Ken and his wife Nita have been devoted to serving children since college, as educators, and also as mission partners. After traveling to the Philippines and China, Ken found himself walking away from the security of a weekly paycheck and retirement benefits when he and his wife Nita began “Hearts and Hands International,” an organization committed to helping at risk children internationally. Ken and Nita have been traveling, inspiring, and encouraging others to serve, working at orphanages in Asia, South America, and Africa.
While working in an orphanage in Northern Kenya-Southern Sudan, Ken realized another purpose, and WATERisLIFE was conceptualized. WATERisLIFE began drilling wells at orphanages and schools. Always attentive, Founder Ken Surritte realized the children were drinking water that came from contaminated wells and retention ponds and other unhealthy sources. Inspired by his backpacking days , Ken began working with a water purification factory and the WATERisLIFE portable, straw filters became the cusp of WATERisLIFE to bring clean water to children, their schools and villages in 38 countries worldwide. Nita and Ken have two grown daughters–and recently, a son in law who shares their love of Asian food and travel.
Born here in Monterrey, Horacio Marchand is an acknowledged marketing and management consultant; known for his creative/innovative methods that he has taught in various institutions such as the University of Miami and the Technological Institute of Monterrey. Throughout his career, he’s counselled a number of socially responsible firms and led them to reach new heights. His skills and advice will be extremely handy for the array of projects that we plan to present in our conference.
Maru Perez Benavides is a young environmental entrepreneur who is eager to share her experience and journey at this conference. She is an ASFM alumni who graduated in 2013 and is now studying architecture at Northeastern university and hopes to come back to Mexico and implement her architectural skills to help her community.
Maggie Chumbley, with expertise in service-learning and global education works internationally with students, teachers and learning communities. She has long believed that the young people on our planet are its most valuable resource to make change. Maggie also is an active member of the Global Issues Networks and an advocate for the environment specializing on the issue of plastic pollution. Maggie is a former high school teacher and has taught in the United States and Colombia. She lives in Seattle, Washington.
At 21 years old, Ryan Hreljac is the founder of the Ryan’s Well Foundation, an organization committed to delivering access to safe water and empowering people of all ages to make a difference in the world. Amazingly, Ryan’s journey began at age six when he was shocked to learn that people in Africa were dying because they didn’t have clean water. Ryan took it upon himself to raise money by doing chores and public speaking, and with the support of his family, friends and community, built a well in Uganda.
Since then, Ryan’s Well has helped build over 700 wells and 900 latrines, bringing safe water and improved sanitation to more than 750,000 people in 16 countries. Today, Ryan studies International Development and Public Affairs at University of King’s College in Halifax. He serves on the board of Ryan’s Well and continues to speak around the world on water issues and volunteerism.
He has received numerous awards including the Order of Ontario, the Canadian Meritorious Service Medal, the Lewis Perinbam Award, the Top 20 Under 20 Youth Award, and World of Children’s Founder Award. Ryan’s work has been featured on the Oprah Winfrey Show, CNN, CBC and in Christian Science Monitor, People, and Reader’s Digest. He is recognized by UNICEF as a Global Youth Leader.
Carl “Energizer” Olson is a nationally known and respected speaker, trainer and author. He has presented to nearly three-quarters of a million people throughout the United States and Canada. His diverse talents allow him to have an impact with a wide variety of audiences. The groups that he presents to include all ages of youth, educational staff, teams, non-profit organizations, business and corporate groups.
Carl founded “Energizer Olson” in 1993, by drawing from his successful background and experience as an educator, coach, administrator and leadership trainer. The mission of the organization was designed to empower his clients for success, using motivation, attitude and sound current theory and practice. His programs include keynote presentations, workshops and consulting. All programs and presentations are designed to fit the group’s unique needs and situation. He is comfortable working with groups of any size and any length of program
With a growing interest in education, Alfonso created EducarUno in 2006, a new organization whose main premise is: “Education is humanity’s greatest hope” and “there is no problem in the world that can’t be fixed with education”. As president and general director of EducarUno, Alfonso leads different projects like Instituto Docet, the contest Diseña el Cambio and the educational platform FutureEd.
One of the most successful projects of EducarUno is the contest “Diseña el Cambio”. The contest, which started in India, is present in more than 40 countries around the world. Today, more than 90,000 students and 1.8 million Mexicans have participated in the contest which seeks to empower children and teenagers to be agents of change through the four words: feel, imagine, do and share. Alfonso continues to work for this contest to help it grow and take to more countries and more children.