Volunteer, Derry Presbyterian
The thing I like the best about Bridges to Community volunteer trips is stepping out of my comfort zone to meet people and help them where I can. And as much as you give to community members in terms of work and labor building a house, you receive even more in return through the experience, and truly see how the world is outside of your bubble. Community members help you realize how little material things some people matter, and how much joy they celebrate in their lives. Bridges doesn't just hand out houses and build them, the community is fully involved, works on the project, and pays for a portion of it.
If you want to truly altruistic experience giving back to a fellow human and receiving even more in return, something that you never even knew you needed, you should come on a Bridges trip. It is such a joy to work with folks that may be different from you, but throughout the week you discover so much common ground.
Volunteer, Morgan Stanley
There's a lot to like about a Bridges trip. I like the complete departure from my everyday life where I get to participate in construction, practice my Spanish, and interact with the community, it's such a valuable experience. I also feel like this is the opportunity for me to reflect on the fortunate life I have been born into and use that opportunity for good, and to help others in the world.
By the end of the week, a family or 2 will receive a home, but getting to interact with the whole community, exchange ideas and moments with them, and witness them grow because of their interactions with North American volunteers is very memorable. I hope we are able to inspire communities to continue look for a brighter future and to better themselves.
Volunteer, Derry Presbyterian
I think a Bridges to Community trip is a wonderful opportunity that we have to help others. I think in this life service is what we're called to do, to think beyond ourselves to what others need, and to consider how can we make this world a more just place. There's not that many opportunities to make this big of a difference.
I hope that communities see that we're the same as them and we understand that they're the same as us. I continue to come on volunteer trips because I think it's our responsibility to work for justice in this world. Being able to participate in and witness how much communities appreciate the opportunities we are able to help bring is priceless.
Volunteer, College of William and Mary
I can truly say that the decision to join a Bridges to Community trip was the best thing I have ever done in my life. It was love at first sight. I was amazed by the culture, by the people, by the abundance of natural beauty. I couldn’t believe how quickly that cot in a classroom became my home, my haven, and the people working beside me (both from my group and those in the community) became my family.
I can truly say that I have grown and changed as a person, my life has gone in an entirely different direction, and I am for the very first time, incredibly excited for the prospects that my future holds. I now have just one year left of school, and after that, I plan to continue doing all I can to help, but even more importantly, continue learning and growing.
Volunteer, Davidson College
My experience with Bridges to Community started in February of 2012. When the plane touched down in-country, my first word was (if I remember correctly) “wow.” That is a sentiment that transcended the entire trip. I was consistently surprised by the amazing culture of Nicaragua. The landscape is beautiful, the people are wonderful, and the food is delicious.
I can’t describe what it feels like to participate in building a house, and I can’t describe what it’s like to call someone a friend after ten minutes of working together. But, I can say that the work week forever changed me, and undoubtedly for the better. I quickly learned that the difficulty in verbal communication was not truly important. I also learned that there is a universal language of smiles, high-fives, and thumbs up. And that, to me, is all anyone could ever need.
Volunteer, Rye Country Day School
I was so incredibly impressed by the attitudes and reflections Bridges to Community trip brought out in my peers, both young and old, and by the unwavering dedication to self-improvement and community improvement of the community members.
I am now a student at Georgetown University, and I frequently find myself thinking about that first time I volunteered to work on a house in Ticuantepe, Nicaragua for a family led by an incredible woman named Fatima. On that trip I learned the difference between concrete and cement, I improved my Spanish skills, I laughed, I sweated, and most importantly, I learned about a very little part of Fatima’s life and her society.