Seattle University's Professionals Without Borders

Posted by Caitlin Joyce on Thursday, September 4, 2014 at 1:45 PM PDT

“For me, it was great to see how 13 people, few of (whom) had known each other before, came together to give ourselves to another community and, ultimately, form our own. This group is truly a gift.” - Nick Elam, ’14, Seattle University Strategic Communications Student on his experience with Professionals Without Borders’ service trip to Nicaragua.

Founded in 2007 when a group of Seattle U employees re-graded a Nicaraguan elementary school courtyard damaged by flooding, Professionals Without Borders (PWOB) has taken dozens of students and staff members on service projects all over the globe, from Belize to Zambia, with the mission of empowering students to serve and lead sustainable service projects that help people in need.

The concept born from this experience was simple: connect students with skilled trades’ people to complete small, but substantial, projects for people in need. 

For the first time, alumni now have the exciting opportunity to join PWOB, faculty, staff and students when they return to Nicaragua December 12-23.   You will be helping with infrastructure projects at Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos orphanage

Here’s what past participants have had to say about their experience serving the orphanage in Nicaragua.

 “For me (the service trip) was seeing a totally different way of life - how people with little but each other can be so happy. They helped remind me of all the things I take for granted. I am so grateful for the time I spent there and am glad I am going back. I think they enjoyed having us there as much as I enjoyed being there.

We built a cement sidewalk and…painted school buildings. (The pequenos) worked side by side with us. We played soccer, volleyball, enjoyed dinners and played games. I knew very little Spanish but, with the help of our group, we communicated and laughed.” 

- Wayne Holscher, SU Facilities Services

This morning I woke up with such comfort; I felt as if I was home, that I belonged here.  The long days of hard work and intense heat has broken down any barriers that keep me from feeling like an outsider. Every meal we share is the most delicious food we’ve ever tasted on a simple plastic orange plate. This trip has been so much more than a service trip. It feels like global engagement has taken such a powerful role in the education of our students and it has been meaningful to contribute while also gaining a better perspective of what is going on in the lives of current Seattle University students. Today at lunch we sat with the littlest penqueñas.  Before every meal the little girls take turns leading us in prayer. You can imagine what it would be like to hear a 7 year old decide what she’d like to pray for.…”

If you’re interested in learning more about PWOB’s Nicaragua trip, please attend the information session on Thursday, September 18 at 6:30 p.m. in the Rolfe Community Room in the Admissions and Alumni Building on 12th and Marion.  You can also visit their website for more information. 

- From the PWOB journal of Brianne Vanderlinden, ‘07, University Advancement