What do you get when you combine a bunch of young people passionate about making a positive impact in the world? Creciendo Cambio!
It started as an idea with my boyfriend as we were thinking about creating a space that brought together foreigners and locals to work on community projects. Both of us were fellows and we wanted to share our love of service with our friends and also support each other’s initiatives. We reached out to other fellows in the program, former students, Colombian friends, and soon we had a group of about 12 committed members; we just needed project ideas. We asked what topics everyone was passionate about and we discovered that we all shared an interest in cultural exchanges, education, and taking care of the environment.
Our first project was to offer a community documentary screening for Earth Day. Unfortunately some complications interfered with this plan, but a couple fellows were still able to show the documentary at their schools. Our next project was to visit an urban garden called Greenbelt and engage in a group garbage pick up in the surrounding area. We learned how this neighborhood often labeled as violent is also home to a women-led self-sufficient urban garden that feeds the community and provides an additional source of income for its residents.
Along our journey in this new social change group we supported one of our member’s free English community classes and by the end of the semester we partnered up with Fundación Valora in a neighboring municipality called Sabaneta. Here we led a dream board activity for kids in the community and then had some fun splashing in the sun with some water balloons.
Overall, Creciendo Cambio became a space for all of us to reflect on living a life of purpose, and living out our time in Colombia with intention. The Colombians in our group enjoyed practicing English with us and said that they saw Medellin in a different way thanks to their contact with fellows and one another. Everyone in the group looked forward to a weekly venture into the city with a group of friends to make a difference.
For me Creciendo Cambio was a place to bring people together regardless of their sex, class, age, race, nationality, or any other identity and share our love of people and service. From the beginning we shared our passions with one another and turned them into actionable projects that we could talk about at our next social. This made my experience in Colombia feel much bigger than my responsibilities at my school and truly create a bridge between foreigners and Colombians to work together to create a better society on the foundation of friendship and a willingness to learn from and serve one another. Thanks to the opportunity I had to be in Colombia through Heart for Change/Volunteers Colombia I was able to connect with some of my former students in community projects and cultivate a closer sense of belonging to Medellín, the city I had grown to call home.