Scott Garrison, Co-Founder and Director of Education
The idea for Ceiba came out of a true and deep curiosity for the people, places, and things that give our world such diverse and interesting character. Indeed, as Mark Twain so perfectly wrote, “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” This is a mantra for many of us who have been fortunate enough to travel to so many fantastic parts of our world.
My own international experience began in earnest with my high school Grade 11 year spent as an exchange student in Melbourne, Australia. This single transformative experience at once made the world seem much smaller and much bigger, with the recognition that we really are all connected and that there is a lot to learn from so many rich cultures. Following that great desire to learn, I spent five additional years in Australia, the Czech Republic for close to three, Honduras, and now Guatemala. Interspersed were different locations throughout the US and travels all around the globe. To see, listen to, and feel the richness of culture and differing approaches to life are powerful motivators of personal and social development and I’ve been fortunate to continue the journey that has brought me to Antigua. Now, Ceiba brings that opportunity to students also looking for a similar spark of exploration and discovery.
Added to the unforgettable lessons of my own travels are two professional experiences that have led directly to Ceiba’s existence: managing an international high school exchange organization in Oregon with Kamillia Hoban, now Ceiba’s Operations Director, and also designing, implementing, and directing the Community Service Learning Program at Antigua International School in Guatemala. Through the Oregon exchange organization, I learned the logistics and processes of running such a program and then, with the Community Service Program, I was able to apply the theories of reflective practice from my Master of Education course at University of Melbourne. In addition, my professional life has incorporated roles as an international curriculum consultant, academic advisor, ski instructor, and classroom teacher with students of all ages.
Kamillia Hoban, Co-Founder and Director of Operations
I am very fortunate to have been involved in creating, designing and developing Ceiba with Scott from the beginning. As Scott and I have both experienced in our own lives, high school is an ideal time to explore the diversity of our global communities and the way in which you learn about and interact with the world around you.
At the age of 14 my mom took me on a backpacking trip to France and Switzerland in an attempt to broaden my perspective and world view. That trip instilled in me a love for traveling and experiencing other cultures. I participated in an exchange program in France the following summer, traveled solo throughout Europe the summer after my junior year of high school, and studied in Paris my junior year of college. My fascination with foreign cultures and language inspired me to major in Comparative Literature and French at Columbia University in New York City. Over the years I’ve traveled through Europe, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Morocco, Mauritania, Mali, and Cape Verde.
My professional focus has been working with non-profit Youth and Conservation Corps which provide youth development through conservation service projects. Having experienced every level of Conservation Corps programs from participant to Executive Director has given me an informed and well rounded perspective on youth service-learning programming and non-profit management. I am excited to contribute my professional experience and passion for cultural exchange and service-learning to the Ceiba experience.
Carol Loaiza, Comptroller and Director of Human Resources
I’m really proud and honored to be part of the Ceiba team. As a Guatemalan, this opportunity comes once in a lifetime – the chance to really get the name of Guatemala out there and show the beauty of this country and its people. The incredible contribution that Ceiba is going to make with our project partners will make a big change and difference in the lives of the local Guatemalans who benefit from them. The Ceiba students are also going to benefit with new perspectives of Guatemala, Central America, and how things are done here – that our history, culture, and way of living are all part of what makes Guatemala such a special part of the world.
I completed my MBA here in Guatemala and have managed and owned businesses around Antigua. My parents always taught me about the importance of education and I grew up speaking both Spanish and English. It is my goal to make sure that each of you has a wonderful experience here and that we provide a safe, comfortable place for you to learn and grow.
I will be in Antigua to meet each of you when you arrive and I’m really looking forward to each new day full of adventures and experiences for everyone involved. Welcome to Guatemala!
Marni Bosanquet, Education Mentor
My name is Marni and I am really looking forward to being an Education Mentor with Ceiba! I have been living in Antigua for more than a year and a half now and have fallen in love with this great city.
I really landed on my feet here when I got a job working for a travel company, which has allowed me to see so many of the incredible sites this beautiful country has to offer while meeting travelers from all around the world. To continue expanding my own horizons, I went from the travel company to a month volunteering with Niños de Guatemala, which is one of Ceiba’s partners and helps build better futures for Guatemala’s children through education and local community development projects. There are so many fantastic charities in Guatemala and I’m excited to also be involved in the ones that Ceiba is working with.
Before coming to Guatemala, I worked for seven years in education in Bristol, England as a Special Needs Assistant. I also ran my own story-telling and puppet-making workshops which focused on helping children improve their literacy and communication skills. Also in Bristol, I volunteered at the Waldorf School after completing a Steiner Teacher Training course and then I volunteered for a local homeless charity, where I set up a TREE Surgery (Training Recruitment Education Experience) helping homeless people get back on their feet and developing the confidence needed to rebuild their lives. The children I worked for helped me coordinate all kinds of fundraisers for the shelter and I was inspired and extremely grateful for all their endless enthusiasm and hard work.
I am very excited about working with Ceiba and look forward to meeting everyone when you all come to Guatemala!
James Richardson, Education Mentor
I have lived and worked in Guatemala for almost three years now, with Antigua becoming a new home for me. I absolutely love this country with its beautiful landscapes, fascinating mix of ancient and contemporary cultures, and above all, its kind and sharing people.
Before Guatemala, I worked in Manchester, England as an academic tutor with an organisation which targets and supports talented young students who are under-represented in higher education. Our program included activities engaging with research, academic enrichment, and personal development and skills workshops. I thoroughly enjoyed working with some young, inspiring and innovative minds and it was an extremely rewarding time of my life.
When I came to Guatemala, I had never before been to Latin America. I had no idea what this place had to offer or what wonders it had hidden away. I originally came to volunteer as a teacher with Niños de Guatemala, which provides free education to children from extremely disadvantaged families. I had decided to only volunteer for two months, but Guatemala had other plans for me; I was offered a job with Niños, and those two months have turned into these fantastic years! Now, I have the opportunity to work as an Education Mentor with Ceiba, and I’m excited to work closely alongside our students in this amazing, profound learning experience. Together, we will be working alongside our inspiring service partners and reaching out to the special communities that make Guatemala such a wonderful place to call home.
I look forward to continuing my hard work with talented people, and I truly embrace the chance to bridge the gap between cultures as we all strive towards a stronger, interactive global community.