Daniel Jimenez works in digital consulting during the day, but he’s also started a foundation along with three business partners that’s taking young Cuban-Americans back to Cuba to visit their homeland. The first trip took place this past summer and they have two more planned this year.
Daniel’s Big Goal is to “bring every Cuban-American who would like to reconnect with their heritage to visit Cuba to experience it.”
Where Daniel got the idea for the CubaOne Foundation - Birthright, an organization that takes young Jewish-Americans to Israel.
1,300 young people have applied to go on a CubaOne trip in just 3 months and Daniel and his partners have taken one group of people in June.
Each trip costs about $2,500 so Daniel and his team are working on partnerships and taking donations.
What goes on in the trip, experiencing the culture and also connecting with local peers who are doing things like building apps, and also meeting family members like grandparents and aunts they’ve never met before.
Many of the trip participants reported the week was the best of their life, including Daniel who said “I think it was the best week of my life”.
How they pick the trip participants — 10 people on first trip and with 1,300 participants it means they “can be more selective than Harvard”. They want to select people who have a solid understanding of what Cuba is today and a desire to gain insight from the trip and make an impact when they come back. Including artists like the Hip Hop Hallmark.
Daniel’s big goal is to be able to bring all young Cuban-Americans who want to go, back to Cuba.
How he’s fitting CubaOne into his regular life— it’s his passion so it “doesn’t feel like it’s taking up time, it’s freeing time up”.
He and his partners have modeled the Foundation team after a Startup team — there are 4 people who each have specialty areas they lead.
Trips coming up in late October 2016 for the Havana Ballet Festival — participants will include dancers and artists, and then another trip over the New Year focused more on US-Cuban relations.
MORE FROM PARTICIPANTS:
Amanda Rabines' audio story from Miami's WLRN radio: First Time In Cuba: A Personal Essay From A Second-Generation Cuban
Lissette Calveiros' essay for USA Today on meeting her grandmother for the first time: Voices: In Cuba, A life-changing reunion