Gather friends and family,
fundraise, and go to
a developing country to
build a school.
1164 Students Engaged
264,278 Service Hours
497 Students Engaged
202,447 Service Hours
773 Students Engaged
246,850 Service Hours
811 Students Engaged
222,767 Service Hours
1544 Students Engaged
355,661 Service Hours
488 Students Engaged
146,972 Service Hours
150 Students Engaged
1,570 Service Hours
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“I see these people around me always complaining about how nobody helps them. But I thought, that’s how life goes, at the end of the day the only person who can make your life better, is you. But what buildOn taught me is that you don’t have to do it alone.”
We believe education is the first step out of extreme poverty in the developing world. We also believe it is the first step toward action here at home.
If students are to strive for change, they must first understand the issues facing their local and global communities. Our goal is for students to fully realize the impact of their contributions, not to act simply on the instructions of others. buildOn‘s themed curriculum explores critical global issues and explains to students how they relate to our own lives here in the U.S.
buildOn‘s curriculum explores relevant local and global issues and shows students how they can take action. Local Education focuses on challenges that face their immediate communities, informing students of issues like youth violence, hunger, and poverty. Global Education topics focus on buildOn project countries – Nicaragua, Haiti, Malawi, Mali, Senegal, Nepal, and Burkina Faso – and aim to help students understand the impact of education on breaking the cycle of extreme poverty.
Service is the core of buildOn’s mission. and is the vehicle for youth development and empowerment. Through service, students address problems in their communities while developing personal leadership and teamwork skills. By making a positive difference in the lives of others, they learn more about themselves and the power they have to transform their schools, their communities, and our world. Through service, students elevate expectations for themselves and their communities. The following activities are examples of buildOn service:
Whether serving meals in soup kitchens, tutoring elementary school students, or visiting senior citizens, buildOn service projects connect students directly to those most in need in their communities. With face-to-face encounters, youth develop empathy and compassion. They create bonds that affect their own lives just as profoundly as the lives of those they serve. 65% of all buildOn service activities are dedicated to direct, people-to-people service.
Sometimes the most noticeable and uplifting difference you can make in a community is to beautify it. By planting urban gardens, cleaning up graffiti, or creating public art, students show their neighbors that they care. Indirect service allows students to make a difference in small ways that can have a big impact on the community at large. 35% of all buildOn service activities are dedicated to Indirect Service.
After learning about issues that plague their local and global communities, buildOn students actively create and implement campaigns to address them. They educate their peers on health issues, they plan walks to promote gender equality in the developing world, and they advocate new strategies to combat the truancy crisis in their schools. In the process, they learn the value of their own voice.
Select buildOn students are chosen to participate in an intensive global service learning experience, where they travel to some of the economically poorest countries on the planet to help build schools. When buildOn students travel to these communities and witness firsthand the incredible enthusiasm for education from children who lack all access to it, they gain a renewed appreciation for their own educational opportunities.
For up to ten days, they live and work with host families in rural villages, forging meaningful relationships. They help dig foundations, make bricks, and mix concrete in collaboration with the parents whose children will benefit from the school.
When not on the worksite, students participate in activities that expose them to a whole new culture. Our students learn that while economically impoverished, these communities are rich in spirit and generosity. They return with a deeper dedication to education and a sense of expanded possibility for their lives. Once students have returned to the U.S. they share their experience with their peers and community at large.