By Goodreads Staff | Published Dec 05, 2011 07:00PM

A buildOn program member volunteers at a local youth center in the Bronx.

While trekking through Nepal, 23-year-old Jim Ziolkowski witnessed a small village celebrating the opening of its first school. Fundamentally moved, Ziolkowski returned to the United States and founded buildOn, a nonprofit dedicated to building schools in developing countries. Here's the twist: buildOn's volunteer team is made up almost entirely of American inner-city youths. In a two-part program, the organization seeks not only to increase global literacy but also to introduce disadvantaged teens to civic engagement. American students participate in after-school service programs and travel to developing nations to aid the school-building effort.

Volunteers for buildOn boast a graduation rate of 95 percent, even in cities like Chicago where only half of all students graduate high school. And, in nations like Haiti, where 80 percent of the population live below the poverty line, more than 400 schools have been built. buildOn has already helped more than 60,000 students attend school.

Tags: 2011-december and do-good

Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Joan (new)

Joan I'm a former Peace Corps volunteer and retired US Diplomat. I am so excited to learn of buildOn's US participants both for their contributions and growth but also it gives people in developing countries a chance to meet a wider cross section of Americans.

message 2: by Mike (new)

Mike I'm thankful for the work of organizations like this, especially in a country I love so much (Nicaragua). However, the description of Nicaragua in the "where we work" section is unnecessarily divisive. It glorifies the "Sandinista revolutionaries" as the only Nicaraguans adept at literature. The truth is that the lines are much softer and all factions in that nation's terrible war represented great cultural achievement. Nicaragua's national poets pre-dated the Sandinista conflict by many, many decades. It would be nice to see a more balanced, less political view in the "where we work" description.

back to top