Builders Beyond Borders ventures to Guatemala


Graphic by Melanie Lust ’19

Builders Beyond Borders volunteered in Guatemala over February break. They constructed necessary buildings and structures such as schools.

Stepping off the plane in Guatemala, the Builders Beyond Borders (B3) student participants were eager to begin their community service trip. Between building schools, active excursions and creating bonds with each other, the B3 groups had a packed week ahead of them.

This February break, B3, a non-profit organization from Norwalk, CT, sent their annual community service trip to Guatemala. The main purpose of the trip is to help less fortunate areas by raising money and donating time to upgrade life in these communities.

“I feel that the communities we work in are changed for the better because we help them build something meaningful and impactful within the community,” Sophie Lynch ’21 said. “The people that we meet on our B3 trips are always so proud to show off their community and the hard work that they have put into it.”

According to Builders Beyond Borders Projects Webpage, eight teams of students travel to numerous communities throughout Guatemala over the February, March and April breaks. These teams build various structures that are necessary but lacking or non-existent in these towns.

According to senior advisor, Gabe Baltierra ’19, the teams in one town woke up in the morning and proceeded to construct an elementary school for the local kids. This took up six to seven hours of each day, meaning that a significant amount of the time in Guatemala was dedicated to the school. The Builders Beyond Borders mission statement explains that when the students are on their service trips, they work alongside and interact with the locals who they are actively helping.

According to B3 Weekly, the Builders Beyond Borders weekly blog, students had to fundraise for their trip and the materials needed to build the elementary school. One of the fundraising methods was selling B3 Organic Coffee from Guatemala.

While it is a truly meaningful and serious job that is being done, the students on the team grow closer from the minute they step on the plane.

“Something about the experience forces you to bond,” Charlie Effman ’20, a seasoned B3 participant, said. “Working, eating, sleeping and living around each other makes you really close with your teammates.”

At the end of each day of work, the teams take little excursions, such as hikes or other adventures, and end with a meal recapping the day.

B3 is a community that replenishes itself each year with new, excited members to help the world. Both Effman and Lynch had siblings and friends who influenced their decisions to join Builders Beyond Borders and volunteer on the trips.

“My older sister made me want to join because she went in her freshman year and absolutely loved it,” Lynch said. “She couldn’t stop talking about her trip and since then I had my heart set on doing Builders Beyond Borders.”