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Featured Article

Carla’s Story: Elevating Expectations from Detroit to Haiti

  • March 2, 2017
  • Listed in News, Stories
  • By Brett Slezak

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As a high school freshman in Detroit, Carla Underwood was struggling — she had to travel nearly two hours to get to school, was failing her classes and didn’t think she could do anything to help her city. But everything changed for Carla when she discovered the power of service. By helping others, Carla realized she could transform her city, change the world and better herself.

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Ron’s host family

I have been fortunate to have already formed a deep bond with the American students here in Nicaragua. I have especially connected with one of our students, Ron, who has opened up about his struggles back in Detroit. He lives in a trailer park with his mother, sister and step father. Both parents are unemployed […]

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Student first impressions

  • February 25, 2010
  • Listed in Stories
  • By buildOn

After working in remote villages on four continents for nearly twenty years, I am still surprised, invigorated and inspired by each experience. There is nothing I enjoy more than taking it all in through the lenses of urban youth from the United States. I decided to post some of the students’ early impressions so you […]

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A pig, a rooster and a trillion stars

One of the many joys of field work is sleeping under the stars at night. And the stars from La Soledad are as clear and bright as I’ve ever seen them. The village is nestled high in the mountains and in a tropical rain forest so there is no dust, pollution or ambient light to […]

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First impressions

Below is a brief photo journal of our first few days in La Soledad. Scroll through to see what we saw as we immersed in the culture and synced up with the rhythm of the community. [svgallery name=”FirstImpressions”]

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buildOn breaks ground

Before we mix concrete or begin laying the first the bricks for the new school, we need to put in the foundation. With no heavy machinery, trucks or bulldozers, we rely only on pick axes, shovels and strong backs to dig the foundation. Watch as the Detroit youth learn to use these tools and cross […]

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Is this a school?

Why have we come so far to work so hard? Education is the first step out of extreme poverty. It empowers communities to improve agricultural productivity, reduce child and infant mortality, improve health and sanitation and participate in an economy through micro-enterprise. Take a look at where the children of La Soledad are currently going […]

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Covenant for the future

After a couple hours of music and dancing, the celebration settled down and took a much more serious tone. The village leaders outlined and discussed a covenant that all from the community and each member of our team would sign. This is the single most important moment in the project. It outlines our commitment to […]

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La Soledad embraces buildOn

After traveling over 2200 miles, our team of students from Detroit arrive at the end of the road… literally. The winding dirt road that we followed up into the mountains of Nicaragua diminished and finally disappeared. The road ended in the village of La Soledad where we would build our 350th buildOn school. But first […]

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Education unites

After eighteen hours of travel, we finally arrived in the Nicaraguan town of Estelí. It was 1:00 this morning. It’s only another few hours to La Soledad but we spent the day here to learn some important lessons about the history of the region. I sat on the floor with our team from Detroit and […]

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Detroit to Nicaragua: car jacked at gunpoint?

I’ve just landed in Detroit en route to Nicaragua and the tiny mountain village of La Soledad—way up near the border of Honduras. The community was founded fifty years ago by a small group of families seeking refuge from war. There are now more than 450 people living in this jungle village, and one hundred […]

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