Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI) 2023 alum Nataly Navarro recently launched a campaign to support her school in Colombia, Fundacion Magic World School. To celebrate the launch of her campaign, Nataly shared some thoughts on how her time in San Diego and the YLAI fellowship helped her to unveil her inner light.
Envisioning the Unattainable
Would we dare to imagine possible what seems beyond our reach? Three years ago, even though I considered myself a dreamer, doubt entered my mind. Dreams, after all, are mere thoughts, aren’t they?
I’m Colombian and at the time, I was working with my mom at Magic World, a bilingual school she established in Arauca, a small town geographically isolated and affected by a 60 year armed conflict and with the added influx of Venezuelan immigrants seeking refuge.
Now, try to imagine how everything took an unexpectedly complex turn due to the pandemic. That’s when I grew weary due to a feeling of helplessness. Driven by a newfound purpose, my mom and I decided to reshape Magic World into a foundation, dedicated to providing equitable education and hope for underserved children and their families.
And do you know what hope is? It is believing.
That’s how I found myself as a co-founder of a non-profit. Through believing quality education could transcend socioeconomic barriers, and in the pursuit of solutions for Magic World’s challenges, I joined YLAI (Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative), a fellowship program funded by the U.S. Department of State.
San Diego: An Inspiring Chapter
Thanks to my participation in the YLAI program, I connected with The Academy of Our Lady of Peace (OLP) and collaborated with them for a month. During this time, we exchanged experiences and ideas on how to create positive impacts within our communities. Additionally, I met inspiring San Diego citizens through the various activities the San Diego Diplomacy Council scheduled for my YLAI fellows and I.
For someone who was uncertain of their potential, these past three years had been an overwhelming rollercoaster, however, I was happily surprised to discover the immense support and love that embraced me in San Diego. Especially, my YLAI fellows became my cherished family and reminded me that resilience and growth springs from vulnerability.
Empowered for Change
Through this experience, I have learned a fundamental truth, we all possess the power to effect change. Small actions carry the potential for immense impact, hinging on our belief in our capabilities. This newfound self-assurance drove my new aspiration—to become a Lightbringer.
Inspired by this vision, I’ve come back to my community in Arauca, Colombia with a recharged energy and willing to continue reaching what seems beyond our reach. That’s why I have recently initiated a crowdfunding campaign to strengthen our ‘Seeding a Better Future’ scholarship program. I extend a heartfelt invitation to you, become a part of this transformative journey by supporting the children of Arauca through this campaign. For further details, please visit: https://vaki.co/en/vaki/magicworld.