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"...

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...

Backpackers Make Their Way to ‘Hope Hacienda’

Saturday, March 24 – Once again, we were up and out before dawn. Today, we were back to work planting trees, this time in the middle of the coastal rainforest in Manatí. The highway led us through a small township, and on the other side, we found ourselves in some of...

A Day’s Journey and 100 Trees

Friday, March 23 - It wasn’t easy, but the group was up before the rooster’s crow this morning. We were all feeling a little “Mal anochados” as the Puerto Ricans say (“rough-nighted”), but there was much work to be done. We had coffee and checked our supply packs...

Luminarias on the Water

Last night, the backpackers wrote their intentions for their Puerto Rico journey on these luminarias and set them afloat.

Backpackers’ Arrival Announced!

The Puerto Rico adventure is under way, and here's a short video clip from the plane as the captain thanks the backpackers for their efforts to help with the hurricane recovery efforts. Watch for more details and photos on Friday!

First Photos from Puerto Rico

The backpackers are at work in Puerto Rico! Check the Cultural Bridges Facebook page for more photos! https://business.facebook.com/Cultural-Bridges-345584732621557/?view_public_for=345584732621557&business_id=465634203611649

Report from Puerto Rico: Backpackers Journey to Aguada

March 22, 2 a.m. – Eleven backpackers met at SCVi to begin their long journey, most of them on just a couple of hours of sleep. After a few quick pictures, the team loaded up the vans. While each traveler carried a small bag of their own belongings, the team also...

We’re on the Road!

The backpackers are on their way to Puerto Rico! The group met this morning at SCVi Charter School and departed for LAX to begin their Backpacks Full of Hope journey. Here's a quick look at the itinerary awaiting the backpackers: Tuesday 3/20 - Advance team travels...

Backpackers Explain Their Why…

Isa, Adrian, Adin, and Oliver explain why this trip is important to them. They, along with 15 other "Backpackers," will head to Puerto Rico to help replant and rebuild after the devastation of Hurricane Maria.

Puerto Rico 2018

On September 20, 2017, the island of Puerto Rico was still picking itself up from the destruction caused by Hurricane Irma, when the evacuation order came under the threat of a new storm. But this time, the much more powerful category 5 storm would not simply skirt...

After their rewarding trip to Puerto Rico in 2018 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 group, who dubbed themselves “Backpacks Full of Hope,” worked in various regions of Puerto Rico replanting forests, building “Earthship” sustainable dwellings, and distributing the thousands of dollars in donated supplies that they had gathered from their family, friends and community. The success and impact of their trip has generated a great deal of excitement. And, due to the great and continued need for support in Puerto Rico, the group has decided to return next spring.

Many of their classmates, teachers and other community members have expressed interest in joining them. If you, too, would like to join Backpacks Full of Hope’s Team Puerto Rico 2019, email backpacksfullofhope@culturalbridges.global or contact Matt Watson at (661) 434-1045.

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