Elephant love in Thailand.

International Service Learning for College Credit with BLV by Lillie Marshall with Teaching Traveling Newsletter

Interested in volunteering abroad? Curious about programs to explore other countries while helping?

Learn about a great opportunity to do service learning internationally and get college credit at the same time.

Teaching Traveling: Welcome to Stacie Freeman, a college professor who helps run these global volunteering programs in a unique and accessible way. Stacie, tell us about your background.

Elephant love in Thailand.

Elephant love in Thailand.

Stacie: Hello! I am an Associate Professor of Sociology at Bethel University (BU) in Tennessee, the Director of BU Global Studies, and the Co-Executive Director of Bright Light Volunteers (BLV). In that capacity, I teach Global Service Learning and Citizenship courses to both college and high school students.

Through these six-week courses, students learn via online coursework, cultural immersion, and reflection activities. In-country, they volunteer alongside our international partners on community-led service projects, for which they earn the President’s Volunteer Service Award and three hours of college credit.

In other words, five weeks “in the classroom” and one week “in-country” is our formula. I have been organizing and leading local, national, and international service programs since 2007. I have led 25 student groups and visited over 30 countries (through work and with family).

Volunteering in Thailand.

Volunteering in Thailand.

TT: Wow! Tell us more about your travels.

S: I recently returned from Thailand with a group of students from Chico, CA. Our service there was focused on education (we taught basic English in Hill Tribe schools) and elephant rescue.

Thailand is one of my favorite places to learn and serve. The rich culture, beautiful scenery, and kind people make it an ideal location for students and educators. We began our two-week journey in Chiang Mai where we explored temples in the company of a former Buddhist Monk.

Not only did we enjoy the beautiful architecture of the wats and pagodas, we learned a tremendous amount about Buddhism and its cultural impact in Thailand: an excellent supplement to the coursework offered online.

While in Chiang Mai, we also explored night markets, art museums, and even visited the local women’s prison for a massage via a government sponsored social program. The idea is that the women learn a marketable skill so that when they’re released they can support themselves and their children. The program is innovative AND successful. The prison/government has even opened spas in Chiang Mai to create jobs, post-release. Pretty cool!

Other culturally immersive activities included cooking lessons, a homestay in the countryside, a bike ride through the rice paddies, and trekking through Doi Inthanon National Park.

Our second week in Thailand was totally dedicated to service. For this arm of the program, we drove several hours into the hills of Thailand and spent the week living and working among the oldest Hill Tribes in Thailand, the Karen and the Hmong. We taught English in the local primary schools and served on an elephant rescue project.

Essentially, the Hmong and Karen people, due to economic necessity, had been renting their elephants to the logging industry, circuses, and tourism. In these environments, the elephants were horribly mistreated. Through an innovative rescue program, the elephants have been returned to their owners and are now freely roaming the jungle.

It is a beautiful thing to see and experience. As volunteers in the project, we fed the elephants, helped in the garden (where nutritious food is grown to feed the elephants and their mahouts), and assisted with paving a road to ease the delivery of volunteers and supplies to the project.

At the end of our time with the Hill Tribe people, the local Shaman came to our village and blessed our group with a prayer of thanks for our help and protection for our return home. Incredible!!!

Taking photos with new friends abroad.

Taking photos with new friends abroad.

TT: Amazing experiences. Now, how do you find your travel opportunities?

S: As the Director of Global Studies, I have multiple connections to agencies and organizations offering travel opportunities to students and educators. My inbox stays full. However, I began working with Bright Light Volunteers (BLV) in 2016. While I have worked with other orgs since then, most of my programs are currently organized by BLV.

Majestic elephants in Thailand.

Majestic elephants in Thailand.

TT: I see. How did you find the money to fund your travel?

S: I plan my programs one year in advance. This gives students and their families time to fundraise. Some of my students secure part-time employment to pay for the experience, others request funding from clubs like Rotary and Lions. A few have had success securing scholarships through orgs like SYTA as well. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

Helping elephants in Thailand.

Helping elephants in Thailand.

TT: True! Tell us one moment from your travels that was particularly powerful.

S: This summer, I had the opportunity to meet Lek Chailert, the founder of Elephant Nature Park (ENP). She is a tiny but MIGHTY woman. She rescued her first elephant 20 or so years ago. Today, there are over 80 elephants being cared for at ENP. In addition to the rescued herd, she and her staff care for over 500 dogs and cats at the park.

