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Community Highlights: Meet Nicholas Sandoval of Create Purpose

Today we’d like to introduce you to Nicholas Sandoval.

Hi Nicholas, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstory.
I had arrived at a time in my life when I wanted to give back. I had been given so many opportunities in life to make something of myself thanks to a committed mother and a support system throughout the life of different coaches, teachers and others. I wanted to help those less fortunate and “change the world” in whatever way I could. At the time, I was living beachfront in Redondo beach, enjoying everything that South Bay has to offer – beach, volleyball, The Strand and everything else is incredible. I found myself volunteering at food kitchens, shelters, Rotary and whatever else I could help with. But the first time I was invited to an orphanage across the border in Mexico, I knew I had found where I wanted to focus my efforts. I met children who didn’t have any hope in life. They were such amazing children yet they were all behind in school, they all suffered from extreme trauma that was not treated and they were all going to be kicked out of the orphanage at 18 years old with no skills and nobody to ensure they could make it in the real world.

I continued volunteering for several years doing everything from painting buildings to sitting on board seats, wanting to maximize my impact as much as possible. Over the years, I came to find out that even though we know that the majority of orphan children will end up in poverty and on the street, the vast majority of any giving to them is done with plastic toys, used clothes and cash to keep the lights on. Nobody was focused on their development as humans. Nobody was working to ensure that when they left the orphanage, they would excel in life. That’s why Create Purpose started. It’s why I left the South Bay and moved to Tijuana, Mexico over six years ago and why I believe we need to evolve the way we habitually give to orphan children.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
When I started Create Purpose I had no idea how difficult it would be. I used to consult businesses on how to save money on their energy output. It was easy compared to this monstrosity of a task. What’s worse is that I didn’t know. I was so used to throwing money at solving the problem that I didn’t realize how many people come over to “save the world” and do the exact same thing. I remember when I was more focused on building our Facebook following than I was on program development. Those first years a lot of learning happened. We had no processes. No program evaluations. No plan as to where we were going. Thanks to a really great team and some important alliances we figured it out. And today, I’m super proud of the support we provide.

As you know, we’re big fans of Create Purpose. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about the brand?
I founded Create Purpose in 2014 thinking that I could build it from my apartment in Redondo Beach. After a few months, I realized that in order to build an organization for these children, we had to partner with the community. And in order to do that, I had to move down to where the work was – Tijuana, Mexico. Over the years, I have come to love Tijuana and have remained grateful having been welcomed into the community after building the right alliances and friendships over the years. Our work focuses on the development of orphan children and has picked up traction in universities, with government officials and the local community. We’re showing people that there is a better way to serve orphan children. Our Programs focus in Technology, Garden-Based Learning and Nutrition as we look to serve over 2,000 children this year in Baja California orphanages. I am most proud of our team that continues to raise the bar for how to positively impact orphan children. We are on a mission to prove that if given the right opportunities, children will break the cycle of poverty themselves. We want to show these children that we’ll show up every day and believe in them and their only job is to show up. It’s amazing what a little consistency will do for these children.

Can you talk to us a bit about happiness and what makes you happy?
It makes me happy when a lightbulb goes off for a child. That ‘Aha!’ moment. It comes all the time when they piece things together from their classes. It makes me happy when orphanage staff attributes the children’s good behavior and better grades to our Programs. It makes me happy to sit in our Create Purpose weekly meetings. All the team is hyper-focused on one goal – to help orphans and vulnerable children excel in life. And when you put really smart people on a mission to change the world, exciting things can happen…

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Image Credits:

Jay Velasco

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