For almost a decade, the congregations of and have been working with nonprofit Bridges to Community to bring hundreds of volunteers from the Westchester area to Nicaragua for interfaith missions to improve the lives of impoverished families.
On Saturday, May 5, Bridges to Community honored the dedication of Rabbi Jason Nevarez of Goldens Bridge; Brad Zicholtz of Somers; Temple Shaaray Tefila in Bedford Corners; The Rev. Dr. Paul D. Alcorn of Bedford and Bedford Presbyterian Church by presenting them with the “2012 Outstanding Vision and Commitment to Action” Award at their annual Spring Gala.
Additionally, Assemblyman Robert Castelli (NY-89) presented the honorees with citations from the New York State Assembly.
Almost 300 guests attended the annual event held at the Hampshire Country Club in Mamaroneck to recognize the long history of service represented by the two Westchester based houses of worship and their leaders.
Approximately $217,000 was raised to support Bridges to Community's ongoing projects in Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic, including building homes and schools, sanitation projects and providing healthcare, agricultural assistance and education.
Temple Shaaray Tefila and Bedford Presbyterian Church initiated their joint interfaith mission in 2003 and since that year, they have sent 12 youth groups to Nicaragua. This past February, the two houses of worship together brought 70 volunteers to build homes and schools in rural parts of the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. In recent years they added a service learning component, giving the home construction work a new dimension by teaching their congregants and local Nicaraguan communities about their faith traditions and social justice.
Executive Director Kevin Mestrich of Ossining said the Bridges program had great impact.
“We brought almost 800 individuals to work in Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic this past year and approximately a third of the volunteers were returning for at least their second trip," he said. "This alone demonstrates its success.”
Bridges to Community is an international nonprofit organization that takes volunteers to rural communities in Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic to work with impoverished communities on development projects. These service trips are focused on creating a global community where basic needs, such as shelter, education and healthcare are treated as fundamental human rights. For additional information: www.bridgestocommunity.org. or phone: 914-923-2200.