This enormous project started with one woman on one mission. Today, her voice and hard work for the voiceless, abused animals she rescues is heard around the world. In her presence, I was reminded that no matter how big the world’s problems, we ALL have the power to leave this place better than we found it.

With the founder of Elephant Nature Park in Thailand.

With the founder of Elephant Nature Park in Thailand.

TT: So beautiful. How have your travels impacted you in your career, and how have your travels impacted you as a person?

S: My travel informs everything I do. Experiencing other people, from other places has improved my understanding of my role as a global citizen and my responsibility for developing solutions to global social problems.

I see this in my students as well. On post-service surveys, 100% of my students report that the experience has contributed positively to their appreciation for and understanding of other people and cultures and that their awareness of global social problems and solutions has been improved.

They also report having a better understanding of their role as global citizens and of the interconnection between the US and other countries and cultures. As an educator, reading those surveys has been highly impactful and on hard days, keeps me going.

TT: Amazing. What advice do you have for teachers who are dreaming of travel, or travelers dreaming of teaching?

S: Be persistent! If your administration is hesitant or resistant, take baby steps. I started by volunteering with students close to home, in our local community. Then, I began organizing service programs across our state. My next move was to organize service projects across the country.

Finally, seven years in, my proposal to travel with students to Costa Rica was approved. Sometimes, it takes time. Don’t give up! “Water cuts through rock not because of its strength but because of its persistence.”

TT: Thanks so much, Stacie! Readers, what comments or questions do you have?

Tamale Fundraising Success!

#TeamBLV catches up with Sofia Perez, a young woman that has been fundraising in order to cover the expense to participate in our service program in Cuba. Sofia and her entire family cooked, sold,  and delivered 200 dozen tamales – that’s quite a feat!

The scoop from Sofia below:

BLV: What is your known cultural heritage? 
SP: My entire family is Mexican and I am Mexican as well. My mom was born in California but both her parent were born in Mexico and my dad was was born in Baja California, Mexico. My first language was Spanish, at home my mom and dad speak Spanish, and at all family gatherings Spanish is usually the language being spoken.
BLV: Do you consider yourself multicultural?
SP: I would consider myself very multicultural, especially considering my environment. Going to a school where the majority of the population is caucasian, it is easier to blend in and ignore my background, but I do my best to avoid that. Like I said earlier, my first language was Spanish. I am fluent in both English and Spanish, but I tend to feel slightly insecure with my Spanish skills, just because there was a period of time where I did not speak Spanish as frequently as I do now. All of my family trips are usually to Mexico and I love them. Since  I was a little girl, my family and I visit my dad’s family in Baja California. The last two trips to Mexico have been to Quintana Roo and Guanajuato. Both trips were amazing experiences but Guanajuato allowed me to see more culture because it was less touristy. I come from a family of immigrants. My dad immigrated when he was 18, my grandma and her siblings immigrated when they were teenagers between the ages of 13-18, my grandpa immigrated when he was 18, and the list goes on and on. My family is the biggest reason I choose to embrace my culture, everything they’ve worked for and achieved motivates me to remain true to my background.
BLV: What about the global service learning program in Cuba interested you?
SP: I’ve always wanted to go abroad to do something like a service trip or study abroad. When I was told about the program in Cuba, I was instantly on board. One of my biggest goals is to be able help my community, for example when I go to Mexico and I see the living conditions and just the way of life in Mexico, I’m humbled but I always leave wishing I could have done something bigger to help.
This service program in Cuba is the perfect opportunity for me to help and it allows me the opportunity to get out of my comfort zone with this experience.
BLV: Where did you get your fundraising idea? Who helped? Give us the scoop on everything!
About 4 years ago my family and I did a similar fundraiser for my dad’s coworker. His coworker has a son with a chronic lung disorder and they were trying to raise money to fly him to Pennsylvania and my dad volunteered my grandma to sell her tamales. So when my family found out that I was going to Cuba, we collaborated and decided to do another tamale fundraiser like we did in the past. I would like credit mostly my mom and grandma and dad for everything.
My family that wasn’t able to help with the making of the tamales donated money to buy the supplies, my grandma offered to do everything at her house so we could use her newly renovated kitchen.
My dad works at Enloe Hospital in the surgical department, his department alone ordered half of our total order of tamales, which is an estimated amount of 80 dozen. The rest of the orders were placed by family, friends, teachers, neighbors, coworkers…you name it.
The actual process of making tamales is quite rigorous and time consuming. On Friday morning my grandma began to cook the meat, so it would cool down by the time we needed it and so we could use the broth to make the masa. Friday night we started to actually make the masa, clean the tamale husks, and make the chilé sauce, this was all done by my mom, my Yaya (grandma), my Tia Ceci, and my Tia Lili. Friday night we made about 6 dozen. Saturday, we spent the entire day making tamales from 9am to midnight. Saturday we were given a little more help, my Yaya’s neighbor Kathleen and two of my Yaya’s comadres. Saturday we made about 130 dozen. Sunday, we took it a little slower and made an additional 50 dozen.
My Yaya was the “leader”, we used her recipe, she made the salsa and masa. My mom and tia’s spread and filled the tamales. I would make masa with my Yaya and I packed all of them into the bags. We delivered them throughout the week to everyone who ordered the tamales.
BLV: Were you surprised by the results of your tamale drive?
SP: Yes! I was very surprised. Not only with the amount of people that ordered tamales ordered, but how much people loved them. The following week my family was overwhelmed with messages asking to order more tamales.
BLV: Would you be interested in sharing tamale making with your host family in Cuba?
SP: Yes I would love to share tamale making with my host family. I think that will be a perfect way to bond and create a connection with my host family!

