Hands for a Bridge

Hands for a Bridge provides high school youth in Seattle Washington, Cape Town South Africa and Londonderry Ireland with opportunities to explore issues surrounding social justice in their local, regional and international communities. In collaboration with established partners, students engage in intensive artistic dialogue to build bridges of understanding across chasms of race, culture, class and privilege. These student leaders will emerge as transformed global citizens with vision and resources to affect vital change in our world.
Mar 4, 2015

HFB Returns from our Travels Abroad

Northern Ireland Group 2015
Northern Ireland Group 2015

On Saturday, February 28, 2015 both groups of Roosevelt students returned to Seattle after spending two weeks in with our partners in Northern Ireland and South Africa. Each group set up a travel blog which you can link to, and we've included a couple of excerpts below.

Norther Ireland Trip: https://hfbnorthernireland2015.shutterfly.com

Julian's journal reflection- Corrymeela

February 22, 2015

This weekend we went on the Corrymeela residential/retreat. It was wonderfully filled with laughs, tears, and love. It was astounding to see everyone get much closer together and by the end of the retreat on Sunday afternoon, we had become one big beautiful family. On Saturday, we had a lot of time to discuss in big, medium, and small groups. We discussed various topics that came to mind. And throughout the discussions, we all heard some amazing, disturbing, and emotional things that really sealed a bond onto the HFB Oakgrove/Roosevelt. I couldn't have asked for a better group and a better retreat weekend. Not to mention the food was bomb and and the Corrymeela staff were the most humble, energetic, and hospitable people on the planet. I'm so glad I could leave my mark on everyone I have met.

South Africa Trip: https://hfbsouthafrica.wordpress.com/

Reflection – Wenqi

February 21, 2015

Blinded by the gift we call sights

Our visions are embedded with judgment and mistrust

We cover our eyes and open our ears

To unlock our hearts,

To listen with care

Throwing away ignorance, stereotypes and traditions,

We accept what is shared with open minded thoughts

Buried deep within each of our souls

are the deepest secrets we wish to hide

One by one, the treasure chests crack

Light and shadows greet the sky

There are tears and laughter

Brightness and darkness

Our words are measured with rulers and precision

We place trust within each other

To keep our weaknesses and guard our souls

To understand our secrets and learn from sounds

We open our eyes

no longer shaded

Crystal clear with reflections inside

To see deeper and deeper into what makes us,

us.

South Africa Group 2015
South Africa Group 2015
Jul 1, 2014

The Year Ends for the 2014 Class

2014 Class Photo
2014 Class Photo

This is the time of year when one class says goodbye (for now) and another class begins their year with Hands for a Bridge. For a look back at this wonderful year with HFB please read the latest HFB Newsletter produced by students from the 2014 class (attached).

Featured in the newsletter are reflections on the student's travel and the important work that followed. Upon their return students propose and complete Activist Projects to explore an aspect of their own community that needs social change; they are better equipped to do this work because of what they have learned from the dialog with their peers in Northern Ireland and South Africa. Below is an excerpt from the newsletter that discusses one of these projects:

Challenge Day by Chris Harris: Challenge day is an event based off of an MTV show called “if you really knew me”. It is an event during school hours where any student is welcome and students are encouraged to engage in conversation with people that they normally wouldn’t. It took place on June 4th in the little gym and lasted all day. We hope that through this event people will realize that they have more in common with people around them than they thought. Also we want them to realize that we are all more similar than we are different. We hope to accomplish these goals through targeted games and both small and large discussions. The event went very well and all of the participants felt better about the Roosevelt community after they left compared to when they came in. We were very happy that we attracted a wide arrange of people and we hope that this event will become an annual occurrence.


Attachments:
Mar 6, 2014

HFB Returns from 2014 Travel

Art Project - South Africa
Art Project - South Africa

The Seattle HFB group has just returned from our 2014 travel! Half of our students went to Northern Ireland and the other half to South Africa from February 13 – March 1, 2014. The purpose of our travel is to build bridges of understanding in areas where there historical conflict has divided communities. The Troubles in Northern Ireland and Apartheid in South Africa have had lasting effects in these countries and our challenge is to further the dialog of peace and reconciliation.

The challenge is a great one, but the HFB approach is pretty simple: get a bunch of high school kids in a room together and let them hang out :-) Getting them there is not as simple, over the last 12 years HFB has worked hard to establish relationships with schools and educators willing to participate, and create a program that students are eager to join, despite their differences. Students in these countries do carry the weight of their history, the fears of their parents, and the walls of their society, but they are young enough to change. While we are visiting, the students play games, sing songs, write, paint, dance, and start to talk. They talk about their lives, talk about their differences, talk about their futures, and eventually fears fade, walls come down, and they start to find similarities; they start to understand each other as humans. After we leave those relationships continue and another step on the bridge has been formed.

Both trips were incredibly powerful and the students have returned to Seattle with new purpose. One part of the mission of HFB is to build community in South Africa and Northern Ireland, but equally important is for HFB students to emerge as transformed global citizens with vision and resources to affect vital change in our world. What will they do now? How has this experience changed the way they see division in our communities in Seattle? What change do they want to inspire? We look forward to seeing how the relationships we fostered abroad continue to strengthen, and how our HFB alumni move forward into the world as young leaders and activists.

Dialog - Northern Ireland
Dialog - Northern Ireland

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