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October 6, 2010

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October 6, 2010

Bridges to Understanding realizes its mission by enabling youth to craft and share their stories with each other and the world. By leveraging a centuries old medium, storytelling, with 21st century technology, Bridges to Understanding puts the power of the story in the hands of the storyteller and allows these stories to be shared over thousands of miles. At Bridges, youth whose voices are often marginalized, shift into a narrator role that inspires confidence, builds community, and highlights their core values.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

My own professional career has been profoundly influenced by Bridges. A weekend training gave me the skills to not only use storytelling in my own work, but also share the skill in leadership trainings in both Sudan and Namibia.

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How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

One time

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008

October 1, 2010

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October 1, 2010

Bridges to Understanding is tapping into an essential 21st century need, Global citizenship! In this techno/ internet era the world is shrinking and more and more we are having to interact as global citizens. Giving our kids the tools and skills to appreciate and understand other cultures and realize our common humanity is vital to our Country's economic future and National Security. Giving our U.S. kids an avenue to expand their understanding of the world and how we are much more alike than different as a people is invaluable. It goes without saying that the kids who are living in the reciprocating countries also receive these same benefits but would otherwise have little to no opportunity to gain those tech skills and learn about our country 1st hand.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Seeing the videos that kids (from all over the world) have made and realizing how powerful the act of story telling really is. Witnessing and expressing a "story" can and does transform lives; and therefore, the world.

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How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

October 1, 2010

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October 1, 2010

Bridge's school program bring so much to the students. First, they are challenged to be more thoughtful about society, culture, environment, etc.. The kids are planted with seeds to become more engaged citizens. Second, by seeing the stories from kids around the world and interact with them online (I didn't get to witness the online interaction part though), they are also more aware of people from other parts of the world: their culture, concern, or simply the awareness of existence to begin with. The kids are planted with seeds to become global citizens, and to be aware of how apparently domestic choices will influence people in the rest of the world and vice versa. Last but not least, they also learn teamwork; which is critical to their own success in lives as well.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

working with middle school kids in Seattle, who started off being apathetic about the class, and transformed to being totally involved by the end of the term in creating their own stories.

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How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

October 1, 2010

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October 1, 2010

Bridges to Understanding is one of the most effective and creative organizations doing global citizenship in the world. Their work with educators, students/learners and local activists is both powerful and long lasting.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

My daughter was an international intern with Bridges in South Africa where she worked with high school students in a township. While she learned and grew in this experience, the impact the work had on the learners she worked with was profound.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Help them raise more money so they could have more sites around the world. It would be great if they could train more teachers and provide technical support in more classrooms.

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What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

they are very thoughtful and creative in their approach to global citizenship.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

enthusiastic, educated, creative and dedicated

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

be able to serve many many more classrooms and after-school programs around the world. They would be able to do teacher trainings and touch the lives of so many more global citizens.

Ways to make it better...

this organization has broader support.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

financial. Honestly, they are not a flashy organization. Rather they are working hard in the trenches and spending their time doing their work, not promoting themselves.

One thing I'd also say is that...

this organization is like a diamond in the rough. With some bright light shone upon them and some additional support, they would be able to fully meet their goals and vision.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

October 1, 2010

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October 1, 2010

I worked as a mentor for students in Seattle and South Africa and have tremendous respect for the Bridges organization. What stands out for me is that Bridges makes sure that the mentors are very well prepared for their task so they know exactly how to work with the teachers and the students in the different sites. Working with the students, the other mentors and the Bridges staff proved to be incredibly enriching for me. There is a genuine care and integrity about the people involved in this organization. They teach that through sharing each other's stories, bridges to understanding span across the world. I have myself grown much closer to e.g. the Wallacedene township where I worked and hope that the digital story we made with the children makes a difference in the community. Thank you Bridges for giving me the opportunity to be part of your program.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

working with the teenagers from Tibet and South Africa visiting Seattle. They had a chance to work together on a digital story ... it was wonderful to see students from such different backgrounds grow closer together as they were collaborating.

