buildOn employee Jackie Vargas, a Program Coordinator in Bridgeport, CT, accepts the 2017 ONE buildOn Responsibility Award.

Staff across the Globe Shine at the 2018 ONE buildOn Awards

The 2018 ONE buildOn Award Winners

Every year, the ONE buildOn Awards celebrate the members of our team who have embodied the best of the buildOn movement in our work to break the cycle of poverty, illiteracy, and low expectations through service and education. Three of the awards highlight team members whose actions demonstrate one of buildOn’s core values of compassion, empowerment, and responsibility, and the Ahmed Khere “Never Give Up” Award recognizes an individual who demonstrates courage and resilience in the face of extreme adversity.

We are excited and proud to publicly announce the winners of the 2018 ONE buildOn Awards. The winners are…

The Compassion Award
Jon Mucciolio, Service Learning Program Manager, The Bronx

In order to receive buildOn’s Compassion Award, the honoree must have demonstrated humility while alleviating the suffering of others through service, or servant leadership.

The buildOn Service Learning Programs that Jon Mucciolo oversees in the Bronx are described as “second families” by buildOn students. And that’s because of Jon’s hard work.

Throughout the four school years that Jon has worked for buildOn, he has cultivated an environment where students feel welcome and supported. “I worked with Jon at both Validus and The Bronx School for Law, Government, and Justice for the past year and was inspired by his ability to connect with students and staff by showing a sincere interest in getting to know them. He greets every single person he comes across, making all people feel that they are welcome in the buildOn movement,” says Jaymie Jenks, a Senior Service Learning Program Coordinator in the Bronx. “He has shown me what it is to be a servant leader and how to make all voices feel heard and valued.”

In his work as a Service Learning Program Manager, Jon has demonstrated respect and compassion on a daily basis to students, teachers, staff, and the entire buildOn team. “He doesn’t do any of these things for recognition,” Jaymie explains. “He does them because he cares so much about the success of others.”

Learn more about buildOn in the Bronx here.

The Empowerment Award
Adama Doumbia, Construction Manager, Mali

Adama Doubia, a Construction Manager from Mali, is the winner of the 2018 ONE buildOn Empowerment Award.

buildOn’s Empowerment Award is reserved for an individual who has inspired others through leadership and example to create positive change and to believe in their ability to live a bigger life.

Adama Doumbia has worked in all three of the countries where buildOn constructs schools in West Africa. Whether in Senegal, Burkina Faso, or Mali, Adama has always emphasized empowering his fellow buildOn team members, as well as members of the local villages during school construction projects.

“Over the years, with his experience, he has developed buildOn’s activities in Senegal, Burkina Faso, and Mali,” says Brehmia Traore, an Education Officer with buildOn in Mali. “Today, buildOn has grown a lot because the school plan has improved thanks to him.”

In Mali, Adama has been known for championing the contributions of women on the school construction site and getting children who have dropped out or been denied their right to education to start attending school and learning through buildOn’s Enroll program.

“When I started working with Adama, I discovered a talented, brave, very determined, and very funny guy,” says Fatoumata Diarra, a Trek Coordinator in Mali. “I think Adama will continue to better improve the quality of our school infrastructures to better inspire communities.”

Learn more about buildOn schools around the Globe.

The Responsibility Award
Neil Ali, Revenue Analyst, Stamford, Connecticut

buildOn’s Responsibility Award honors an individual who has continually stepped up and gone above and beyond in his work to further the mission of buildOn.

While a majority of staff at buildOn work in buildOn’s U.S. and Global programming, buildOn has a small Finance and Operations Team working behind the scenes that makes all that we do possible. And one the reasons this small but mighty team of seven people is so effective in their work is buildOn’s Revenue Analyst Neil Ali.

“Neil Ali is deserving of the 2018 ONE buildOn Responsibility Award for many reasons,” says Liz Navarra, buildOn’s Executive Assistant in Connecticut. “Neil’s ambition, critical thinking, compassion, attention to detail, and, most of all, his constant taking on of responsibilities outside of his scope of work, makes him dependable, efficient, and unfailingly accountable.”

But it’s more than just everything Neil does at buildOn. It’s also the way that he approaches his work on a daily basis. “He does this day in and day out with humor, humility, and grace,” says Liz. “Neil represents buildOn in the highest light internally, to our donors, and to our external partners.”

Learn more about buildOn Donations.

The Ahmed Khere “Never Give Up” Award
Yasser Lanuza, Trek Coordinator, Nicaragua

Yasser Lanuza, a Trek Coordinator from Nicaragua, is the winner of the 2018 Ahmed Khere "Never Give Up" Award.

Named in honor of fallen team member Ahmed Khere who sacrificed his life to protect buildOn team members and volunteers during a 2016 terrorist attack in Burkina Faso, the “Never Give Up” Award recognizes a team member who has demonstrated courage, resiliency, grit, and selflessness in the face of extreme adversity.

In early 2018, a group of buildOn students from the Bronx were building a school on Trek in the village of San Rafael Apantillo, Nicaragua, when the village experienced especially heavy rains. Those rains caused a nearby stream to swell into fast-moving river.

In order to evacuate the students from the village, the group had to cross the river on foot. After attaching a cable to each side of the river that students could harness onto, Yasser Lanuza volunteered to test the cable and make sure it was safe for the students to use to cross the river.

“He took the initiative to cross the river and to test it,” says Danilo Llanes, buildOn’s Country Director in Nicaragua. “He was like, ‘I will test it first. I will go first to make sure it is safe for the students.’”

After successfully crossing the river, Yasser continued to cross the river to shepherd each and every student across on the cable. “He crossed every person to the other side of the river, and he never gave up,” says Rafael Gonzales, a Field Coordinator in Nicaragua for buildOn.

“I think about facing your fears and overcoming your fears. When I hear the world selflessness, I think about putting yourself last on behalf of others,” says Sergio Matus, a Field Coordinator in Nicaragua, describing Yasser’s actions. “Not being reckless but going the extra mile to help someone who needs it.”

“I want to say thank you so much for your work, for what you do for this great movement,” Danilo says. “And I will say this from the bottom of my heart—the world would be a better world if we had more people like you.”

Learn more about buildOn in Nicaragua.