Business alumnus featured in O: The Oprah Magazine for building Guatemalan schools


Business alumnus featured in O: The Oprah Magazine for building Guatemalan schools

Durango, CO – In 2010, Fort Lewis College alumnus Josh Talmon shut down his San Diego real estate business to find a more fulfilling endeavor.

“I had all these investment properties and a nice car and a five-year plan, but I was left unfulfilled,” Talmon admits of his real estate career in Phoenix and San Diego. “I kept thinking, ‘is this what my life is going to be about? Making money, doing deals?’ I had no passion for that.”

What Talmon was passionate about, however, was the work of his two friends, Zach Balle and Heenal Rajani, who had formed the nonprofit Hug It Forward in the fall of 2009. Hug It Forward builds “bottle schools” in Guatemala, empowering rural communities’ men, women and children. Using eco-brick technology-plastic bottles stuffed with inorganic trash-the organization cleans up the environment and uses non-biodegradable waste to build a school in which local children can learn.

After joining Hug It Forward on its second school, Talmon decided he wanted to help the organization full time (he’s now the secretary/treasurer). To date, the nonprofit has completed 20 schools throughout Guatemala and one in El Salvador-and has several currently under construction.

These days, Hug It Forward is receiving international recognition for their good work and big hearts. The organization was featured in the September 2012 issue of O: The Oprah Magazine (in an article titled “Bottled Up”). The attention is flattering, but Talmon is quick to point out that the Hug It Forward team remains focused on achieving their vision: to enable every child to get an education and have a positive impact on the waste problem in developing countries. “We’re about creating a community of people doing good,” he says. “It’s about sharing each other’s skills and resources to push something forward.”


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