Today we’d like to introduce you to Sydney Guzman.
Hi Sydney, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
Before I had my daughter, I was a fourth-grade teacher at an elementary school in Nashville. The school had an extremely diverse population and a program called S.I.F.E (students with interrupted formal education) that had a large refugee population. In my class of 27, I had students from over 15 countries! So, we got to know each other. On Thursdays during lunch, I would meet with one or two students and together, we’d make a little slideshow about their home country. The next day, our whole class would have lunch together and the students could present to us all. Their parents would sometimes cook amazing little bites of food to share amongst us. It was such a special tradition we shared. When we ran out of countries represented in our classroom population, we just started picking any country we were interested in.
Soon my refugee students in a Title I school became well versed in the customs and cultures of countries around the world! When I had my daughter, I took a break from teaching but I missed so much that feeling of love and appreciation our little Friday lunches would create. So I decided to box that experience up in our kits! Each kit comes with a book, snacks, recipes, coloring pages, video lessons, curated playlists and more. You get to experience a country without leaving your living room. It’s so satisfying to put them together and send them through the mail, knowing that families around the country will be so excited to see them on their doorsteps! What I love most about our kits is that for almost all of them (with one exception) we partner with people who are either from or share a strong connection to that country. To me, it means I’m still recreating that experience from my classroom. People showing us what they love most about where they’re from. That is something to celebrate.
We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
Though I really enjoy my work, it has been a bumpy road! True to form, I got this idea and kind of jumped in headfirst without thinking of logistics! In fact, when we first started I didn’t even have a website! I was just selling people things on Facebook. Now, I’ve learned to look before I leap a little and I’ve been able to work on my other struggle: balancing work life with mom life. Certainly starting a small business in the middle of a worldwide pandemic had its difficulties. In addition to our kits, we love hosting in-person events as well! I’m sure you can imagine why that would be difficult these days. Thankfully things are opening up and families are more comfortable. We’ve got a kid’s Italian cooking event coming that we’re really excited about!
Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
Our business Raising Humanitos, educates elementary-aged children about different countries through literature, crafts, music, food and art. Both my husband and I are educators and have over 20 years of experience between us! While there are a few similar businesses out there, we definitely stand apart in more than a few ways. We are the only company whose kits include a book, snacks, crafts, and a video lesson. We’re also the only company that rolls out a new country each month. Finally, and in my opinion most importantly, we’re the only kit that works with people who are either from or share a strong connection to each country to make our kits. I really wanted to avoid just sitting at my computer and Googling ‘what is ______ known for?’ I wanted to go to the source and let the people who are from these countries tell us about them. We’ve had no problem finding people for different countries. Strangers write to us on Instagram/Facebook all the time who are clearly so proud of where they are from and want to tell the world about it. We want our products to be just the beginning of a journey for your family- we’re not out to be tour guides, but rather to make the introduction and find ways for other cultures to find a home in your home.
Do you have any advice for those looking to network or find a mentor?
You know it is so cliche but I would say relationships are everything. If you have a small business, go meet other small business owners and support them! Relationships are so important and I am always surprised by where my business opportunities come from at times.
- $30 for a kit for 1 Learner
- $35 for a kit for 2 Learners
- $40 for a kit for 3 Learners
- $45 for a kit for 4 Learners
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: https://www.raisinghumanitos.com/
- Instagram: https://www.facebook.com/Raisinghumanitos
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Raisinghumanitos