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WM Spotlight: Katia Gomez, Part 1

by Rachel Johnson

Q: We’re so glad to feature you in our Spotlight Series, Katia! Tell us about the foundation you started, Educate2Envision (E2E) International.

At E2E, we invest in youth from extremely low-income areas, encouraging them to be their own innovators in tackling poverty. We’re starting in Honduras. We go beyond donating school supplies and building schools to creating education movements that positively transforms communities. By supporting first-generation high school students, we set the precedent that ignites confidence and ideas among youth to further develop their communities. Our programs place a special emphasis on girls who face the greatest risk of dropping out early because of adolescent pregnancy. We believe that educating the future mothers of the world will give future generations a chance of reaching their full potential.

Q: What inspired you to launch E2E? Was there a specific “aha!” moment for you, or did the idea pan out over several weeks/months/years of dreaming about it?

It was really a combination of the two. I had been interning for a year or two with CARE USA, a major international NGO focusing on women’s empowerment and girls’ education, and before that I studied as an International Studies major where I was quite often exposed to the root causes of global poverty. 

So a seed had already been planted in my mind a short while before I made that volunteer trip to Honduras – it guided my thinking and told me that educating girls had to be included in any plan to support communities in lifting themselves out of poverty. My aha moment for the creation of E2E would be my independent investigation in 2010, during the undergrad trip, when I started knocking on doors and interviewing students, teachers, and parents only to find out no one had ever gone to high school. Girls especially had mountains of barriers blocking their dreams. I didn’t know for sure if I could do much to remedy this, but I knew I was going to try.

Q: You just won a Do Something Award for your work with E2E this summer – congratulations! What was that experience like?

Thank you! I still get butterflies when I watch the VH1 video clips. Whenever I get asked this question, the first word that comes to mind is “surreal.” I don’t think any adjective could describe the whole experience from start to finish better than that word. Never in a million years would I have imagined having the summer I just had! Not only did I see my dream realized by winning the Do Something Award, but I also met some incredible celebrities, was treated like a celeb myself, and had the incredible opportunity to meet four other amazing individuals and Do Something Awards finalists: Meg Bourne, Seth Maxwell, Manyang Reath, and Danny Mendoza. The folks at Do Something are as awesome as they come. They gave us memories to last our whole lives

Q: Your website says that “education is the most fool-proof investment we can make in breaking the cycle of poverty.” Unpack that statement for us, and explain how you arrived at this belief system.

When it comes to fighting global poverty, a lot of words get thrown around like “sustainability,” “development,” and “empowerment”. Anyone in this field wants to achieve these three things in some form or another, but the question always remains: what is the most effective way to spend our money? How can we really bring about lasting change without having to learn the hard way each time?

For E2E, education is the answer because no matter the final outcome, there is no negative consequence of allowing a human being to expand their knowledge and put that knowledge to use in their communities. To help a parent become literate so they can better understand their rights and take better care of their children, to show a young girl that she has an alternate path aside from pregnancy – these things could never be seen as “failures” or “wastes of money”. There is no doubt that you are getting your money’s worth by investing in a child’s education.

Stay tuned and check back tomorrow for Part 2 of our Wonderfully Made spotlight on Katia Gomez!

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