buildOn Bronx student Josephine

Students on Trek: Meet Josephine from the Bronx

This summer, we’re fundraising to send six buildOn U.S. students on a life-changing Trek to build a school in one of our partner countries. Keep reading to learn more about Josephine’s story and how Trek would impact her life.

Last year Josephine left her home in Ghana to move to the United States for her dad’s work. And just last month she finished her freshman year at Validus Preparatory Academy in the Bronx.

Reflecting on her transition to a new country and new school so far, Josephine says, “It’s been pretty challenging. There is so much going on here.” She also misses Ghana a great deal. “The culture, our language, everything.”

This of course was also her first time in high school, so she was motivated to join a club and meet new people. When she saw a buildOn flier on campus, she decided to check it out and has loved the experience so far. 

One of Josephine’s first buildOn service projects was writing letters to seniors in her community, which she really enjoyed. And she’s been particularly impacted by her work distributing food to her hungry neighbors at a local food pantry. “It felt so amazing! I felt independent and caring,” she recalls. “I was so happy and enjoyed talking to them about their day and how they’re doing, because they’re going through a lot.” She also says that being a part of buildOn has helped her make friends and meet people she may not have gotten to know otherwise.

Josephine at service writing letters to seniors in her community.

Now Josephine has her eyes set on her Trek to Nicaragua in August. “I like experiencing new things so when the opportunity came, I wanted to join,” she says. During her pre-Treks (informational sessions that prepare participants for Trek) Josephine has learned more about Nicaraguan culture, food, and the work she’ll be doing on the construction site. “I can’t wait to experience it!” she says. 

In addition to Trek, Josephine’s dad is really supportive of her work with buildOn. “He was so proud of me,” she says. “And it’s only been a year but I already have a buildOn award––Rookie of the Year!” In the fall, she’s not only looking forward to continuing to serve her new Bronx community, she wants to recruit her older brother, saying, “He’s shy, but I’m planning to get him in.” 

“I like experiencing new things so when the opportunity came, I wanted to join.”


Help Josephine build a school in Nicaragua this summer by making a gift today.