For eight years, Upper School Bible teacher John Collmus has organized and led student trips to Granada, Nicaragua each summer to work alongside current Covenant parents Charles and Sarah Kaye at El Puente, a vibrant outreach ministry in the local Granada community. Through partnerships with local churches, drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs, youth clubs, and economic development initiatives like The Jicaro Project, El Puente is making strides in the community to empower Nicaraguans to develop and sustain programs that will help them rise out of poverty.

“Our students say it’s one of the best things they’ve done during their time at Covenant,” says John who took another student group in June. “I don’t advertise the trip, but I do talk about it each year in my classroom, and the students spread the word too, so the participation is really grassroots.” John reports that faculty members take the trips, as well as parents of students. “Sometimes we get whole families,” he says.

This year, El Puente is building a school for local community children to attend called Siembra de Vida—meaning “sowing life.” A kindergarten class is already underway with more grades to be added as the construction continues.  “Our students have talked about coming back to teach someday,” says John, whose daughter Laura is a teacher at another school in Nicaragua. “One of the best things I did as a parent was to take my children to a third world country. It’s a reality check to see how most people in the world live.”

After taking the trip with the school several times, Drew Arnold ’15 is traveling independently to Nicaragua this summer for a month. “It makes an impact in their lives,” says John.

For more information or to get involved, contact John Collmus at

Photo credit: Allie Merrill