Today we’d like to introduce you to Debora Guimaraes.
Debora, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I have been in the US for 23 years and have always been involved in helping my community, children in Mozambique and Brazil. After many struggles to complete my education in the US, I finally got my degree in Clinical Social work in 2011 from Boston University. My passion has been to work with families and helping families to improve their relationships and helping children with social and emotional development. I believe so much in Education, only through the opportunity of learning new skills, we’re able to make positive decisions that will have long-lasting changes. And many of the people who live below the poverty line in Brazil, don’t have the opportunity to learn new skills.
Almost 5 years ago, I decided to organize a non-profit organization to help more families in Brazil. I invited a group of dedicated friends and this journey has been fantastic! For 3 years, we helped over 100 families in Brazil monthly. The families attended monthly educational workshops, received food assistance, social and emotional support. We organized the Women’s Entrepreneurship Program, providing arts and crafts classes, 3 times a week, so the mothers can learn skills, produce products, sell it and have an income to support their families better.
Now, we’re downsizing the program, so we can focus on building an educational center that will aid more families in the community. We were granted a piece of land, where we’ll be building a place for an after-school program, expand the Women’s Entrepreneurship Program, skills training for the youth and many other opportunities to transform the community.
However, I couldn’t just help abroad. I strongly believe in paying back to my local community. That’s why I started a youth program to support the children of Brazilian immigrants. We meet monthly for career exploration, college prep, social-emotional learning and to be volunteers in local programs. We have been at Cradles to Crayons, My Brother’s Table, and many others. For the past 4 years, we have distributed over 350 boxes of personal hygiene/and non-perishable products for the homeless in Lynn and Boston at Christmas time.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
The road has been rough but it’s worthy. I want to do everything correctly, and learning all the process of running a non-profit is not an easy task. I also have a great desire to help more people each day, my brain doesn’t stop thinking about new ideas and projects, but there’s just so much I can do. I feel blessed for the opportunity of encouraging my Brazilian community members to become volunteers and donors. And they have been a receptacle and are joining the Foundation’s efforts.
My dream is to have more volunteers and donors, so we can build the Educational center in Brazil, have space and the means to have an educational center in the Boston area to help more Youth to achieve their education. Along this road, I’m proud to raise my 4 years old daughter, providing the opportunity for her to learn how important is to serve our community and share our love.
Share Your Love Foundation – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Family Support Program:
Educational workshops for parents about the importance of practicing Nurturing Skills daily
Educational workshops for children on social and emotional development
Entrepreneurship Program for mothers
Financial and social support for children with special needs in our program
What set us apart? In the Brazil, there are few educational programs for families living below the poverty line. We are proud of offering the educational workshops based on nurturing and social and emotional development.
In the US:
Youth Program: career exploration, college prep, social and emotional development and volunteerism opportunities.
Mother’s group: for the parents of the youth in the Youth Program, we provide monthly workshops on the college prep process.
What set us apart? There are many opportunities in the US to help youth to go to college. However, is not easy for immigrant’s families to access the information. We are hoping to help Portuguese speaking families to access the information necessary for a successful road to college
What is “success” or “successful” for you?
Success for me means:
-Children being taken care, receiving hugs and kisses daily by their parents.
-Children being able to name their feelings, using skills to make best choices on how to act out their feelings
-Youth finding out about the opportunities available, finding out that they can be successful when they work hard and focus on their goals
-And when people share their knowledge, financial resources and love with those among them.
- Website: www.shareyourlovefoundation.org
- Phone: 8572512676
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SYLoveFondation/