Tag Archives: poverty

“Be The Change That You Wish to See in the World” – is not just a statement



Last night I had the honor of sharing my experience in Brazil as a means of paying it forward in my community and here is what I had to say (wanted to share it all with you)….

Every now and then life affords us opportunities that could never possibly be recreated, retold, or even fathomable. And it is when we leave our hearts open that these moments come alive. This is exactly my journey with Red Rocks Community College and US-Brazil Connect.

This experience has proven to me that I am far greater than what I thought possible. It has taken away fears, given me confidence to continue in the direction of my dreams, built my leadership skills, and has continued to show me that in this life, we all NEED to connect with one another.

It has shown me that I can create impacts in the lives of people across the world that will last a lifetime. One of my students expressed to me that I lit the fire in his heart to do greater and bigger things. Another student wrote in a letter to me, that I had given him the courage to go for his dreams and to get himself out of living in a favela. One of the most impactful things that I witnessed was no matter their situation each one of my students ultimately sought out true happiness.

Something that was impossible to deny in Brazil was pure affection, care and love for another, even amongst the most, vast array of beautifully looking people that I have ever seen. I wish that I could count the number of kisses, hugs and moments of compassion that were expressed towards me while I was there. In the United States, we sometimes forget the healing power that this can have on people.

It was also hard to ignore the disparity in quality of life, when Brazil is known as one of the fastest growing economies in the world. This country is growing at the expense of its most important citizens and at the mercy of globalization. It is my generation’s responsibility and the responsibility of Brazilian citizens, which we saw in the protests, to change the way that we think about consumption, success, and profits.

It is impossible to summarize my experience in a short speech so I will leave you with a few key points:

  • always love, always be kind and always be generous
  • don’t ever let your misconceptions get in the way
  • be thoughtful and be mindful
  • truly be that change that you wish to see in the world- it is possible not just a statement
  • never stop observing
  • most importantly never stop learning

I am forever indebted to Red Rocks Community College, US-Brazil Connect, my biggest supporters, the Colorado-Salvador team and most importantly my amazingly, inspiring,  and motivated group of eleven young Brazilian individuals- for this I am truly grateful.

Life is incredibly too short to not seek out your true happiness. Today, I challenge you to do the same.

Is Brazil’s Middle Class Rising?

As I have begun my research and networking to learn more about Brazil before I go to work there this summer, I have been continually told “there is a large upper class and a very large low class and no middle class”. This spurred a thought. As we know Brazil has the 6th largest economy in the world and is growing rapdily so how can such a large economy have no middle class? (I also want to research and understand why this idea exsits… future blog post?)

This is not so much the truth anymore or is it? According to the recent article that I have linked, Brazil’s middle class now comprises 52% of the population. They base this off a monthly income of R$291 to R$1019 per month. However, based on the current exchange rate that is $148.33 to $519 american per month. And I have heard that it is also not so cheap to live there. So this leads me to wonder how fair and accurate their definition of middle class is and if it is better and what that means to the people?

One refeshing quote that I do take from this article reads, “It’s essential to have an environment that promotes the participation of the middle class in economic growth. For this to occur, we need productive, well-paid and low turnover jobs. We must also ensure equality in opportunities, openness to dialogue and appropriate conditions for health and safety”…. It is going to be extremely interesting to see how Brazil’s development unfolds (and I get to see it first hand this summer-will keep you posted!)

Thoughts? Have you experienced this in your travels to Brazil, what was it like?