To BRIDGE means to connect, to link, to bring together. At Salesianum, the BRIDGE Program (Building Relationships in Diverse Global Environments) expands student perspectives through service learning rooted in interpersonal connections and personal stories that stretch us beyond our comfort zones. It means meeting and learning from people in a variety of cultural environments, experiencing life in new and unfamiliar contexts, and finding meaning in forming new connections based on empathy and mutual respect.

Domestic Trips: Through the BRIDGE program, Salesianum students travel throughout the United States to learn about the issues facing local communities in our own nation. From combatting gang violence by creating jobs and economic opportunities with Fr. Greg Boyle, SJ, and Homeboy Industries in Los Angeles, to building homes for flood victims and the rural poor with Habitat for Humanity in West Virginia, to hearing the challenges and daily struggles faced by the homeless and addicted of Camden, NJ, our students are challenged to grow in compassion and in their understanding of complex issues by meeting real people and hearing their stories.

  • Civil Rights Road Trip: Students will travel (flight) to Atlanta, Georgia, to being a road trip through the American South (Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Tennessee), where they will follow the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr and the growth of the American Civil Rights Movement.
  • Los Angles:  Students will travel (flight) to Los Angeles to learn about the issues of homelessness, poverty, addiction, and gang violence and how the residents of Los Angeles are confronting those issues. They will work with Homeboy Industries (gang rehabilitation), Guadalupe Homeless Project, and the St. Vincent de Paul Society (homeless veterans). They will also visit many colleges and cultural sites: UCLA, USC, Loyola, Santa Monica Pier, Hollywood Boulevard, and the Griffith Observatory.

Domestic & International BRIDGE Trips

International Trips: BRIDGE isn't limited to the United States; Salesians have been touched by the stories, kindness, and hospitality of different peoples and cultures worldwide. Thanks to Oblate connections across the world, we have had opportunities to learn in Latin America, the Caribbean, and Africa. Below is a listing of the locations we have visited.

  • Benin: immersion experience that includes participation in the Salesian Marathon founded by Oblates in the city of Parakou and the opportunity to stay with host families in West Africa.
  • Ecuador: Cultural Immersion and the exploration of urban poverty in South America.
  • El Paso: Students will travel (flight) to the Mexican-American border in El Paso, Texas, to learn in person about the issues facing that area of our country. We partner with a local church serving the refugees at the border. Students will meet with and talk to local aid workers, immigration lawyers, border patrol agents, local ranchers, a federal judge, and refugees. They will also visit many local cultural sites in the El Paso area.
  • El Salvador: partnering with Crispaz to walk in the footsteps of St. Oscar Romero and the Jesuit Martyrs and the ongoing struggle for justice in Salvadoran villages and rural communities.
  • Haiti: working with Oblate contacts and HandsTogether to assist with humanitarian, medical, and educational projects and connect with local students in the Cite Soleil slum outside Port-au-Prince.
  • Mexico: studying immigration through the firsthand accounts of border patrol, asylum seekers, local residents, and the recently deported in Nogales and Juarez.
  • Possible Future Trips: communities served by the Oblates of Saint Francis de Sales in Haiti and South Africa.