 

#TeamBLV catches up with Marysol Perez, the proud mother of 14 year old Sofia, a program participant that has been fundraising in order to cover the expense to participate in our service program in Cuba. Marysol and the entire family made and sold 200 dozen tamales – that’s quite a feat! We sat down and asked to get the scoop on their recent fundraising success!

 

BLV: Tell us about the fundraiser and how you assisted with the project.

 

MP: This time of year is actually the perfect time for making tamales; because the weather is cooler and the holidays are upon us. This project was made possible by the help and tremendous support of  family and friends; we are a very tight knit traditional Mexican family. So when Sofia let the family know she was participating in a service trip to Cuba with BLV and needed to raise funds for the trip in March the family all jumped in and said “TAMALIZA”! Our goal was to sell 50-75 dozens, at least cover 50% of the cost of the service trip, we were not expecting the turnout we had.

We knew we had a very busy schedule coming up with Sofia; school, social events, athletics, vacations, etc.  We decided that the weekend of November 9-11 would be best, since we were all available and it was a 3-day weekend, when I say  all available I am referring to; my mom, my two aunts, my husband, Sofia and I. My sister was out of town that weekend but she contributed towards the purchase of supplies. My mom also contributed towards supplies and provided her kitchen and command central; her home is our family hub anyways, she also enlisted the help of her two girlfriends and neighbor;  my cousin that lives two hours away surprised us and showed up to help.

We are actually quite organized when it comes to the tamale making process, this isn’t our first rodeo with the mass production of them; four years ago my husband volunteered our family to make tamales as a fundraiser to benefit a coworkers chronically ill child; we made 150 dozens that time, but in the span of 2 weekends.

In our family tamale making is no joke!

In our family you earn the task you are allowed to do, in the tamale making process.  My mom, known in the family as “Yaya” is our leader when it comes to the Mexican kitchen and your tasks is assigned by her; she being the leader does it ALL. So in the tamale making process my aunt Lili and I are in charge of spreading the masa on the corn husks, my aunt Cecilia fills the tamales with the meat and Sofia wraps the tamales. Sofia was also in charge of cleaning and soaking the corn husks, as well as packaging the dozens. No one was left without a task.

We used my mom’s stove as well as a Camp Chef 3 burner outdoor stove to cook the tamales, had about 7 huge steamers going at different times, one of them was a triple decker and held about 8 dozens per level, that was our favorite steamer!

 

BLV: How much masa does it take to make 200 dozen tamales?

 

MP: Ahhh- the masa…If you know anything about tamales, you know that the masa is the most important part of the tamale, you have to get the masa right! This is an estimate based on the bags of masa flour and supplies,  to give you a glimpse of the process; we purchased about 20 5lb bags = 100 lbs of just masa flour (unprepared) once you prep it, with the stock, fat, salt, baking powder etc. I would say 250 lbs of masa was prepared for our tamales.

 

BLV: Did people pre-order? How did you deliver the tamales?

