Introduction / About this Blog
Hi everyone, my name is Adelaida Diaz-Roa, and I will be running the Lontananza Foundation. While writing may not be one of my strengths, I will try my best to share with you the who, why, and what behind this blog and the foundation.
So who am I? here’s an “Ice Breaker” speech I wrote for a Toastmasters class where you can learn a bit more about me.
Why am I doing this? I’ll go ahead and recycle another speech (🙈) to share this, my ‘why’, with you.
Where are we now? / What is this all about?
With my big goal — to make an impact in education and help as many kids reach their full potential — plus considering the resources I have available now (access to the Lontananza school (k-5)), I started reading blogs on education and how to run schools. I bought books and downloaded podcasts on these subjects. I went full research nerd mode (my favorite!). But the more I’ve dove into this these past 3 days and from everything I’ve learned over the years it all started to form into something bigger. I realized that I could make a bigger impact than just our Lontananza school right now, even with limited resources the impact could be a lot bigger.
I LOVE to read and learn, and I take notes on everything! It’s something that I will always do but it’s usually something that just sits in my Evernote notes for personal reference. As I started reading about this I realized most of these resources or research were nowhere to be found in Spanish. I thought I’d translate my notes and share them with the school staff but then thought why not involve all of the staff from the other public schools as well? Then I thought why not put it online for those that can’t make the sessions or for the parents? Then I started to like that idea and thought it could potentially go even further than just this town, it’s all fantastic research and I’m sure others in other countries would love to learn as much as I did but don’t have the advantage of knowing English. I know there’s a lot of amazing teachers out there that could benefit from this and even if I just reach 2 or 3, it’d be a win if any of it gets applied in their classrooms, that’s more children it’d have an impact on :)
Once I did a bit more research I realized that the way kids were taught wasn’t enough. Their community has a big part to do with it and their biggest role models (their parents) do too. And not to mention their health which is mainly determined outside of the classroom. So then I realized that to make a true impact I’d need to get involved further than the classroom. I’ve come a long way with my personal health and personal development from reading and a lot of exposure to great books, podcasts, and research. I’ve realized that most people aren’t unhealthy on purpose, they just don’t know how to be healthy. The way I think about things and the way I approach life now is so different than it was before. I used to get 3hrs of sleep a night just to get some more work in, I used to eat hamburgers, ice cream, and all of those things that were delicious only thinking that since I wasn’t gaining weight and still looked fine that I was healthy but that was part of my ignorance towards health. Once I started to learn more about it, it turned into a ripple of personal growth. I hope that by providing more information to others in the community they too will learn as I did and it will have a similar ripple effect for them. I would also like to give kids and the community a way to get involved. Find a way to increase ‘community feel’ (having everyone feel like they have people depending on them and that they’re working towards something bigger than themselves). I was looking for volunteer opportunities and wasn’t able to find any, so I’m thinking I’ll start a volunteer organization as well (how? Idk yet! But hopefully we figure it out together through this blog, the community and resources I find online/ mentors!).
“The beauty and tragedy of the modern world is that it eliminates many situations that require people to demonstrate a commitment to the collective good.” -Tribes
While this isn’t my ultimate goal as mentioned in my “why” speech, it is a step in the right direction with the current resources I have! There’s so much to learn, and it’s better to start now with something small and with what I have than wait to make it ‘big’ in business and have more resources to go straight in and build the schools. I’m getting excited to see all that I learn, how many people’s lives we can impact and how the journey towards those goals goes!
As an entrepreneur, there’s nothing I’ve loved and appreciated more than other entrepreneurs that have been in similar situations writing so honestly and openly about their actual experiences. Before people only saw the successful end of things and never heard about the ups and downs along the journey but that is starting to change and while there is a lot out there for business, I’ve noticed there aren’t that many for non-profits.
I’m still not 100% sure how to go about this all but I do know that to start or have any chance at success I need to gain people’s trust. I want to start my non-profit in Colombia where sadly public trust is not so high and it’s not the community’s fault but the result of all of the past false promises and corruption. My toughest and biggest job starting out is going to be by building trust and being totally transparent about intentions, research, our journey, and plans. With this blog and through our website I hope to make everything we do 100% transparent, for the people we serve to see we genuinely want to help and also for others that may be interested in opening their own non-profit or volunteer group to learn from!
To get guidance from the community and feedback on if we’re headed in the right direction, also from any seasoned social entrepreneurs out there that may help us avoid some pitfalls or point us in the right direction when we feel stuck. So if anyone finds any great reads, articles, videos…. Please send them our way! 😄
Who is this blog for?
It’s for all of you crazy ones out there thinking of jumping into the non-profit world but have no idea where to even start: I’m writing this to hopefully help you along the way! Whether I fail or succeed 🙏🏼, I hope this will help you with resources, what to do, what not to do, and speed up your journey by avoiding my pitfalls and learning from the things that do work.
For the community that we’re serving: This is to help you see where we’re coming from, what we’re thinking about, why we’re thinking about it, all of the research that we’re doing, all of the people we’ve been talking to, and also so we can get your feedback along the way to help guide us and help improve the community together as much as possible.
For our donors: We don’t want to just be transparent on where the funds are being spent but also why and how we’re spending them. Also to hear from you if you have any ideas for us!
And for family/ friends/ supporters: your support means so much! Thank you! 😍
What you can expect from this blog?
I will be sharing all of my findings along my journey to learn more about education and non-profits as well as building communities, and increasing the middle class. Will be talking about all of the things we implemented and their results. Lessons learned (from successes and failures). Will try to update as often as possible but since writing isn’t one of my strengths, it might be monthly sometimes. Just today I feel like this took me way too much time that I could of spent learning or doing more but thankfully I think this one was because it’s the first one and I have to talk a bit more about myself. The rest will be more about ideas and events, which will be more fun and less time consuming than this. I read in Lean In that men usually jump into something when they feel 65% ready and females wait until they feel 100% ready. Like in my ice breaker said, I was waiting to feel 100% ready, with a fancy degree behind me, financials in a great spot because of Nomo FOMO, and a few more years of experience on my belt. But the more I was surrounded by amazing people and the more I read about others going after their passions, I figured it was time to follow mine. It’s better to start now and learn along the way than to wait. It might be a slower start but I know that where there’s a will, there’s a way and starting 4yrs before I thought I would will definitely lead to more impact and more kids’ and families lives affected, as well as building the network where it matters/I need it, and learning about local laws and processes.
Thank you everyone, it’s going to be a fun/ scary/ exciting/ impactful/ hard/ worth it…… ride!