OSSINING, N.Y. -- Four Westchester County high schools will be sending 80 students to Nicaragua with Bridges to Community on Friday, March 19, to build six homes, two latrines, and one smokeless stove for families in need.
Bridges to Community is an international not-for-profit organization whose mission is to improve the lives of impoverished communities in developing countries through volunteer service trips, and to simultaneously educate the students to be more aware of the world around them and those in need.
The students from Fox Lane, John Jay, Bronxville, and EF Academy will spend their spring break working on projects for families in need. This is nothing new: all four schools have been sending volunteers with Bridges to Community for over six years— and some, like Bronxville and John Jay, having been taking part for more than 10 years.
Jim Agnello, a guidance counselor at Bronxville High School who has led trips—sometimes twice a year -- explained the benefits he has seen for his students: “In addition to community building and working alongside the people of Nicaragua, the experience has catapulted our students into a whole new way of looking at the world and the issues that are facing our society today.”
Agnello noted the greatest evidence of the trip’s impact on students is in how many return each year, sometimes all four years of high school, and even into college.
“It’s great to see youth from Westchester giving up their winter and spring breaks to help those in need in Nicaragua. From the southwest all the way to the northeast corner, youth throughout the county care, and 80 of them will be going down this weekend, joining over 800 volunteers that travel with us to Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic throughout the year to make a difference,” stated Bridges to Community Executive Director John Hannan.
Bridges to Community plans to build more than 80 homes for families in need, hold medical clinics, and provide latrines and smokeless stoves throughout Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic with the help of this year’s adult, college, and high school volunteers.