Meet the team

“Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.” –Helen Keller

Our founders and volunteers have spent the last decade providing resources and services to hundreds. We hope to honor our efforts in the coming years to transform poverty into eco-living. Join us on this exciting journey.

Co-Founder

Sonjja Baram

Sonjja Baram believes that the mind is a powerful instrument that holds the key to success; in deep resonance with the famous words of Thomas Jefferson: “Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude”. Sonjja Baram grew up in the South of Brazil. She started a career in modeling when she was 14 years old, then she studied art and fashion design in the prestigious Esmod Paris. She moved to New York City and was content with the fashion world until she discovered the brutal side of fashion. The second most polluting industry in the world. Looking for an alternative she went into a journey looking for answers about how to retrieve the damage that fashion and many other industries have done to planet earth. She embarked on a journey on visiting sustainable communities and a new world opens up before her eyes. This wilderness experience transformed Sonjja so deeply that she abandoned for good her career in fashion. She restructures Seeds of the Future (SotF) into turning garbage and ugliness on very poor areas into a little paradise on earth. She believes that if we unite the technocratic world and the achievements of the divine creations, NATURE. We can achieve abundance and peace. She never looked back. She rediscovers her routes, reconnecting to the essence of natural living. She firmly believes that mother earth is rich and gives us all we need. We just got disconnected. With the help of her friends, they put together the project SotF-turning poverty into eco-living with the firm determination to transform poverty into paradise. She has addressed legendary colleges and universities, such as Columbia about poverty, on the value of the work done by this important group, enriching growing young minds, one at a time. As she performs this humanitarian work, Sonjja is bringing increased awareness of the extreme human and environmental impact in the modern world. Sonja holds a degree in holistic nutrition, including, human behavior (neuro-association,
remote viewing, neuro-linguistic, and brain chemistry,); She is a filmmaker and author of the book series “Enlightened”.

Co-Founder

Zaida Garcia

Zaida Garcia is a construction professional with three decades of experience in this highly demanding field.  Ms. Garcia lives in Miami, Florida, where she fulfills her core personal philosophy of utilizing her talents to support people in their time of greatest need.  As an administrator and organizer, Ms. Garcia manages site inspectors, contractors, construction workers, and other related professionals in both emergency and non-emergency situations and working environments.  Bringing a wide range of skills to bear, including drone pilotage, real estate investments, management, and training, Ms. Garcia has performed project management for the Department of Transportation in Florida, Texas, and North Carolina.  She has worked in other government entities, as well as working in the private sector.

This leads to community service, which plays a major role in Ms. Garcia’s life, as her ongoing work with Seeds Of The Future, a nonprofit organization.  As a Co-Founder and Program Director for this charitable organization, Ms. Garcia recruited volunteers to participate in the group’s international efforts to assist the poor, developing sustenance and emergency management for communities abroad.  She also formulates and teaches vital training sessions for Seeds Of The Future staff, and organizes their transport, lodging, equipment, and supplies.  Seeds Of The Future focuses on the next generation, and Ms. Garcia helps to shape their lives in a positive way, through her oversight of the new Self-Sustaining Living project and all aspects of its associated construction work.  Ms. Garcia hopes to one day realize her dream of building a vibrant, self-sustaining village that is safe, supportive, and nurturing, where “the land and its inhabitants work together to co-exist”. 

With this wealth of professional knowledge, Ms. Garcia has improved the lives of countless individuals, building on her past successes to move people and organizations forward.  Whether she is doing local work in managing projects for organizations in their recovery efforts, or helping needy children half a world away to grow and thrive in a community, Ms. Garcia’s devotion to her craft remains true and deep.  

Vice – President 

Gigi Honorato

Guillermina Honorato is an environmental justice specialist and compassionate community advocate.
She has an extensive background in environmental health and safety, with a focus on hazardous materials and hazardous waste. This experience has inspired Guillermina to strive for a world in which our planet’s children, elders, and animals will unite to share mutual love, companionship, care, and healing. Following her mindset of “living life to the fullest in the most positive way”, Guillermina works
to improve and uplift the lives of those she encounters in the community at large.
Guillermina is guided by the maxims of great individuals, whose quotes encourage her to move forward.
The eminent physicist Albert Einstein calls on us to “strive not to be a success, but to be of value,” and
Max Lucado, who teaches us that “[You] weren’t an accident. You weren’t mass-produced. You aren’t an assembly-line product. You were deliberately planned, specifically gifted, and lovingly positioned on
the Earth by the Master Craftsman.”
Taking these sage words to the heart has allowed Guillermina to achieve her dreams, creating a world defined by loving-kindness and deep understanding of our rich, beautiful ecosphere. In Guillermina’s grand vision, she sees animals giving and receiving love from children and elders alike; even as the children receive and learn wisdom, knowledge, and skills from their elders. Alongside them, the animals will teach the children responsibility. Concurrent with this, the elders will benefit by discovering the
the satisfaction of a fulfilled, purposeful life, knowing that love, care, and compassion are returned to them
by the children and the animals.
With this abiding dream of human enrichment and enlightenment, Guillermina continues her passionate
work, helping to make our world a brighter, more beautiful habitat every day.

