Children Beyond Our Borders (CBOB) is a student nonprofit organization founded at the University of Florida whose mission is to alleviate the effects of poverty on children in developing countries by fulfilling their basic needs and investing in their education.
For the past three summers, the UF chapter of CBOB has traveled to Medellin, Colombia and worked with 23 orphan children. CBOB has offered educational workshops, infrastructure support (computer lab and playground), and has established a fruitful relationship with the University of Medellin in an effort to continue the success of the local project. Now CBOB wants to work in other areas of Colombia to reach more children as well as their families.
This year, 25 students ages 18 to 25 are going to Cartagena, Colombia, South America. During last summer's service trip, members of the group established contacts with the Granitos de Paz foundation and became interested in the learning center project this foundation was about to open in a needy neighborhood. This center is a daycare school, which offers its services to 144 families in the community, helping an average of 720 people. This project has been supported by the Colombian government as well as other nonprofits in Colombia. However, the funding obtained was not enough to restore and supply a vacant room (20.4 meters x 6.55 meters), which the foundation had assigned for a toy library or “Ludoteca.” CBOB’s role in this project is to restore and supply the “Ludoteca” in order to expand the services for a greater number of families and to impact the lives and futures of more children.
Here are the specific goals for each aspect of this project:
Ludoteca (toy library):
·To improve the quality of education for all children (4-7 years old) in the neighborhood. The daycare center will assist 144 children, but all children in the neighborhood will have access to the Ludoteca
·To provide the parents of the community with a place where they can spend quality time with their children
·Offer after school programs, which will be conducted by local university students
Crossing Borders Service Trip:
·Experiencing life in this under-resourced neighborhood, students will come back to the US with a sense of mission, ready to promote more initiatives that bring about peace in America and abroad
·The exchange of ideas among students from different nations will foster dialogue and transnational collaboration.
·After obtaining this first grant and fully developing this project, CBOB UF chapter will be able to inspire other chapters to continue helping children and nonprofits in other nations
Students from UF, along with Colombian university students and experts in the field of education and social services, will work together to organize a set of educational modules for the children in the community. The main goals are:
·Encourage the students to engage in new perspectives of education within the framework of international low-income communities
·raise awareness among students about educational issues; promote and strengthen partnerships between these two groups for future social endeavors
·Promote values, introduce new educational concepts, and foster a cultural exchange between the children and the students
It is important to mention that all volunteers pay for their own trip, and the money raised by the group is used only to finance projects. Thus far, the group has been able to raise money by doing spaghetti dinners, car washes, parties, auctions, bake sales, and collecting private donations.
By taking action on this project, CBOB aspires to create a network between the children, our partners, and the community. Our commitment to our children will also raise the motivation for those already involved, and foster the incorporation of additional volunteers, thus building a world beyond their borders. CBOB expects to create a pleasant childhood environment in which the children can become prosperous scientists, leaders, and artists in the world at large. CBOB and social workers from Granitos de Paz will evaluate the outcomes of the project by maintaining attendance records of the Ludoteca to determine if the community is utilizing the facility. It is the goal of CBOB to encourage the university community to do research on the effectiveness of interventions made in this community.