Through my experience as a VIP intern for CBOB, I’ve had the pleasure to work alongside a number of inspiring people. We all come together as a team and volunteer for the wonderful children in the Tallahassee community, and there is no greater feeling.”
Matthew Hasbun, FIU Public Relations and Social Media intern:
“Being a VIP intern for CBOB has taught me that we should all appreciate the educational opportunities that we have at our disposal. It’s also showed me that a group of individuals who come together can truly achieve greatness and can move mountains.”
Bound For Peace Cartagena was an experience unlike any other. Nine volunteers set out to Colombia in hopes of making a difference in the community. Alongside Fundación Granitos de Paz, our volunteers worked to create a curriculum that focused on issues that specifically affected the area and implementing positive traits among the children.
Workshops focused on a variety of subjects from sexual education and gang violence to professional development and technology. Trip leader, Paola Escobar, explained,
“I had the privilege to teach children tips on how to make important personal and career goals,” she added “We encouraged children to think about these goals they had and how to put their dreams into action.”
This is the foundation Bound For Peace was constructed upon: the importance of education. Education has the power to change people’s lives and empower them to achieve their desires. The workshops were constructed in order to empower the kids and show them all the opportunities that lay ahead of them. Another volunteer, Ashley Diodonet said,
“Honestly one of the most memorable experiences was the look on the kids faces when they were writing down their goals and realizing that they really can accomplish more than they previously thought.”
Not only did volunteers form bonds with the children, but each other as well. As Ashley also explained, “I met so many beautiful people with loving hearts that welcomed us with open arms and friendships that will last forever.”
Besides conducting the educational seminars, volunteers also had the opportunity to explore Cartagena through excursions and other activities, which included a trips to Volan del Totumo and Playa Blanca. Our trips seek to not only help empower the young minds of the cities we visit, but to help everyone involved grow. Our volunteers immerse themselves in the Colombian culture, through the food, music, and just overall aesthetic of Cartagena.
Bound For Peace will be returning to Cartagena this summer in May with the same vision and goals in mind. Empower children through education.
In every group, one can always find someone that shines bright. When it comes to our Children Within Our Borders (CWOB) volunteers, we found that shine in Olivia Batshon.
Olivia began volunteering with CBOB after hearing about the program through an involvement fair at the University of Central Florida, where she is currently studying Elementary Education. At the fair, she obtained a sticker which she promptly put on her wall as a way to remind herself to get involved. Taking this initiative, Olivia searched on Facebook and once finding the nearest CWOB event, she signed up to volunteer and has been returning since.
CWOB has been so influential in Olivia's life because she is always in search of new ways to impact her community. Our programs allow her to interact with local children in different ways and really make a change in their lives. By doing this, she hopes to be better prepared to be a great educator.
While having focused on the Children Within Our Borders program, Olivia definitely has plans to one day attend a Bound for Peace service trip. With the desire to be a greater asset, she is improving her Spanish and hopes to be able to communicate effectively with the children we work with in South America.
Olivia has given us a description of what it’s like to be a CWOB volunteer and we couldn’t agree with it more.
