2020 PUERTO RICO TRIP

Spring Break 2020 (approx. March 30 – April 8)

The total amount for travel per Backpacker is $1550.

$150 deposit holds your spot!

Ask about fundraising opportunities by emailing info@synergized.org.

TODAY: Planning Meeting for Backpacks Full of Hope

Today, Nov. 20, we are having the next planning meeting for the 2020 Backpacks Full of Hope relief trip to Puerto Rico, 4 p.m. at the SCVi campus (28060 Hasley Canyon Rd #200, Castaic, CA 91384). To join the meeting online via Zoom, click here and enter meeting ID 322...

THIS WEEK: A ‘Fin-tastic’ Way to Support Backpacks Full of Hope

This Tuesday, Nov. 5th, a "fin-tastic" way to support our 2020 Backpacks Full of Hope relief trip to Puerto Rico is by dining at Sharky's Woodfired Mexican Grill in Valencia from 5-9 p.m.! Sharky's will donate 20% of proceeds toward our efforts. Download the flier and...

ACT NOW: Only 10 Spots Remain for Backpacks Full of Hope 2020!

If you have been thinking about joining the spring 2020 Backpacks Full of Hope relief trip to Puerto Rico, now is the time. Only 10 spots remain open on our team, and registration must be completed by Friday, Nov. 15th. Click here to register today! Important Details...

Meet the Backpackers Who Got the Trip Going!

When Hurricane Maria devastated the island of Puerto Rico in the fall of 2017, a group of iLEAD learners saw a great need and wanted to help. That's when the vision for Backpacks Full of Hope began to take shape. Meet the learners who envisioned the...

VIDEO: Learn More About Backpacks Full of Hope

Please take four minutes to watch our newest video about Backpacks Full of Hope and the passion behind it, and please share it with your community as we continue planning for our 2020 relief trip!

Pizza for Puerto Rico – Eat at MOD Oct. 15 to Support Backpacks Full of Hope 2020

On Tuesday, Oct. 15th, order your pizza with extra cheese AND an extra helping of support for our 2020 Backpacks Full of Hope relief trip to Puerto Rico! MOD Pizza in Stevenson Ranch will donate 20% of proceeds toward our efforts. Download the flier and make sure to...

‘Well Done’ Fundraising: Red Robin Spirit Night on Oct. 8

The opportunities continue to support our 2020 Backpacks Full of Hope relief trip to Puerto Rico! When you dine at Red Robin on Tuesday, Oct. 8th, the restaurant will donate 20% of proceeds toward our efforts. Click here to download the flier and make sure to show it...

Eat for Change: Chipotle Fundraiser Night on Oct. 1

Forget Taco Tuesday, how about a burrito to support continued relief work in hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico? Tomorrow, Tuesday, Oct. 1, dine at Chipotle in Santa Clarita between 4-8 p.m. and 33% of proceeds support the 2020 Backpacks Full of Hope trip to Puerto Rico....

This Week: Info Sessions About Backpacks Full of Hope 2020

Tonight is the night! Please join us for the first of three info sessions we are having this week for the 2020 Backpacks Full of Hope service trip to Puerto Rico, and discover how you and your learner can participate in this life-changing experience. Click here to...

BFOH 2019: Last Day!

Today, we spent our last full day in Puerto Rico. And as a way of connecting more deeply with those we’ve been helping for the past week, we spent it exploring San Juan and learning about the history, geography, and culture of the island. Two of our group leaders had...

BFOH 2019: Highways and Radio Waves

We left our west coast base today to head east to the capital, San Juan.  Pack, clean up, check out, load up, and roll. It’s a 3-hour bus ride back across the northern coast to San Juan, but we stopped about halfway for what turned out to be a truly incredible...

BFOH 2019: Sunday Cultural Connections

Most things in Puerto Rico are closed on Sunday. So we made Sunday a day to learn more about Puerto Rican culture and history. Thus, we got to sleep in a little; our wake-up time was 7:45 a.m. Outside, we were greeted with breakfast burritos and cereal. We began...

BFOH 2019: Tree Maintenance

Editor’s Note: Today’s dispatch was written by BFOH team members and iLEAD learners Isabella Evans & Adin Kuric. The morning began with a wake-up call at 5 a.m., complete with a blaring rendition of reveille, that had us all disoriented for a while. Once the fog...

BFOH 2019: Earthships Revisited

We started our day off at 6 a.m., rolling out of our bunk beds and walking outside into a tropical courtyard where breakfast burritos were waiting for us. After our delicious breakfast, we boarded the bus and began our drive to the Earthship PR site. From the second...

