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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

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

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

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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

September 30, 2010

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September 30, 2010

I knew that Bridges To Understanding was the right organization for me to volunteer for after I took a 4-day digital storytelling workshop from Phil Borges that also certified us to work as mentors in classrooms on these global exchanges. I was lucky to be in the workshop with 6 students from a township near Cape Town, South Africa, who were here during a face-to-face Bridges student exchange. I got to work with one of the boys, Akhona, one-one-one for four days on our digital story and loved every minute of it. Having this personal connection with Akhona and the other students from South Africa, I have been educating myself on the history and current events of South Africa and my interest is expanding to other parts of Africa as well. Since that workshop, I have been working in different classrooms and schools as a Bridges mentor helping teachers and students learn about photography and multimedia to tell their stories and to build partnerships with classrooms in other parts of the world. Phil Borges said once: “Although the US has the most powerful military and media presence on earth, we are becoming the least globally aware.” During the classroom work, I witness how students build relationships, become friends with someone at the Tibetan Children’s Village in Dharamsala, India, from an indigenous community in Peru or from the townships in South Africa. The students realize very quickly that a person living in the townships in South Africa actually has a lot of similar desires and wishes in their life as we do here, and they start to feel personally connected even though they are across the world from each other. It is very exciting to see how these personal relationships spark the students’ interest and build empathy and care for people in other parts of the world. Creating awareness for other parts of the world, learning with and about people from other cultures and thereby also learning more about ourselves is what this work is all about. It brings out the understanding and feeling of responsibility that what happens in the world is really a collective one. It is very encouraging and heart-warming to see these students from radically different backgrounds learn directly from, rather than, about each other in such a creative, collaborative way and start to deeply care for each other! The work with “Bridges to Understanding” gives me a great personal satisfaction, joy and a profound hope for a better and more compassionate world. It is dear to my heart to work with people from all over the world, learn about and with them and promote a global perspective and responsibility as much as I can.

The Great!

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

I have seen first-hand how students in the classrooms here in Seattle have developed curiosity, empathy and strong relationships with students from other parts of the world and how this has changed their sense of self and place in the world.

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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

September 28, 2010

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September 28, 2010

Bridges to Understanding is an organization that absolutely sucks you in! I come away from every interaction inspired to do more and be further involved. One of my favorite aspects of the Bridges program is how it utilizes, and even requires, exposure to foreign cultures as a way to better understand your own. Interactions with interns and with sites around the world encourage students to critically examine their own communities. The juxtaposition of students' own culture with others leads them to recognize their own unique qualities while at the same time connecting with foreign students over the similarities that exist throughout humanity and across all cultures. The Bridges program teaches youth that they can take pride in their own culture without looking down upon other cultures and that they can learn from their differences rather than feeling threatened by them.

The Great!

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

my classroom in India where the use of photography and storytelling as a medium to explore community problems was incredibly successful. Photography provided tangible metaphors for complex ideas that were presented across a language barrier.

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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 27, 2010

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September 27, 2010

This is a great organization that uses IT as a way to connect and empower children. When I volunteered in a classroom using their curriculum, they not only learned about digital story telling, but also spent time talking about what issues they would like to share. They also had a chance to connect with a class in South Africa. The high school kids in the class were a tough bunch, so not everything went smoothly, but the students were engaged and pleased with the results of their digital stories. I am so impressed with this organization that I have now joined the board!

The Great!

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

I have observed high school students become more connected to their environment through telling digital stories about environmental issues.

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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

October 1, 2009

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October 1, 2009

I have taken their workshop and volunteered with the organization - every encounter was educational and positive, and it enlarged my sense of community. I am 70 years old, and love the challenge of doing new things, with new technology, and with new people. Not only do they empower youth, they empower elders!

The Great!

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

Through making friends from different countries, different ages, and different backgrounds. It did build bridges.

Ways to make it better...

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

Have more paid full time staff who would be there from one year to the next. Interns are wonderful, but they come and go (often).

More feedback...

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

Seeing eyes light up as people (old and young) felt they were able to really communicate creatively.

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

I met very talented people from the fields of media, fund raising, and social networking. They have been energetic and up-beat individuals.

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

Bring this unique technology into many more classrooms and hire many more mentors and teachers so that children from all areas of the world could communicate about shared issues in their lives.

Ways to make it better...

I was more tech savy

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

Funding.

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

They really need to be in more local classrooms.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

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