 

MP: Yes all orders were pre-ordered, though we kept on receiving orders as we were making them. To be honest I was quite nervous because I felt I didn’t announce the fundraiser to friends and family with a lot of time; I believe I personally gave my contacts a 2 day notice. My mom, aunt, and cousin also shared fundraiser details with their contacts. Sofia emailed teachers (past and present), and told friends, one of the teachers she emailed took it upon herself and told Sofia she would forward her email to the staff at the Junior High. The staff there was very supportive and delighted to hear Sofia was embarking on this journey.

I’ve got to give credit to my husband Daniel, he actually spearheaded the fundraiser for us. He works at the local hospital; in the surgery department and started spreading the word; they had been waiting for this day! One of his coworkers really stepped in and assisted him in taking orders; his department alone placed 80+ dozens of tamales. The first day he texted me I’ve got 48 orders, then another 9 and then another 12 and so on.

We delivered tamales starting Sunday, my husband picked up a huge batch – his departments orders, and texted people he knew that he could deliver in that moment if needed. We had tamales stored in multiple refrigerators… five (5) to be exact. Our orders came as far north as Red Bluff, CA and down to the Central Valley in Merced, CA a span of 245 miles.

Sofia and I spent Monday, November 11th delivering tamales to local friends in Chico. We also took 2 trips to my husbands workplace; delivering the a.m. crew order and then in the evening to deliver the p.m. crew order. The next day I delivered to my workplace and to the middle school.

The whole experience was very gratifying, we were overwhelmed with the amount of support we received from everyone that supported the Tamale Fundraiser. The most rewarding part was the experience of togetherness; family and culture that Sofia gained from participating in her fundraiser, she was in it the whole time. I am still receiving messages from people saying how much they enjoyed the tamales, that they were the best they ever tasted. They tell me they could tell they were made with love… which they were!

 

BLV: Would you share your tamale recipes with us to share publicly? You will be given credit.

 

MP: I would have to ask the family matriarch for that one – my mother; she has never kept a recipe for anything, takes after my grandmother, it’s sacrilegious to use recipes, in the Mojica-Barajas household.

 

BLV: What do you hope that Sofia will gain from this global service learning program?

I just want her to experience the world and appreciate other cultures.She is our wanderlust, she has the travel bug, loves visiting new places and meeting new people.  Both my husband and I want her to learn, appreciate and most importantly respect other cultures. I also believe it will be an excellent opportunity for her to challenge herself and use her Spanish speaking abilities. Spanish was Sofia’s first language growing up until kindergarten, she lost her confidence in speaking it along the way. Being in a Spanish speaking country by herself, will push her to use her Spanish.

 

 

Teaching & Traveling

  1. Tell us a bit about your background. (Ex: where you’re from, how long you taught or did another career and where, your age if you want, your travel background, where you are now and what you’re doing, etc.)

My name is Stacie Freeman.  I am an Associate Professor of Sociology at Bethel University (BU) in Tennessee, the Director of BU Global Studies, and the Co-Executive Director of Bright Light Volunteers (BLV).  In that capacity, I teach Global Service Learning and Citizenship courses to both college and high school students.  Through these six-week courses, students learn via online coursework, cultural immersion, and reflection activities. In-country, they volunteer alongside our international partners on community-led service projects, for which they earn the President’s Volunteer Service Award and three hours of college credit.  So, five weeks “in the classroom” and one week “in-country” is our formula.  I have been organizing and leading local, national, and international service programs since 2007.  I have led 25 student groups and visited over 30 countries (through work and with family).

  1. Explain one (or more) interesting travels you have undertaken (or are currently undertaking) during your time outside of your regular home-country classroom/job. (Where did you go, what did you do, for how long, and how was it?)

