Bridges to Nicaragua – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Bridges to Nicaragua

Carl Ranieri ’11 has a passion for public service and cultural exchange. He is sharing this passion with others through his multi-faceted involvement with Bridges to Community, a non-profit community development organization that sends groups of volunteers to live in materially poor communities where they work on ongoing community development projects.

This summer, Ranieri is supporting the work of Bridges to Community as part of the eight-member Strategic Planning Advisory Committee, organized to create a strategic plan to be executed and achieved over the next three years. Through this plan, Bridges hopes to increase trip volume, create more effective trips, as well as gain increased support from donors, volunteers and staff. In addition to his service to the committee, Ranieri, an experienced Bridges trip leader, is working with another volunteer to create a trip leader handbook.

Ranieri first became involved with the organization during his junior year of high school when he participated in a service trip to Nicaragua over spring break. He describes his first trip to Nicaragua as “The most eye-opening experience I’d had.” He noted experiencing a distinctly different culture, immense history and, what he calls, “an exuberant feeling of reward and sense of accomplishment” on that trip.

After this transformative experience, Ranieri was inspired to lead the program at his high school in his senior year. This spring, he organized HWS’s first international Alternative Spring Break trip to Nicaragua. Nine students traveled with Professor of Spanish and Hispanic Studies Alejandra Molina to support local housing and educational projects thanks to Ranieri’s hard work.

Ranieri describes the single most rewarding moment of that trip as, “…the moment the group of HWS students and I were in the terminal about to board the plane, beginning our trip to Nicaragua. I felt a great sense of accomplishment, being able to extend this rewarding experience to my fellow classmates.”

Ranieri is an economics major and a history and public policy minor with a concentration in development. He is a member of the varsity Hobart squash team and a Student Health Awareness Peer Educators facilitator. This fall, he will join the Centennial Leadership Program.

In the photo above, Ranieri (top row center) is in Nicaragua with fellow HWS students and Alejandra Molina (bottom right), professor of Spanish and Hispanic Studies and director of the office of international affairs at HWS.