Vice-President

Goran Marvic

Goran Marvic was born in Serbia, after graduating from culinary arts, Goran moved to the United States. He lived in California for six years and eventually moved to New York City to pursue his passion for Film. He ends up in Cannes to receive an award for the best art film for the movie “Hannah Can you hear me?’ Which he was the director of photography. Today he is a member of Local 600 in the camera department and working on the documentary about transforming poverty into eco-living. Goran’s ultimate dream is to help people who faced traumas and challenges in life with helping them realize their highest potential by breaking down the old barriers and building new ones. He believes that all starts with integrating
back to nature and accepting what’s already there given to us naturally by the earth.

Executive Director

Marjorie Chawla

Marjorie Chawla is a young aspiring professional pursuing a degree in Occupational Therapy. She graduated from University at Albany, SUNY with a bachelor’s in Psychology. She has been working with different types of children, with varying developmental abilities and backgrounds and is inspired daily by what they can learn from each other. Currently, she works with children with special needs and is taking steps to further her career, and continues to help the community around her.

Youth Leader

Audrie Baram

Audrie Baram is looking to major in journalism in college, currently majoring in graphic design and forensic in high school. She has been part of Seeds of the Future from an early age, starting at age seven pledging to plant one million trees. 10 years later, Audrie is still pursuing her goal, planting trees in Israel, Brazil, and The U.S. Audrie currently lives in New York. Still, with college around the corner – she is interested in leaving the state and taking her dream elsewhere. Since a young age, she has had a love for animals, so her dream for the future is to rescue animals and take them out of shelters while aiding them to find a safe home. After losing her bird Penelope, she is determined to find a loving home for animals. While continuing to plant trees around the world, reaching her goal of one million, helping animals will be the next step in her journey.

Content & Community Manager

Paola Beltran

“Coming to New York City from the Caribbean where food was fresh and chemical-free for everyone, it was terrible to see and experience all the health and environmental issues of unhealthy eating of the New York communities, all the food waste and having to walk or travel long distances to expensive privileged neighborhoods to get better food, so I used my digital marketing skills and created Eight Vegan to give a convenient way to send locally fresh ingredients with delicious healthy recipes right to people’s doors to save time and to have a healthier lifestyle while at the same time still help other organizations with the same vision as SOTF” Paola B

Social Media Marketing Coordinator 

Lexi London

Lexi is a graduate of Eckerd College class of 2017 with a double major in International Studies, Spanish, and a minor in Visual Arts. The year after graduating Lexi served as an AmeriCorps VISTA intern in the Office of Service-Learning at Eckerd College. During her year as a VISTA, Lexi focused on bringing mindfulness into education, recruiting volunteers to work with local non-profits, and addressing local environmental issues impacting low-income neighborhoods in St. Petersburg, Florida. She led service trips and worked in community gardens, taught mindful movement to at-risk kids, as well as led meditations for students of Eckerd on campus. Lexi is passionate about merging mindfulness and nature into education and is pursuing a master’s in Education Psychology to help reform public school education to incorporate a connection to Earth and each other. 

Office Manager

Yasmin Cardoso Portinho

Yasmin Cardoso Portinho, born in Brazil, raised in Switzerland.

Business Office Supervisor

“Sometimes we need to make the impossible, to have the possibility.

This phrase’s what makes sense out of my life. Many people told me that my dreams were impossible to become true, but I always had in mind why not? With hard work, I did what people told me was impossible.

With that in mind, Possibilities is what I bring to Seeds of the Future. 0With the actual environmental, political discussions, it seems impossible to make the global warming situation to change. I believe that with hard work, we can make it happen.

Born in Brazil, Rio de Janeiro, I came to Switzerland with my mom when I was eleven years old. With this, I had the opportunity to learn German, French, and English.

Switzerland is where I could develop my skills as a professional. Since I started my professional life, I always felt the need to do something that matters for others, and I’m eager to put my acquired experience and knowledge about the corporate world to support Seeds of the Future to protect the environment and transform poverty into a faraway dream of the past.

Through SotF, I learned how to reconnect with nature on a profound level, and every day is a learning school for me. The contribution is what I do to give back.

Furthermore, the change of continent made me realize how the realities and cultures can be different and how unequal the world is divided. This opened my interest in politics and laws. This experience is what made me decide to study law. I believe that an essential part of the fight for the environment is to make effective laws that ensure a better world for the future, and the first step to it is to learn the actual system and understand the importance of equality to all.

Treasury Secretary

David Lipton
CPA for over 30 years. David started his professional career with a major bank in New York City. He was the assistant controller in the international division. After five years he worked with a major accounting company, where he was in charge of the transportation industry. After a decade he left and started his own CPA firm working for private corporations and nonprofit entities. His knowledge includes management, consulting, audits and taxes.

From our youth leader Audrie Baram since 2008