I recently returned from Thailand with a group of students from Chico, CA.  Our service there was focused on education (we taught basic English in Hill Tribe schools) and elephant rescue.  Thailand is one of my favorite places to learn and serve.  The rich culture, beautiful scenery, and kind people make it an ideal location for students and educators.  We began our two week journey in Chiang Mai where we explored temples in the company of a former Buddhist Monk.  So, not only did we enjoy the beautiful architecture of the wats and pagodas, we learned a tremendous amount about Buddhism and its cultural impact in Thailand, an excellent supplement to the coursework offered online.  While in Chiang Mai, we also explored night markets, art museums, and even visited the local women’s prison for a massage via a government sponsored social program.  The idea is that the women learn a marketable skill so that when they’re released they can support themselves and their children. The program is innovative AND successful. The prison / government has even opened spas in Chiang Mai to create jobs, post-release. Pretty cool!  Other culturally immersive activities included cooking lessons, a homestay in the countryside, a bike ride through the rice paddies, and trekking through Doi Inthanon National Park.  Our second week in Thailand was totally dedicated to service.  For this arm of the program, we drove several hours into the hills of Thailand and spent the week living and working among the oldest Hill Tribes in Thailand, the Karen and the Hmong.  We taught English in the local primary schools and served on an elephant rescue project.  Essentially, the Hmong and Karen people, due to economic necessity, had been renting their elephants to the logging industry, circuses, and tourism.  In these environments, the elephants were horribly mistreated.  Through an innovative rescue program, the elephants have been returned to their owners and are now freely roaming the jungle.  It is a beautiful thing to see and experience.  As volunteers in the project, we fed the elephants, helped in the garden (where nutritious food is grown to feed the elephants and their mahouts), and assisted with paving a road to ease the delivery of volunteers and supplies to the project.  At the end of our time with the Hill Tribe people, the local Shaman came to our village and blessed our group with a prayer of thanks for our help and protection for our return home. Incredible!!!

  1. How do you find your travel opportunities? (Ex: website, friend, group.)

As the Director of Global Studies, I have multiple connections to agencies and organizations offering travel opportunities to students and educators.  My inbox stays full.  However, I began working with Bright Light Volunteers (BLV) in 2016.  While I have worked with other orgs since then, most of my programs are currently organized by BLV.

  1. How did you find the money to fund your travel? (Ex: savings, scholarships, grants, fundraising, etc.)

I plan my programs one year in advance.  This gives students and their families time to fundraise.  Some of my students secure part-time employment to pay for the experience, others request funding from clubs like Rotary and Lions.  A few have had success securing scholarships through orgs like SYTA as well.  Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

  1. Tell us one moment from your travels that was particularly powerful, interesting, or funny.

This summer, I had the opportunity to meet Lek Chailert, the founder of Elephant Nature Park (ENP).  She is a tiny but MIGHTY woman.  She rescued her first elephant 20 or so years ago.  Today, there are over 80 elephants being cared for at ENP.  In addition to the rescued herd, she and her staff care for over 500 dogs and cats at the park.  This enormous project started with one woman on one mission.  Today,  her voice and hard work for the voiceless, abused animals she rescues is heard around the world.  In her presence, I was reminded that no matter how big the world’s problems, we ALL have the power to leave this place better than we found it.

  1. How have your travels impacted you as a teacher (if you went back to teaching) or in your current career, and how have your travels impacted you as a person?

My travel informs everything I do.  Experiencing other people, from other places has improved my understanding of my role as a global citizen and my responsibility for developing solutions to global social problems.  I see this in my students as well.  On post-service surveys, 100% of my students report that the experience has contributed positively to their appreciation for and understanding of other people and cultures and that their awareness of global social problems and solutions has been improved.  They also report having a better understanding of their role as global citizens and of the interconnection between the US and other countries and cultures. As an educator, reading those surveys has been highly impactful and on hard days, keeps me going.

  1. What advice do you have for teachers who are dreaming of travel, or travelers dreaming of teaching? (Either general inspirational words and/or specific sites, organizations, strategies, or links which are useful.)

Be persistent!  If your administration is hesitant or resistant, take baby steps.  I started by volunteering with students close to home, in our local community.  Then, I began organizing service programs across our state.  My next move was to organize service projects across the country.  Finally, seven years in, my proposal to travel with students to Costa Rica was approved.   Sometimes, it takes time.  Don’t give up!  “Water cuts through rock not because of its strength but because of its persistence.”

Elephant refuge in Thailand

Elephant refuge in Thailand where our program participants partake in various service initiatives!

Love is all you need!

Global Service Learning Leader Honored with GreatNonprofit’s Prestigious Top-Rated Award

Bright Light Volunteers announced that it has been honored with the prestigious 2019 Top- Rated Award by Great Nonprofits for the third time in a row. GreatNonprofits, the leading provider of third party reviews for nonprofit organizations, created their Top-Rated Award as a sort of people’s choice award for nonprofits, where volunteers, donors, and people served cast their vote in the form of a review to express their appreciation and help their favorite nonprofits win a spot on this coveted list. Read more here:

Top Nonprofit Honor- GreatNonprofits

Our programs use a methodology called global-service learning, which combines international community service with experiential learning. This approach creates culturally aware global leaders and citizens who understand their place in the world and their ability to effect change both at home and abroad. 

