CI Dream Makers

The CI Dream Makers

Six middle school students from Ecuador who have been longtime participants in Children International’s Guayaquil program traveled to the United States in May 2024 to participate in Destination Imagination, a creative skills competition that was hosted in Kansas City, Mo. — which is also the home city for our headquarters.

Our CI Dream Makers didn’t place at Global Finals among the 10,000 youth who participated and the 44 teams in their category. However, their weeklong experience of prepping for and participating in the competition, visiting our Children International offices and meeting staff, and touring parts of Kansas City served as life-changing wins.

For Children International, the opportunity to bring them to the U.S. and cheer them on to greater success, confidence and skill building exemplifies our mission. We support children, starting as young as age 2 through young adulthood, with the access to education, health care, life skills and eventually job skills they need to become employable, productive citizens.

“The creativity and resourcefulness of these kids was incredible,” says Children International President and CEO Susana Eshleman. “They are the epitome of what Children International is trying to accomplish around the world.”

The Dream Makers in action

Meet the Dream Makers

Anthony A.
age 12

Andrés C.
age 12

Melany C.
age 14

Jenny G.
age 12

Freddy P.
age 12

Ellen R.
age 12

Practice, determination and the support of staff and sponsorship helped arm these 12- to 14-year-olds with the skills, access and opportunity to win a national STEAM competition that prepared them to compete internationally.

This is the first time these youths boarded an airplane and traveled outside their vulnerable neighborhoods in Guayaquil“This is a dream come true for these kids,” declared Lissy Velez Intriago, director of Children International’s agency in Guayaquil.

Our President and CEO Susana Eshleman was thrilled to welcome them to the U.S. and the city that serves as home to Children International’s headquarters: “They have overcome great adversity, with great positivity, to win their national competition the past two years. Now they are prepared to represent their nation, schools, communities and their Children International family on the world’s stage. We at CI couldn’t be prouder.

Finding their voice

Puiyen Urrutia Camchong, the CI Guayaquil program leader who served as the Dream Makers’ team manager and chaperone, said they based their 8-minute presentation on the renowned piece of art “The Scream,” to reflect how their circumstances in Ecuador often leave them feeling voiceless. Children International is grateful that they returned home feeling seen, heard, celebrated, and reminded that their dreams are within reach.

They also had an opportunity to share their story with some local news outlets, including this KMBC ABC 9 news report and KC Hispanic News about the 2024 competition.

Their competitive edge

“I have learned to act [and] about computers; I have learned English and math. I like what I have learned and would like to learn more.”
– Freddy P.

“My team chose the artwork ‘The Scream’ by Edvard Munch, which is about an anguished person. Based on that, we created a play.”
– Melany C.
“From the first day my daughter got involved in the project, she [has been] super enthusiastic. She is giving 100% of herself.”
– Hellen, Ellen's mother


I’m very proud of myself and Children International, and I’m very grateful.”
– Jenny G.

Inspired by the CI Dream Makers’ journeys and the mission of Children International? Join us on LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook to meet more Children International sponsored youth, staff and supporters, and keep up with our efforts to multiply good.



Destination Imagination is a team-based creative projects competition that hosts challenges in the United States and in 24 other countries. It provides youth and young adults opportunities to collaborate and problem solve on projects that foster dynamic thinking and the tenets of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math). The organization is hosting its Global Finals in Kansas City, Missouri, in May 2024.

Learn more

As you join us in celebrating this student team from Ecuador, we invite you to learn more about the other ways we are supporting children, youth and their communities through sponsoring and customized programs that help break the cycle of generational poverty.

Learn more


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