I made a promise to myself when I left Brazil that if I studied English abroad, I was going to invest in children or directly to people who needed it. In the service of these goals, I helped the beginning of Brazil Foundation, a foundation that to this day supports a range of social projects in Brazil. I oversaw for the foundation what I knew how to do very well: connect key people with each other at the right time and place and raise money for needed initiatives. I created cultivated a new group of donors who shared my ethical beliefs and demonstrated to both private and public spheres how much the foundation’s work was sustainable, necessary, and efficient. My passion, engagement, and fairness were always brought to intensive use. At this time, philanthropy in Brazil and Brazilians in NYC was not very well organized into terms of efficiency and transparency. Moreover, we Brazilians were not properly informed about how to fully collaborate on the many needed causes, not even familiar with the tax benefits of donations. Nurtured by the experienced and charismatic Founder of the Brazil Foundation, Leona Forman, I became part of a vital team dedicated to educating a new generation of conscious citizens of the world, not only from Brazil. I learned how to combine my genuine natural passion with my shrewdness in implementing the logistics of a fundraising program, understanding other people’s needs, and gauging the sustainability of the projects themselves. I was only trying to help but wound up learning valuable life lessons.
Initially, whenever I reached out to friends and corporate contacts, I encountered a lot of skepticism about the viability of the foundation’s plans. I was almost insulted by these reactions until I understood that most of them did not perceive how relevant the work truly was; they were not yet emotionally connected to the foundation’s cause as I was. Soon, I discerned a need and fashioned something of personal philosophy: we need to be educated about an issue first and be in close contact with it in order to be able to be attached to it emotionally.
Again, my role with the Foundation: The Kids
Today, with the opportunity to focus directly with the new generation, I repeat the same model that I propose to the adults when I started to bring the first donors in the loop. I first show them the beautiful lessons that social projects are providing their kids, their families, and the environment in general. I try to figure out their passions and connect emotionally and ethically to the causes. Second, I choose to embrace the diversity of these family’s backgrounds, needs, and desires, regardless of whatever limited opportunities they might have had. I show the possibility of creating a chain of actions and value of understanding differing perspectives. For example, some kids in certain areas of Brazil kids desperately lack what many U.S. students have in abundance, such as clean water, reliable transportation, quality schools, updated computers, competent teachers, necessary medicine, and so forth. Some kids in the U.S. have all these benefits and many more, but do not know how to create on their own and get bored easily. Some kids in the city are afraid of nature and I have witnessed children at my gardening class having severe difficulties in bending over to water the plants because they simply did not know how to do it and are afraid to get dirty. When the children of mixed backgrounds, experiences, and abilities get to watch each other working or listen to stories from their lives and those of their families, cooperative spirits emerge and begin to translate into an efficient, enterprising garden and extra-credit activities.
My suggestion is not just raising this new generation to be more socially and environmentally aware, but also becoming more engaged and, consequently, more emotionally satisfied.
PS.: Flag above Designed and Painted by Tita and Lorenzo 2104 and this picture is an afternoon at BF' office to educate the kids about " Abrace o Brasil" campaign 2018