"Volunteering with Children Within Our Borders is the most rewarding experience I have ever encountered. Yes, sometimes it's hectic, yes, things never go as planned, and yes, sometimes the children are a lot to handle. But at the end of the day, none of that matters. All that matters is the impact that we, as a collective group, are able to make on each and every child living in that hotel. The children living in this hotel have very monotonous routines. There is not a playground for them to run around on. There is no park around the corner. There is no basketball court for them to shoot hoops with their friends on. They are confined to their hotel rooms and the parking lot that lies a few feet from their doors. This, to us as college students, is not a life we are able to imagine. We get up everyday in our dorm rooms or apartments, with the nerve to complain about our "uncomfy" beds. These kids live a life that is unimaginable to any person that has never lived through it. This volunteer experience for the past six months has given me a glimpse into a cruel world that I never opened my eyes up to see before. We all hear about homeless children and families. We all hear about the statistics and the millions of kids who go hungry every year, but homeless children do not go panhandle on the streets of the city. They are tucked away in hotel rooms, cardboard boxes on the streets, or hiding in plain sight in their classrooms. It is completely impossible for any of us to understand this experience, and without understanding, it is hard for us to find a way to help. Go out and ask anybody on the streets "Do you want kids to be homeless?" The answer would be hell no. But who actually has the perspective on this issue to either A. Decide to help with the problem or B. Actually think about this problem for more than 30 seconds after the question is asked? We all want to live in a perfect world with great education and happy people, but how is this possible if we can't even begin to understand all that is wrong with the world? This organization has given me my first step, my first glimpse into this part of the world, that I never took the time to understand before. This organization has given me the opportunity to work and talk with children, and look into their eyes and understand their pain. This organization has given me the opportunity to begin to be a solution to this problem. It has allowed me to be creative and not only think of new ways to integrate knowledge into activities, but to execute them. My ideas are able to be brought to life, impacting each child in their own distinct ways. This organization has given me the tools to better understand the problem of homelessness in education and our at-risk youth, and I am now able to take action, one child at a time. Without Children Within Our Borders, I would still be left blind, sitting in my dorm room, aimlessly complaining about how the world should be a better place. You may criticize me and say, "Olivia, this is just one hotel. There are only so many children here, and your monthly appearance will soon be forgotten as they get older." But you know what I would say to that? That is completely wrong. Let's not forget that this is not just a hotel that they are lodging at. This is their home. This is where they eat, sleep, and cry. This is where they make friendships, break friendships, do their homework, and spend family time. This hotel is where their childhood memories will lay. Take a minute to think to yourself. What was your childhood home like and what was your favorite memory in it? This hotel is where that will lie for them. They will remember the rugged walls, torn up grass, cracked parking lot, and smell of smoke. But they will also remember our organization. They will remember us, as the people who came, not to take them away from their families, not to arrest one of their parents, not to give counseling to their mothers, not to bring a clipboard in and evaluate their home lives - they will remember Children Within Our Borders as those people who came to their homes for one sole purpose: to bring joy to them. They will remember the games we bring, the things we teach them, and how many times we all laughed. They will remember us as one of the only peoples who came solely for their well being. All that we want is their happiness and to empower them through education and knowledge. We want them to see that they are more than a product of their environment. This is what they will remember when they are 25 years old and reflecting on those childhood memories. Yes, it is just one hotel. But we, as an organization have come together and found one spot that we can make the biggest difference. We have found our sweet spot. We will continue to be the highlight to their day, week, and month and we are only beginning to grow in their community. Yes, right now it is just once a month. But with time, we will change that to twice a month, bi-weekly, weekly, and eventually, even daily visits. We will eventually integrate ourselves and our goals for their development and prosperity into their daily lives. We will become part of that monotonous routine of living in a hotel, and give them a positive outlet to look forward to. Our growth is exponential. We just started under 6 months ago, and it gives me chills when I think about all of the lives we have touched already. This organization brings me pure happiness, and this, right now, is just the beginning." - Olivia Bashton
Cartagena, Colombia is one of the six cities our Bound for Peace (BFP) service trips visit every year. Did you know that it is also the city where Yosimar Palacios Becerra, one of our IAMCBOB Scholars, grew up?
“Hello everyone, my name is Yosimar Palacios Becerra. I was born in Cali, Colombia but I grew up in Cartagena, Colombia. I have been a part of CBOB for the past nine years. Every time CBOB volunteers come, I try my best to make the very best of their stay so they can go back home and recommended it to others. I could not be happier and more proud to be raised in such a wonderful city. If you have never been to Colombia you might have heard it can be a dangerous place, but I am going to tell you this now, the only risk is that you’ll want to stay. Most people who come to Colombia totally change their mind and instead end up falling in love with this country. Cartagena also known as La Fantastica (The Fantastic) it is the most touristic city from Colombia. It is just such a beautiful and a charming city. It has a lot of history, culture and places of interest. There is no such thing as a perfect time to come. Cartagena always has great weather! It’s always hot and sunny, so it is perfect to spend a great time in the beach with others. People are so friendly.They are always willing to help you no matter what. The food is just delicious! You will try some of the best food you could ever have imagine. This is definitively one of the places you need to go before you die! It is definitely worth it and you will never regret of coming.”
