Here’s a really cool example of finding something within you and offering it to the world:
This student came to us really thirsty to find meaning and purpose but was really struggling to find it. He describes the process of finding something within him that he could offer the world around him in the following way:
This student also washed cars to raise funds for the materials he used, and managed to fund them almost entirely on his own, which I believe added a sense of ownership and empowerment to the experience.
"I personally found this project profoundly meaningful and moving, but I also happen to know that it was tremendously touching to the families." He and I visited some of the families after the project. One of them in particular, the mother with the son in the wheelchair in the picture. She was so grateful, moved to tears to see our student, asking repeatedly when she’d see him again. You know, I think she was thankful for the ramp he built, but I got the sense that she was more grateful that he had shown care for her and her son, she was grateful that he had played Legos with her son and valued him as a person.
I don’t think this young man is going to go on to work in construction or washing cars; that’s not necessarily what he found within him. I think he found that taking initiative to help the world around him motivates him and gives him energy. I imagine that will become a central part of his identity.
by Dr. Danny Recio
Young adulthood is a crucial time to shape one’s identity. We know that. And we know that when young adults feel lost and strangers to themselves is bad news. There’s a lot that can be said about how young adults develop their identity, but for us here at The Bridge one avenue is fundamental: you find something within you, a gift, a talent, a skill, and you figure out a way to have that fulfill a need in the world around you.
Why is something so simple so powerful at the same time? Because...
When asked about their experience in developing these projects in Costa Rica, this is what our students had to say:
Doing community service is very rewarding; you can actually see the difference in what you do, especially with the one at the preschool. People walk by it everyday, people see that kids can now play. It's a great way to interact with the locals, with a wide variety of people. It takes me to different places in Costa Rica that I wouldn't go to as well as gives me connections and friendships.
The people who receive the help are gracious for the help in ways that I have not seen before, they provide direction but they don’t feel the need to oversee; there is an inherent trust in the people. They all treat us as friends. I’ve gotten out of it a renewed desire to learn the language and a respect for the costa rican culture that runs deeper than I expected.
Our students engage in meaningful community service projects all over Costa Rica with local Ticos. This allows them to connect with different populations in need and learn to value their own contributions as well as the relationships that one can develop with any human being.
Bridge students will do at least 50 hours of community service, and easily reach 150 before they graduate.
A couple of students recently shared a morning with the center for special needs in our town, where they made breakfast, danced and taught them some English. The gratitude and bond was visible and reciprocal.