BFOH 2019: The Work Continues

Editor's Note: Today's dispatch was written by BFOH team members and iLEAD learners Mateo Bokun & Oliver Munn-Oberg. Today, we started the day off with a lot of energy, thanks to our amazing wake-up leaders. With healthy breakfasts in our stomachs and a nice hike...

BFOH 2019: Working with Earthships

We woke up early to our alarms, groggy yet ready to do work. We quickly grabbed a hearty breakfast of eggs and cereal, made our lunches, and hopped on the bus as soon as possible. Today we were working with Earthship PR, and we were all eager to see what awaits us....

BFOH 2019: And We’re Off!

The 2019 Backpacks Full of Hope humanitarian service trip began with a bang as 27 backpackers rendezvoused at SCVi late at night on Monday, April 8, to caravan to Los Angeles International Airport. Traveling with such a large group is no small task, and taking a night...

BFOH 2019: Meet the Backpackers

On this, our second annual Backpacks Full of Hope service trip to Puerto Rico, we come as a larger group, and with the same energy and passion to serve those still struggling to recover from Hurricane Maria. This year, 30 Backpackers made the trek year to the island,...

Backpackers Share Their Experience and Rally Support for Puerto Rico 2019

After their rewarding trip to Puerto Rico, the iLEAD students who spent their spring break this year helping the island territory rebuild from the devastation of Hurricane Maria have received several invitations to share their experience. From March 22 through 29, the...

PHOTO GALLERY: Get a look at the 2018 Backpacks Full of Hope Trip

Our team has returned from the 2018 Backpacks Full of Hope trip to Puerto Rico. Check out this photo gallery and get a glimpse of what they were doing to help those affected by Hurricane Maria last fall. [ngg_images source="galleries"...

Reflection, Mixed Feelings and One Final, Important Stop to Complete the Journey

Thursday, March 29 – We woke this morning with mixed feelings – ready to go home, but sad to leave the people and island that have treated us so well this week. We have planted more than trees in Puerto Rico — we have sown a part of our hearts here as well. We packed...

A Final Day of Work and Reflection

Wednesday, March 28 – Our last day of work here in Puerto Rico before we head home tomorrow. Today, we were back to tree planting, this time in Cabo Rojo. We’re not sure if Ray, our environmental interpreter, had heard from his colleagues about us or not, but he was...

Building Earthships for Puerto Rico

Tuesday, March 27 – The weather forecast was clear this morning, and so… we work! We were so glad that our call time was later – 9 a.m. And we were very glad to know that this site was actually in our neighborhood! But we didn’t realize the day we had in store for us....

A Flood Warning, a Day Off, and the Glow-in-the-Dark Bay

Monday, March 26 – Sunday night, as we were reflecting on our heart-breaking but inspiring trip to the school of refugees in Bartolo de Castañer, a text came in. It was our contact at the Earthship project: “I'm writing with an achy heart. It's pouring. We are under...

Witnessing the Human Spirit’s Strength in the Face of Adversity

Sunday, March 25 – As we mentioned in yesterday’s post, we recently made contact with a community organizer, Edith, who is working with four different communities in the areas most affected by the hurricane. At our request, Edith had sent a list of the things that her...

Schedule

Right now we’re in the fundraising stage!
Phase one – Now through January:
Backpackers are raising funds for their travel expenses.
 
Phase two – January through March: 
Backpackers are raising funds for the resources they’ll use to aid Puerto Rico.

Our Story

Two years ago, Hurricane Maria made landfall on Puerto Rico, decimating the U.S. territory. As the island continues to rebuild, iLEAD learners are preparing for their third humanitarian aid trip to the island.
 
Out of the hearts of a group of iLEAD learners and families, the Backpacks Full of Hope service learning trip was born in December 2017.  Moved by their compassion for those suffering in Puerto Rico, 19 Backpackers from SCVi, iLEAD’s founding school, and from other iLEAD sites, embarked on a journey that began with months of researching, reaching out, and fundraising. All of their strategic planning culminated in working on the island over their spring break to rebuild, reforest, and restore some of what was lost.  Together, they helped build sustainable housing units called Earthships, planted over 400 trees, and donated backpacks and duffel bags full of much-needed supplies to local residents.
 
That first mission was more successful than the team could have imagined. Based on the tremendous need that the group saw, they felt compelled to return. In response, the group, which had now grown to 30 Backpackers, traveled back to Puerto Rico for a second aid trip in April 2019. This time, they focused on the maintenance and care of the trees planted the previous year, continued their work with the Earthships, and also brought supplies to support a rural agricultural school that educates local children.
 
A third trip is being planned for Spring Break 2020 (approx. March 30 through April 8).
The program is coordinated by Cultural Bridges, the international learning division of iLEAD Schools, which organizes these important service learning trips and other global initiatives for students. Please click above to sponsor a Backpacker or to sign up for the adventure.

 

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