“My service trip to Cartagena, Colombia through Children Beyond Our Borders was the best trip I’ve ever had. I went in not knowing what to expect and came out appreciating such a wonderful experience. Some of the lessons I learned are how important it is to be open minded in all the things I do. I was able to have a better understanding of the Colombian culture, and how much of an impact I can have on others. I also learned the importance of sharing. I appreciated the aspect of working as a team when making decision for the children at the Fundación Granitos De Paz foundation. What I miss about my service trip the most are the children at the foundation and the other UF students I was fortunate to share my experience with. Seeing the children’s faces every morning at the foundation always brought a smile to my face. I will never forget crying alongside one of the students on our last day at the foundation. Also, it was great to see how much the children enjoyed learning and playing the different activities. I would definitely recommend going on the Bound for Peace trip to others because it's an experience that made me adore working with children and allowed me to step back from myself and focus on others.”
As you can see, our Bound For Peace Trips are more than just fun. They are an unforgettable experience. The memories you make here will last you a lifetime. Bound for Peace Service Trips allow you to experience what it is like to have innocent, young children tell you they love you, wait for you to come back, and thank you for changing their lives. These trips offer you to opportunity to feel true love, to understand what it is like to be needed, and to feel the burning passion to help. The memories created here will change the way you view the world and the person you are. You will grow as an individual, learn about other cultures, and change lives. If you want to live a truly unforgettable adventure, then join us on our Bound For Peace Trip to Cartagena this summer. Applications for this trip close February 14. We promise you, it’ll be one of the most amazing experiences of your life!
Today, Children Beyond Our Borders mourns the loss of Gio Zorrilla, the beloved brother of one of our former alumni, Alex Zorrilla. In times like these, we stand together as a family and show our support to those who were closest to Gio.
We are so saddened by the loss your family has suffered but inspired by the people who Gio touched. Many whom he never met. When Alex joined our CBOB Family, we immediately felt the strength of his brother and the journey his whole family has been through and would continue to be on. You will be missed Gio! Thank you Alex for sharing his story with us and we are here for you! - Andrea Ortega
"Alex, I can remember the light in your eyes, the motivation, encouragement and love that shined through when you spoke of your brother. The loss of your brother here on earth, is a huge gain in Heaven, for God will have him sitting by his side and continuing to shine his light down on you. Continue to work, study and love hard... For you have such talent and genuine love for the world. We all know your love for your brother and drive to want to help him and others is what continues to give you strength. But don't forget we CBOB of Medellin are always here for you, we are your sisters and your brothers and will be here for you whenever you need us. Stay strong our brother- we love you." - Nicole Linardi
Although Gio’s service was on January 23rd, we invite you to visit his GoFundMe page to help the family with any costs they might run into during this time.
No One Can Know
No one can know just what you've lost;
No one can understand the cost;
But when you feel your energy drain,
Please count on us to help ease your pain.
Let us help you cope with grief;
We hope with time you'll feel relief.
We can't replace the one who's gone,
But let our concern help you carry on.
By Karl and Joanna Fuchs
Gina Castaño who is on the board of directors for Children Beyond Our Borders, Inc. traveled to Popayan, Colombia, this past December to spend time with her family and spread the CBOB mission.
When Gina heard about the toy drive that CBOB was coordinating through Children Within Our Borders for the at-risk youth in Central Florida, she jumped at the opportunity to help bring this toy drive to Colombia. She placed collection boxes at the gyms where she teaches Zumba and her father’s office. She collected over 120 toys, which were distributed in Hospital Universitario San Jose, a public hospital in downtown Popayan.
“Popayan is a very small, Spanish-colonial town where my mom grew up and her family resides. Popayan is breathtakingly beautiful, yet it has a lot of poverty. I made the toy distribution a voluntary activity for my cousins and anyone else who wanted to join me. My sister, her boyfriend, my parents, and two of my cousins came with me to distribute the toys. The children we visited come from very humble families and were delighted and overjoyed to be receiving toys! It was a remarkable experience,” Gina said.
Gina joined the Children Beyond Our Borders family her freshman year at the University of Florida in 2009. She instantly fell in love with the the mission and vision of CBOB, while also being able to give back to her homeland, Colombia. Gina’s passion and dedication to CBOB has been unwavering since she joined in 2009. She once served as the President of the University of Florida student chapter. She even led a Bound For Peace trip to Cartagena in 2014, which is one of her most treasured memories.
