Every summer, a team of altruistic volunteers travel to The Gambia in West Africa for three weeks of community service work. Our objective is to work side by side with Gambian youth to support the actualization of their potential through contributions to their nation.
The Gambia Project works alongside two organizations, Side-by-Side Organization and Service for Peace in The Gambia, to perform various service projects. Past service projects have included: character education and purity seminars, trash clean-up campaigns, educational conferences, cultural understanding activities, and interactive contributions toward community needs. The Gambia Project incorporates fun and learning into every activity participants do, including visits to historical sites such as Kunta Kinteh Island, shopping in local markets, participating in sporting activities, and dancing:
In 1996, Randy and Beverly Berndt were inspired to go to The Gambia as representatives of Family Federation for World Peace and Unification. Randy went for 2 years before Beverly. She was encouraged as well by the enormous interest and support of families in her school New Hope Academy. Now, sixteen years later, Beverly is still traveling to the beautiful country almost every summer, bringing youth and adult volunteers alike for a summer of service.
The Gambia Project currently works alongside the organizations Service for Peace in The Gambia and Side-by-Side Organization. Both programs are registered non-profit organizations, and advise us on the needs to be addressed through our service projects every summer.
Side-by-Side Organization, previously known as the United Youth Association, was formed in March of 2005 by a small group of volunteers with three objectives in mind: create active awareness for the care of the environment, emphasize the importance of knowledge through education, and provide sexual and reproductive health education for Gambia’s youth. The program is a relative success, with three current operations running in the country and an estimated annual membership of 300 participants.
Service for Peace in The Gambia is a well-renowned program which encourages service work of varying kinds. Recruiting volunteers from every walk of life, Service for Peace in The Gambia has individuals contribute to their local community throughout the year. Beverly Berndt began Service for Peace in The Gambia back in 2003, and the Gambian youth have thus developed the program on their own.
Membership for both programs in The Gambia fluctuates between 200 to 300 participants every year, not including the American volunteers that visit. By teaming up with both programs, service work is effectively carried through and all participants experience a lasting impact emotionally, spiritually, and physically.