Spotlight on Lucas Turner

Meet Lucas Turner, a Next Gener with a heart for social impact on a global scale. Through his work with BuildOn, he is supporting and educating communities in countries such as Nepal, Haiti, and Nicaragua.

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Tell us about BuildOn and the work you do. 

buildOn is breaking the cycle of poverty, illiteracy and low expectations through service and education. Throughout Nepal, Malawi, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Mali, Nicaragua and Haiti, buildOn is partnering with incredible and resilient communities to build primary schools. Over 1,200 buildOn schools are educating over 155,000 children, adults and grandparents. In my role as Community Engagement Manager of the East Coast I work with inspiring high school and university students, entrepreneurs and creatives who fundraise to build a school and then travel to break ground on that school, live with host families, engage in cultural activities and have a life changing experience.


What is BuildOn Trek, and how can Next Geners get involved?

Trek is a 7-10 day experience where Nex Geners have the opportunity to fully immerse themselves in another culture, all while making a tangible positive impact on the world. Trek consists of physically working on the construction of a primary school (think hand mixing concrete, digging foundations, tying rebar, etc.) hand in hand with the community members, living with host families in the village and engaging in meaningful cultural activities. Next Geners can collaborate and create an awesome group to fundraise to build a school and go on Trek this summer. Or, if going solo is their thing, they can fundraise for a portion of the school and get paired with another group of change-makers for their Trek. Check out this amazing video to get an idea for what Trek is all about! If interested, reach out to me at and I will get you all set up! 


What inspires your choice to give your life's work to social impact?

Every single day I wake up, I want to know that the hard work I put out into the world is helping someone in some way. Honestly, when I studied social entrepreneurship in college, I just wanted to get a job that allowed me to travel the world. Having accomplished that goal, I am now more motivated than ever because of the incredible people I built bonds with on those travels that are marginalized in some way. Having lived in villages without clean water, worked with impoverished women without ample career opportunities and worked alongside parents in villages where their children don't even have a school to go to extremely frustrated me. That frustration turned into motivation and now it is a non-negotiable that my career will always focus on social impact. 

Haley Smith