Over 1.8 million nonprofits and charities for donors, volunteers and funders

Claim This Nonprofit

More Info

Add to Favorites

Share this Nonprofit

Donate

Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Arts & Culture, Children & Youth, Cultural & Ethnic Awareness, Education, Educational Services, Student Services, Youth Development Programs

Mission: Bridges to Understanding empowers and unites youth worldwide, enhances cross-cultural understanding and builds global citizenship through the art of storytelling and the use of digital technology. Humanitarian photographer Phil Borges founded Bridges to Understanding in 2001 to give youth around the world the tools to share their vision, hopes and dreams. Bridges connects hundreds of middle and high school students in the northwest United States with their peers in South Africa, India, Guatemala, Peru and other countries through teacher-guided online dialogues, curriculum-based programs and the creation and sharing of digital stories. Students from radically different backgrounds across the globe get a unique opportunity to learn directly from each other, ask questions about each others lives, and ultimately develop cross-cultural understanding and creative problem solving. We envision a harmonious, inter-connected world in which youth are actively engaged as responsible global citizens.

Geographic areas served: International

Programs: The organization provides an online program which connects middle school students in the developed world with their contemporaties in indigenous communities. Central to the program is digital storytelling mentored by professionals and created by students. The organization provides tools and training that enable the students to tell stories from their own lives and communities. These stories are shared through the bridges website where the students can engage each other, ask questions about each other's lives and collaborate to create multimedia stories exploring their cultures.

Community Stories

3 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I absolutely love this organization! For the past few years my students have had the opportunity to create digital stories with the help of staff and volunteers from Bridges. I have also participated in their workshops and have helped to adapt some of the curriculum through using it in the classroom. I can say that every student who has participated in the project has learned a lot and had a great experience. My classes have made stories on a variety of issues related to their own lives, a very empowering and eye-opening journey. Some great stories have been made on poverty, homelessness, food waste, and where our cafeteria food comes from. I never hesitate to welcome Bridges into my class because I know the experience will streghten classroom culture and bonds as well as build critical thinking and media skills. My only heartbreak is that not all of my classes have the opprtunity to do the project.