Ross School - Senior Project 2008-09

Student: Ingrid Julieth Cardona

Mentor: Jennifer Cross

Title: Comida Para Los Ni–os De Colombia


Ever since I was about 10 years old I saw commercials on TV about kids around the world who were poor. As I saw the commercials I always wished to be wealthy and help all those children. Last year a lady told me, ŇYou donŐt have to be rich to help all those kids. You can do events and raise money to help them.Ó Her words inspired me this year and gave me the support that I need to make an event.  My senior project was a fundraising event at the Ross Center for Well Being CafŽ. The evening featured a dinner with ethnic food from Colombia, music by Deejay Double S (Samuel Santiago), and a variety of special silent auction items. The funds raised benefited MADRE, a human rights organization benefiting women and children worldwide. This benefit specifically helped their efforts to prevent children from being forced to become child soldiers in Colombia and will allow them to go to school and fulfill their dreams.




When Mrs. Parkes introduced the Senior Project I knew exactly what I wanted to work on. I wanted to help prevent children from being forced into becoming child soldiers by a terrorist group in Colombia know as FARC. The reason why I chose this project is because ever since I was ten years old I would see commercials on the television where little African children were shown. They seemed like my age or younger, but the sad part was that the commercials were to help these children because they were starving. The pictures that were shown of the children made me upset and inspired me to help poor children. Also, I come from Colombia where you see a lot of poverty and children on the streets, dirty and asking for money. The money they ask for is either to buy drugs or for some to actually buy food. These children wonder the streets because they donŐt have parents to take care of them. Another influence on my final decision were the words of Rose Dios. They were, ŇYou donŐt have to be rich to help all those children. You can do events and raise money to help them.Ó I always thought that for some reason I had to be rich to help poor children, but her words made me realize that I didnŐt.

            For my fundraiser I hosted a dinner, which helped me raise money, but to get to the final product I had to organize many different things. The first was to find an organization that helped poor children. This step I would say was the easiest because last year I had worked with these organization helping the same children. The organizationŐs name is MADRE and MADRE means mother. This organization helps poor women and children around the world. Some of the countries that they help are Nicaragua, Africa, Iraq, Mexico, Sudan as well as Colombia. ItŐs very important to make sure that the organization is legitimate and a way to find this out is if the organization is a 501 (c) 3. This means that itŐs a tax-deductible organization and the United States government monitors its finances. MADRE supports an organization in Bogota, Colombia called Taller de Vida. Taller de Vida helps children who have been affected by FARC. They help the children overcome their trauma. Taller de Vida also gives other children the opportunity of going to school since their parents donŐt have enough money to send them to school.

            Who is FARC? FARC like I said before is a terrorist group in Colombia that operates in the jungles. They fight against the Colombian government. FARC sells drugs to obtain money to make their organization bigger and stronger. They also kidnap children to ask their parents for money, but never return them back. Most of the children that are kidnapped are around the age of eight or younger. The children are forced into being child soldiers. In some cases they become child soldiers voluntarily. The children join because they think that FARC will give them everything they need, but itŐs all false promises. Others join because they are mistreated at home. This happens especially to girls, who are sexually abused by family members, or even their own fathers.

            My original idea for my project was to make a dinner, but after having a meeting with my outside consultant she gave me the idea of doing a childrenŐs fair. This idea did not work because it would take more then the time I had to finish my senior project, so I had to go to my original plan.

            Putting everything together was the part that took the longest. It started from meeting with different people. It included meeting with my mentor, outside consultant, attending event meetings in order to get my event day approved, and meeting with the founder of MADRE (Kathy Engel).  Also, I had to meet with each restaurant that donated food because I had to explain to them what they were donating. I had to give them a letter from my mentor and a tax-deductible sheet. I had to make many phone calls and send a lot of e-mails. I had to think about what kind of food I wanted to have, and I decided I wanted the whole event theme had to be Colombian, so the food would be Colombian. It was a roasted stuffed pig and la Bandeja Paisa. I also had to think about entertainment because I wanted people to also have fun. Some of the difficulties that I had were asking restaurants for food, worrying about the amount of food needed, and getting my performers to practice.

            When the dinner party was over I discovered that I had raised more money than what I had expected. I thought I would only be able to raise $2000, but ended up raising $4,152. Also knowing that everyone had a great time made me feel great. From this project the skills that I gained were learning how to plan an event, organization skills, designing skills, and decoration skills.

            For my final step I visited Colombia and met a young girl from FARC, who has been helped my Taller De Vida. For the future I plan on continue helping these children.

Works Consulted

Cardona, Ingrid. ŇDinner for Senior Project.Ó Liz Dobbs. 22 Oct. 2008.

Cardona, Ingrid. ŇFrom Kathy Engel.Ó Kathy Engel. 24 Oct. 2008.

Cardona, Ingrid. ŇSenior Project.Ó Isabel Sepulveda. 23 Oct. 2008.

Cardona, Ingrid. ŇMy Senior Project Proposal.Ó Rose Dios. 02 Jun. 2008.

Cardona, Ingrid. ŇMy Senior Project Poster!Ó Constance Sepulveda-Manias. 23 Oct. 2008.

Dios, Rose. Personal interview. 20 Oct. 2008.

Dios, Rose. Personal interview. Nov. 2008.

Engel, Kathy. Personal interview. 20 Oct. 2008.

MADRE Demanding Rights, Resources & Results for Women Worldwide. 2008. Viewed 18 Aug. 2008. <>.

Sepulveda, Isabel. Telephone interview. Oct. 2008.

Stromberg, Vivian. Telephone interview. 15 Dec. 2008.

Taller De Vida, Asociaci—n Centro De Desarrollo y Consultor’a Psicosocial. 2007. Viewed 18 Dec. 2008. <>.

Community Member (Details)

Outside Consultant: Rosa Dios

Mrs. Dios is a Businesswoman in finance at UBS. She does volunteer work at a local charity named Have a Heart Community Trust. This organization helps local people in need.