Mission 500, a non-profit initiative focusing its efforts on the security industry and dedicated to serving the needs of children and communities in crisis, secured another 60 child sponsorships at its Oct. 9 launch in Bogota, Colombia. The launch, which took place during an ALAS (Latin American Security Association) gala dinner, coincided with the “Efficiency, Security & Safety International Fair”, a Security exhibition held in Bogota.
Mission 500 also held a public event at the annual Security Industry Association (SIA) awards dinner on Nov. 20 during the ISC East event in New York.
The goal of Mission 500 in Colombia is to sponsor 500 additional needy children through World Vision’s child sponsorship program. This will add to the over 650 children currently sponsored through the program elsewhere around the world. One hundred percent of the funds raised are channeled directly to World Vision. The globally renowned humanitarian organization provides food, clothing and education to those truly in need.
During the ALAS gala dinner, Diego Garcia, a Colombian who was sponsored at the age of three, spoke to the audience. Now 36, he was recently named by “Semana” (a prestigious weekly Colombian magazine similar to Time and Newsweek) as one of
Colombia’s “Top 20 Young Leaders.” He is a pediatrician and currently serves as the director of the Health Ministry’s child vaccination program which is acknowledged throughout Latin America as the most successful initiative of its type. Garcia shared the fact that there is little likelihood that someone from his underprivileged roots could be standing there to share such a story if it had not been for the family in the USA who sponsored him.
After Garcia’s presentation, a donor present at the event publicly offered to sponsor 10 children if another attendee would match that number. The challenge was met by Max Jaramillo of Ventas de Seguridad (a Spanish Security publication), who offered to match the motion. Their generosity prompted Alex Salinas of Bolide Technology to add another five, which was matched by Patricia Acosta representing the Expo organizer. Another 30 children were subsequently added by other people present at the dinner and through a promotional effort on the show floor.
“There are over 20 million people living in poverty in Colombia, with over 500,000 children suffering from severe malnutrition,” said Rich Hahn, a well-known Security consultant and Advisory Board member of Mission 500 now living in Colombia. “It is our duty as security professionals doing business in Colombia to raise awareness of their plight, and contribute in any way we can.”
A new local Committee was formed in Colombia to work towards realizing Mission 500’s local objectives. The committee includes the following dedicated individuals:
- Patricia Acosta – general manager, Eficiencia & Seguridad Exhibition
- Victor Alarcon – executive director, ALAS
- Luis Alberto Delgado – distribution manager, South America, AXIS
- Rich Hahn – industry consultant and principal, RH & Associates
- Carolina Hernández – corporate marketing, World Vision Colombia
- Diana Rodriguez – marketing coordinator, Latin America, Bolide Technology
- Liliana Pinzon – regional marketing director, Bosch
- Claudia Vargas – sales and operations director, XTS
Mission 500 also formed a Committee in Mexico comprised of a number of local industry leaders. Four of the country’s leading distributors; Anixter, Inalarm, Syscom and TVC en Linea have joined the effort and set a group objective of 450 children.