History and Founder

History of SALTworld

2012-upendo2SALT (Serving and Learning Together) world was founded by Dr. Brandé Flamez.

She is a licensed professional counselor and clinical professor in the Counseling and Special Populations department at Lamar University. Dr. Flamez is active in the counseling profession. She has served on the American Counseling Association (ACA) Governing Council for the International Association of Marriage and Family Counselors, ACA Finance Committee, ACA Investment Committee, and chaired the ACA Publications Committee. She is also the Past President for the Association for Humanistic Counselors (AHC). Currently, she is the President for the International Association of Marriage and Family Counselors, co-chair of the Bylaws/Ethics Committee for AHC, and is a mentor for the AHC Emerging Leader Program. She is the recipient of numerous national awards including the 2015 Outstanding CORE Research Award, 2015 Counselor Educator Advocacy Award, 2014 ACA Kitty Cole Human Rights Award, 2012 ACA Gilbert and Kathleen Wrenn Award for a Caring and Humanitarian Person, and the 2012 IAMFC Distinguished Mentor Award. This year Dr. Flamez was the recipient of the 2017 ACA Dr. Judy Lewis Counselor’s for Social Justice Award. She is donating 100 percent of the honorarium to St. Francis in Tanzania. 

Dr. Flamez is a second generation American, and her great-grandparents emigrated from the Ukraine to Canada. When her great-grandfather (Mykhailo) arrived he knew no English and had only a couple coins. He worked hard as a tailor. Growing up, she remembers her mother sharing stories of how he served the poor. He would house immigrants coming over and her great-grandmother (Rose) would cook for all the families. He spent time teaching them English and helping people find jobs. Brandé’s mother, Rosemary, also sparked her interest in service, social justice and advocacy as a child. They delivered meals to AIDS patients and worked in soup kitchens when she was very young. The thing that stood out for her by watching her mother do this was that she always did everything with love and respect. She took the time to show Brandé what it meant to be compassionate, to take time to listen to someone’s story.

stfran1Many of Brandé’s family traditions are still rich in Ukrainian culture. At gatherings, hosts often give their guests a loaf of bread with salt on top. The ritual of offering bread and salt to guests is a ceremony of welcoming, which dates back many centuries. As such, “The Bread and Salt” tradition is very symbolic in Slavic culture and can symbolize many things. During wedding ceremonies in Ukraine, it is customary to serve traditional bread called Korovai and salt instead of a wedding cake. Salt is symbolic for the “necessity of life.”

Over the last twenty years, Brandé has been involved in social change projects in Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mexico, Tanzania, and Turkey. One of the most important lessons she has learned is that immersion in a culture through community service not only provides exposure to the concerns of the individuals, but also allows one to gain insight into the accomplishments, contributions and uniqueness of different cultures. One of her favorite professors once shared that those who visit other cultures will likely learn more from visiting than those with whom they visited will learn.

As Brandé thought about what to call the nonprofit, she wanted to incorporate something that stood for the “necessity of life,” but also emphasized the importance of learning together as one is invited into another’s culture. Thus, SALTworld (Serving and Learning Together) was formed on September 11, 2014.

As founder and CEO of SALTworld, Brandé’s hope is that, as the organization grows, we can take on more social change projects throughout the world and we can learn together to make a sustainable and global impact.

This year our organization is helping to build two medical dispensaries and an additional dining hall for a school, which serves children with disabilities. We are also raising funds to provide medication support to a hospital, formula for an orphanage, school supplies to several schools. In addition, we are collecting brand new clothes, medications, and closed shoes for the children.

Please join us in supporting several social change projects in Haiti, Israel, Tanzania, and Turkey this year. You can find out more information on each project by clicking on the country.