Our Mission is to "create and strengthen bridges that empower interpersonal change within and between communities."
STL is a not-for-profit organization that strives for intercultural competency. We seek this those the educational theory Place-Based Learning and an Ethics of Care. Both of these theories can be further described on the "Programs Page". All of our exchange programs collaborate with indigenous communities across North and South America. Because of this nature of this cultural work, all of our programs are built out of the self-described needs of the communities we partner with. This is to avoid paternalism and to maximize a collaboration with marginalized communities.
One of the most important parts of our mission is the idea of the bridge. A philosophy built with the concept that we are on the earth to learn from one another. So all of our projects are built in a sense of building a bridge between two communities so that they may learn more about one another, and work together to make a better tomorrow.
Transparency is our goal!
We are proud to say we were awarded the GuideStar Platinum Seal of Transparency. It is one of our focuses to always be transparent about our funds and how we use them. If you have questions please reach out to us and we would more than happy to speak with you!
What does Bridge Builders STL do?
Bridge Builders STL promotes intercultural competence and leadership development through exchange programs that bring young adults from diverse communities together to engage in cultural immersion, leadership development, and community service projects. Our programs are typically two weeks long. We spend one week in our partner location and one week in St. Louis.
What is the structure of a typical BBSTL exchange program?
A typical day includes outings to facilitate place-based learning, educational programs on the history, traditions, and challenges of the communities with which we engage, and facilitated dialogue about the needs and aspirations of different communities. Programs also feature communal living: participants are housed together and take meals together during the two weeks of the exchange.
What are BBSTL's values?
Community – We bring about positive change not as individuals but through cooperative effort.
Empowerment – Bridge Builders STL, consistently strives to create positive change by enhancing participants' sense of their own agency.
Good Stewardship– We build positive relationships internally, externally, and through the transparent and responsible use of the resources provided to us.
Diversity and Integrity- We encourage and celebrate differences in people because it is our cultural, religious, personal, and educational differences that allow us to learn, grow, and work together as a community to make the world a better place for all.
Why Bridge Builders STL?
Our organization is founded on the concept of a bridge. Bridges are inherently connective and help us overcome obstacles. BBSTL constructs bridges for disconnected groups of people to come together to learn, grow, and develop a more inclusive sense of community.