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How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

One time

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008

October 1, 2010

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October 1, 2010

I worked with Bridges to Understanding at one of their participating schools in South Africa. Seeing the excitement on students faces when they were given the opportunity to share their story with other students around the world is an image that will never leave my mind. Without the Bridges organization these young adult would not have had the opportunity to learn from their peers around the globe. All the people working within the organization take to heart that their work is for students, and all decisions are made in the best interest of the students.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

the final product students are able to present to their community. In some cases this has brought real change to struggling communities

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How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

October 1, 2010

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October 1, 2010

Bridges to Understanding provided a technological avenue that enabled my students to tell their stories. The use of digital cameras allowed them to see immediate results and collaborate with their classmates to produce a final product that shared a part of their lives with their classmates and classmates in distant parts of the world. A Bridges photography volunteer came to my classroom every week to work with the students and Bridges provided workshop opportunities for those who wanted to learn advanced techniques. They read the stories of students who lived in exile, poverty, and isolation while at the same time sharing their traditions, culture, joys, and problems. My students were able to communicate via the internet one on one with students in Tibet and Peru. Bridges to Understanding opened the eyes of my students to differences and commonalities in the world. Digital stories were made about religious festivals, games and sports, and the daily lives of my students. This organization gave my students the opportunity to learn about cameras, slide shows, auditory recordings, and the creation of digital stories. These are the technical skills they will be able to carry with them in the future, but more important, they learned about other cultures by making a very personal connection. I was so impressed with the involvement and outcome in many of the classrooms, I continued to work with Bridges as a volunteer after I retired. I now work in the office and in the classroom as a volunteer.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

the classroom and as a volunteer. Students are meeting peers from other countries, an internship program for high school and college students involving travel and mentorship in foreign countries has developed, workshops for teachers have increased.

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How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

September 30, 2010

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September 30, 2010

Telling your story is indeed empowering. Bridges to Understanding enables youth the world over to tell theirs. Youth produce "digital stories" and correspond with their peers who live in other countries and are producing digital stories too. "Hotel Bridges," if you will, has a hard-working, global- and youth-minded staff. They're always searching for innovative ways of effecting Bridges’ mission and vision. Five stars!

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

the students--both American and Spanish--who attended Bridges’ summer camp, Camp Spanglish. The students produced bilingual digital stories.

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How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

September 30, 2010

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September 30, 2010

Bridges has been very effective in employing its creative mission of student-created digital stories as a way of driving cross-cultural education. I participated in a two-week workshop in South Africa. I worked with a group of five students to identify something that was important to them that they wanted to communicate to the world -- and then we built the digital story and populated it with photographs and audo to make it real. The story that we created about the impact of their environment on their health was made available on the Bridges website and turned into a book -- check out http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/480174. The concept of using these stories to teach cross-cultural concepts and education is something that Bridges does very well.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

South Africa and a number of schools in the Seattle area. I've seen the digital stories that students have prepared -- and I've seen the impact on students of the shared stories.

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What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

the smiles on the faces of the students in South Africa that I helped to build their story.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

engaged, open, honest, committed, and excited about the ways that they can contribute to this mission.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Grow to cover all regions of the world and increase the number of important stories that students want to use to educate the world on what is important to them.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

September 30, 2010

more

September 30, 2010

My experience working wtih Bridges both in Seattle and Internationally was so inspiring - the greatest aspect is now focused the Bridges staff is on really engaging the kids in telling their own stories in their own voices. From stories by the Aki Kurose students about the student's personal experiences with urban poverty and homelessness, to the Guatemalan students' story of one student's future aspirations, to the Tibetan Children's school story of personal courage and mentoring by a nun and former political prisoner, it was so exciting to see how passionate each group became as they learned new ways to tell their own stories.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

The "film festivals" where the students share their digital stories are so inspiring: amazing to see them stand on stage and convey their stories to a wider audience.

More feedback...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

the passion and excitment of the students who get the chance to tell their own stories!

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

The staff do an amazing job of stretching their resources to cover so many bases and reach such a wide group of kids. The staff also do a great job orchestrating the many volunteers with varying skills and interests.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

overcome our cultural communication gap: lay the foundation for world peace through greater cross-cultural understanding.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

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