Bright Light Volunteers puts education and global citizenship at the heart of its mission to make the world a brighter place. We have partnered with an accredited university to achieve our mission and sustain our core values, which makes our nonprofit a one-of-a-kind organization. In partnership with Bethel University (of McKenzie, Tennessee)we offer opportunities specifically designed to prepare students to become the global thinkers and leaders of tomorrow. 

Our programs use a methodology called global-service learning, which combines international community service with experiential learning. This approach creates culturally aware global leaders and citizens who understand their place in the world and their ability to effect change both at home and abroad. 

Students will travel, learn, serve, and lead through each of our programs; each one provides transformative, culturally immersive, experiences abroad. 

Since our partnership has developed, participants now have the opportunity to enroll in a six-week online course in Global Service Learning and Citizenship (GSLC) through Bethel University. With guidance from UNESCO global citizenship education, the GSLC course equips students with the knowledge and functional skills necessary to become culturally competent. Students gain exposure to the history and culture of the host country, preparing them for the experience of cultural immersion and exchange.  

We then provide opportunities to serve by working side-by-side with local partners on community-led service projects abroad, allowing students to develop a deeper understanding of the host country and culture. Students can expect to serve between 20 and 80 hours, depending on the length and location of the program.  

Stacie Freeman & Catherine Greenberg

University Professor and Non-profit ED Reimagine Global Citizenship Education for U.S. High School Students

DALLAS, TEXAS (PRWEB) DECEMBER 14, 2018

Stacie Freeman, a Tennessee university sociology professor and Catherine Greenberg, a Texas non-prot executive director, joined forces to create an innovative partnership designed to reimagine, even revolutionize, global citizenship education for U.S. high school students.

“In order to effect global change, education must evolve and expand to prepare all young people to create a brighter future,” says Professor Freeman. “We both understood what needed to be done to help solve for this deficit and we felt up to the challenge. Even in this new age of technology, where ideas, money, and goods can be transported around the globe in mere seconds—the term “global citizen” is still commonly misunderstood.”

According to Oxfam Education, “a global citizen is aware of and understands the wider world and their place in it. They take an active role in their community, and work with others to make our planet more equal, fair, and sustainable.” At Bright Light Volunteers (BLV), it is believed that global citizens and leaders are created through high quality, rigorous education coupled with sustainable, international service. Through an innovative partnership with Bethel University (BU), together, they provide a ground-breaking global service learning and citizenship program where high school students enroll in a Global Service Learning and Citizenship course, for college credit or a certificate of global citizenship, prior to volunteering abroad. This unique, multifaceted approach to global citizenship education results in the deep global competence required of tomorrow’s leaders.

Greenberg reports that the BLV-BU partnership is working. Since inception, students who participate in Bright Light Volunteers’ Global Service Learning and Citizenship programs report:

Improved understanding of local, national, and global challenges

Improved understanding of the interconnectedness of the worlds’ countries and people

Professor Freeman with a group of dual enrollment high school students in Cuba.

“We’re determined to make the world a brighter place,” Greenberg smiles. “One student at a time.”

Willingness to act effectively and responsibly on a local, national, and international level Increased appreciation and respect for diversity
Improved critical thinking skills for problem solving, peacemaking, and social responsibility Increased empathy for others and the environment

Share article on social media or email: View article via:

In addition to these findings, 100% of BLV high school participants graduate and attend college. This is especially encouraging in the rural, Title One schools where Freeman and Greenberg are creating opportunities. By all accounts, this dynamic duo really is reshaping the educational landscape and challenging the status quo when it comes to access to global education. “We’re determined to make the world a brighter place,” Greenberg smiles. “One student at a time.”

###

Bright Light Volunteers is a 501(c)(3), non-prot organization, designed to empower program participants and community partners through education and service. Specifically, our programs adhere to global service-learning best practices, which combine community service with both experiential learning in the eld and online coursework through our university partner. Our vision is to make the world a brighter place by creating a more peaceful, just, interconnected world where global challenges and opportunities are met by educated, compassionate, global citizens and leaders.

Founded in 1842, Bethel University is a nonprofit institution that is regionally accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Bethel University’s mission is to create opportunities for members of the learning community to develop in a Christian environment their highest intellectual, spiritual, and social potential. This includes synchronous and asynchronous modes of education.