Bridges Scholarship Program Reports First Semester Success

Jorvin Urbina started his classes this year more determined than ever. Last year at this time, he had withdrawn from the University in Siuna, Nicaragua where he had been studying Local Development due to economic constraints. But in 2015, he applied for and received a scholarship from Bridges to Community to continue his studies as a junior.

Jorvin is one of 45 students to receive academic scholarships from Bridges to Community this year thanks to the generosity of several donors who are especially concerned with creating educational and leadership opportunities for young people. The program offers committed students the funding they need to continue their education, while providing them with tools they need to succeed and become active members of their communities.

“I thank Bridges to Community for supporting us students with limited economic resources, because it is through this scholarship program that I have been able to continue my studies, and work toward my dream of becoming a professional,” says Jorvin Urbina.

In order to participate in the scholarship program, students had to submit an application complete with letters of recommendation from teachers and family members, and pass through an interview process with the Bridges to Community Scholarship Committee.

“We interviewed over one hundred candidates for the program,” recalls Paula Mulhair, Bridges to Community Program Director in Nicaragua. “We carefully selected students that we believed to be the most motivated and driven to continue on a positive educational path. These students consistently attend class, strive to satisfy the requirements of the program and meet with the BTC Scholarship Committee at least once a month to turn in receipts and turn in progress reports.”

All scholarship participants are required to fulfill community service hours, and they have done so in many ways. In Nindiri, five scholarship students have planned and participated in intercultural activities with several Bridges to Community high school volunteer groups, including Rye Country Day and Greenwich Day School.  They created cultural learning games like Nica/US Jeopardy, and engaged conversations with volunteers on everyday life.

Scholarship recipient Anielka Gadea, who is studying to be a pharmacist at the International University of Latin America in Jinotega, took it upon herself to develop health workshops for her community. She has also participated in a cleanup of her local Catholic Church, and plans to continue using her service hours to work on local initiatives.

In addition, Bridges to Community has provided scholarship students with tutoring, workshops on academic success, and access to computers equipped with internet in the Bridges offices around the country. The students completed their first semester with a collective average of 85%, and will finish up the year in December.