The Foreign Service Journal - September 2014 - page 65

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL
|
SEPTEMBER 2014
65
AFSA NEWS
Making a Difference in Mexico City
AFSA EXEMPLARY PERFORMANCE AWARDS : THE AV I S BOHLEN AWARD
FOR A FOREIGN SERVICE FAMILY MEMBER
When Kari Osborne arrived in
Mexico City with her husband,
a political officer, she was
struck by the poverty she saw
and the huge gap between the
living conditions of the rich
and the poor.
With two daughters of her
own, she found the plight of
poor children especially hard
to accept. “It is the children
of Mexico who captured my
heart and pushed me to act
on their behalf,” says Osborne,
winner of this year’s Avis
Bohlen Award.
Osborne’s dedication to
volunteerism and leadership
has made a real difference in
the lives of many in Mexico
City. Soon after arrival at post,
she joined the embassy’s
Charities and Activities Com-
mittee and later became vice
president for activities and
membership.
Her first task for the CAC
was to assist with the Major
League Soccer Ambassador’s
Cup Tournament and Clinic
in August 2012. This event
gave children from five area
orphanages a chance to be
trained and coached by for-
mer U.S. national soccer team
players over three days.
“It was amazing to see the
camaraderie of the teams and
spirit of competition through
the shared love of soccer,”
Osborne recalls.
Her application to the J.
Kirby Simon Foreign Service
Trust resulted in a $3,000
grant, which the Hogar Dulce
Hogar (Home Sweet Home)
orphanage used to replace an
archaic electrical system. The
orphanage supports approxi-
mately 70 displaced children
who typically come from the
streets or shelters.
Through CAC, Osborne
worked with Fundación
Dar y Amar, a home for
at-risk girls, where she
coordinated the creation
of a vegetable and herb
garden. She also aided the
“Angel Trees” campaign
to provide disadvantaged
families with gifts for
Christmas.
The annual Holiday
Bazaar raised funds to
bring orphans of Fun-
dación Eugenia to the
ambassador’s house for a
holiday party, which brought
the local community even
closer to the embassy and
those who work there.
“Over the years we have
provided aid to many different
orphanages, senior homes,
shelters for victims of human
trafficking and pet
adoption agencies,” says
Osborne.
“Each event we held
helped make a posi-
tive impact in our local
community. For me, the
smiles of pure joy on
the faces of the Mexican
children have made the
hard work all worth it.”
Kari Osborne and
her husband, Matthew
Osborne, have two
daughters, ages 12 and
9. They have lived in Lux-
embourg, Switzerland
and Spain. Osborne says
she was always active in
the volunteer community
wherever she has lived.
On being recognized by
AFSA, Osborne says: “I am
honored and humbled to
receive AFSA’s Avis Bohlen
award. But I must share the
credit with the many oth-
ers who have volunteered to
serve with me on the Chari-
ties and Activities Committee
in Mexico City. The true win-
ners are the adults, children
and animals of Mexico City
that we have helped through
our fundraising and service
efforts.”
n
(Top) Kari Osborne leads a craft with the children at Fundación Hogar Dulce Hogar
in Mexico City. (Above) Osborne, second from left, and friends at Fundación Hogar
Dulce Hogar. (Below) Embassy volunteers plant flowers at Fundación Dar y Amar.
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