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Our Story

The Starfish International Board of Directors

Starfish International is a board created with a passion for education. Our board is passionate about working with communities to design and build schools. Our board has a majority of passionate educators with expertise in creating a specialized curriculum and supporting the educators of the school. 

Our first mission was Inspiration Academy. Inspiration Academy is a school in Mathare, Kenya that Starfish International helped fund. 


Our Story: Inspiration Academy

July 2019

Trip to Mathare

Jasmine Cook, the founder of Starfish International, traveled to Kenya with a nonprofit named She Has A Name. Jasmine spent a couple of weeks in the slum of Mathare and noticed that the lack of education is the root of many other problems. 

November 2019

Starfish International

Once Jasmine returned to Grand Junction, she brought Darren Cook and Mark Schmalz together. They agreed on the mission statement, and the nonprofit was created in November 2019. 

March 2020

Purchased First Lot of Land

The first board of Starfish International started to fundraise through emails, close friends, and letters with plans of hosting an official fundraiser in the summer of 2020.  

March 2023

Purchased Second Lot of Land

COVID-19 started affecting Grand Junction, CO, before the summer of 2020. Starfish International took an intermission while the community recovered. In November of 2022, Starfish International started fundraising for the second plot of land. 

June 2023

Starfish Board Travels to Kenya

After purchasing the last plot of land, Jasmine Cook, Terry Schmalz, Mark Schmalz, and Darren Cook travel to Kenya. 

July 2023

Starting the Construction of Inspiration Academy

At the end of June 2023, Starfish International hosted a fundraiser at Trail Life Brewing. This fundraiser raised enough money for construction to start Inspiration Academy. 

August 2023

Matching Donation of $200,0000

In August of 2023, Inspiration Centre, the nonprofit Starfish International working within Mathare, accepted a matching donation of up to 200,0000 dollars. Starfish International held another fundraiser that completed the first floor.

October 2023

Members from Kenya Come To Grand Junction

Inspiration Centre came to Grand Junction, CO, from Kenya for a board meeting. 

November 2023

Final Donation

Starfish International received the final donation and the matching donation that will complete the school! 

December 2023

Next Project

Starfish International held a board meeting and decided to change its mission statement. The new mission statement focuses on their passion for partnering with communities to bring accessible, achievable, and attainable education. Starfish International started meeting with communities to find their next mission. Along the way, they maintained their dedication to random acts of kindness. 

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