Philippe Houdard, co-founder of Pipeline Brickell, has been paying it forward since he started Developing Minds Foundation more then six years ago. The mission is simple: to transform children’s lives through education. The organization focuses on children affected by the cycle of extreme poverty and violence in the Americas. Since its inception in 2006, Developing Minds has educated more than 35,000 children and young adults. Philippe was awarded the International Award of Excellence by Colombia Exterior last week in honor of the foundation’s work.
A recent feature in the Miami Herald tells the story of Hector, a former child soldier in the FARC, who is currently participating in a Developing Mind’s project that reintegrates Colombia’s former child soldiers into civil society. He managed to escape the guerilla earlier this year, and is now honing his woodworking skills at one of the Foundation’s programs. Hector recounts the terrors of life in the guerilla, and his fear of possible retribution by the armed group should he one day return home. Thanks to Developing Minds, he now dreams of opening his own furniture shop and bringing his family with him.
With programs in Brazil, Colombia and Miami, the focus of Developing Minds is to build schools and educational programs that empower children to become self-sufficient and take control of their own destinies. The Foundation offers alternatives to youth who may otherwise turn to organized crime or engage in criminal activity as a path out of poverty.
Developing Minds is unique in its methodology. The program relies on the best practices and results-driven disciplines of highly competitive companies in the private sector to enact its plans. By providing alternatives and tools to the children it serves to build successful futures, Developing Minds Foundation is breaking the cycle of extreme poverty and curbing violence in some of the world’s most difficult places to live. It gives children who have lost hope a second chance at life.