Jiffy Lesica is a 3-time Bridges volunteer who has become completely devoted to Bridges since his first Bridges trip. A current senior in high school, Jiffy has led and organized 2 Bridges trips and fundraises to support our vital programming.
Jiffy’s first Bridges trip was completely different from what he expected. He says, “I had never really gone anywhere for service where there was a lot more poverty than I had been exposed to. When I went to Nicaragua, the transition from the regular paved roads to the dirt roads of Mojón as we drove out to the farm was incredible. I was shocked at how different it was from what I expected: the outdoor latrines, cots, and mosquito nets, but I was pleased and excited to have my expectations to be different than the reality. I fell in love with the place, the people, and the work. I felt so connected to the children, and I felt we had built a strong relationship with the family, despite the language barrier. Since then, I’ve been inspired to keep at it. I had a strong connection, and I wanted to go back and do as much work as I could.”
Motivated by the connections, Jiffy organized, recruited, fundraised, and led two more trips to Nicaragua. These two trips and the experience of organizing them impacted Jiffy’s life. He says, “Bridges has done a lot for me. It has changed my whole mindset of the world. I feel like I better understand the realities of the world outside of my hometown in Connecticut. I’m so lucky to have the opportunity to have done this.”
Jiffy carries the lessons he learned to his daily life in the US but admits it can be difficult. He says, “Re-entering life in the States after a trip is always difficult because life is so different…our priorities and perceptions are so skewed. People in Nicaragua have so little materialistically but live with such pure joy. It’s almost confusing since what seems to be important when you come back to the States is money and material goods, a show of wealth, etc. I think what is important is community, family and the opportunity to live. It was a struggle to deal with some of the problems that people had in comparison to people in Nicaragua, for example when my friends would complain about getting a bad grade on a test or not getting invited to a party.
It’s also been tough because a lot of people don’t understand how much I want to commit myself to the communities and Bridges as an organization….and I really want to do anything that I can, help in any way that I can, because they don’t deserve to be struggling the way that they do.” For this reason, Jiffy decided to start fundraising, which was much more successful than he ever imagined. Ever humble about his success, he says, “I just felt obligated to these people. Because I’m not able to return to Nicaragua right now, I wanted to do everything I could to help them in another way…I just tried my best, and I’m shocked by how much I raised.”