In 1991, Fintan Kilbride, launched an international cooperative educational summer school program at Neil McNeil Catholic Secondary School to introduce students to the conditions of those living in developing countries and to serve the poor. He began his program by taking groups of high school students to Jamaica on a work/study trip for 2 weeks each summer. Fintan took groups every summer, sometimes for 4 weeks until his final trip in 2004. Over the years, as the group evolved, it was named Students Crossing Borders (SCB).
Since 2005, SCB groups have been travelling to Kingston twice yearly, in the winter and in the summer. The winter trips were started by Lynn Caruso, a professor in the School of Early Childhood Education at Seneca College in Toronto. The intent of the trip was to provide ECE students an opportunity to learn from an international educational field placement experience in a country less fortunate than their own. These trips continue and now welcome students, alumni, faculty and staff from all Seneca departments and programs to participate. A more diverse group of volunteers allows us to do so much more in the communities where we work. Shortly after the Seneca trips began, Fintan became ill and he handed over the planning and running of the group to Lynn. The program continues to evolve and is open to anyone interested in participating in this wonderful volunteer opportunity.
While in Jamaica, participants work in some of the most impoverished areas of Kingston in a variety of settings, including a school in a community built at Kingston's working landfill site, a home for children living with HIV and AIDS, and a home for seniors. The group's role is to serve the communities and organizations in whatever way they can, and to provide a voice for the voiceless. The opportunity to take part in this incredible trip is open to anyone interested in participating; the one condition is that they are going for the right reasons - to serve, not to vacation. Over the years, we have expanded the sites we visit and the work that we do in each location.