“I was born in Cali, Colombia. I am proud to have been born there and to still consider Colombia my home! I am very blessed and grateful for all the opportunities I have been given here in the States, but Colombia calls to me in a way no other place has or will. There's something enchanting about my native land that attracts me to her time after time. I make it a plan to go back at least once a year, but if I could, I would make several trips throughout the year. My next trip to Colombia will be again, with CBOB and BFP this coming summer, and then I am planning on backpacking through cities I have yet to visit. My one suggestion to all: place all fabricated misconceptions about Colombia aside and experience it for yourself. You will be surprised at how much you will fall in love with its people, flavors, colors, and overall ability to make you smile,” said Gina.
Gina is currently pursuing a dual Master’s in Nonprofit Management and Public Administration at the University of Central Florida, so she can apply what she is learning to help CBOB grow and flourish.
Thank you, Gina, for all the wonderful work that you do!
"In Managua, Children Beyond Our Borders works with a community called San Isidro. The secondary school here runs a Fabretto program for kids where they integrate knowledge about agriculture and sustainability to their regular class subjects. The students run a farm and each class is responsible for a plot of land where they grow their own crops using the practices in their text materials. This allows the students not just the opportunity to share sustainable crop practices with their families, but they also get experience in running a business and marketing their products. The farm also has a program where the kids learn to raise their farm animals, all the way through the process of the slaughter, preparation, and sale.
Children Beyond Our Borders, Inc. experienced a phenomenal year in 2015, in which the CBOB family grew to include more members, interns, programs and partners.
The implementation of the community outreach program called Children Within Our Borders gave CBOB the opportunity to continuously live and give through our mission--to provide children with opportunities and to inspire and empower them to continue their education. CWOB raised hundreds of toys, threw Christmas parties, tutored, and fed hundreds of children and families in Alachua and Orlando. Sparked Pink, a spa for girls in Orlando, donated a spa day on Christmas Eve for 12 girls in our CWOB program in Orlando
Another highlight of 2015 was joining in partnership with the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in Orlando, which has helped CBOB grow!
CBOB hosted our second annual gala, Passport to Peace, at the Florida Hotel. Our partners from Walt Disney, Orlando City Soccer, and the Tampa Bay Rays among many generous others helped us raise thousands of dollars.
A new student chapter was established at Florida State University. The University of Florida student chapter hosted an extremely successful Hunger Awareness Day, which provided a powerful perspective on an important issue.
The success of CBOB in 2015 has resulted in even bigger goals for 2016.
For the first time, CBOB has elected a Public Relations Director. The position was given to Brittney Smith, a returning public relations intern who always went above and beyond for CBOB.
Brittney hopes to make CBOB’s social media and public relations as best as possible in 2016. She learned through interning in 2015 the importance of constant communication in order to achieve best results. She hopes to create a open work environment between all the interns, so everyone can be successful.
Thirteen of the interns from last semester chose to continue their internship, and we are so excited to see all the great things they will help CBOB accomplish.
“My goals for spring 2016 are to help make CBOB even bigger and better. CBOB has been growing exponentially, and I just want to be able to spread awareness and get people pumped up about helping both Children Beyond Our Borders and Children Within Our Borders. I know this semester we are going to accomplish so many great things. I'm so excited to see what comes next,” said Daniela Bulla, a returning intern.
CBOB has also welcomed 17 new interns to the VIP program, who are all eager to help CBOB be the best it can be in 2016.
“Some goals that I have for this position is to make sure my passion about education is shown through my actions. I want all of the volunteers to feel excited and well prepared for the service trips. Doing service work abroad not only helps the students in Latin America learn and grow, but it also helps the volunteers become more aware of the world that surrounds them. I want to ensure that the service trips abroad are the most memorable trips for both the students and the volunteers,” said Emalyn Deak, the new Bound For Peace training intern.
CBOB is starting a new student chapter at Florida International University in 2016, and we already have accepted interns at FIU, who can’t wait to help jump start CBOB at their school.
“My goals for this position in 2016 is to help as much as possible in making this organization successful and making a difference in the lives of the children that we help,“ said Matthew Hasbun, a FIU intern.