The goal of our Project Costa Rica Community Service programs is not only to help the local community, but also for our participants to learn about themselves and to grow through their experiences. Upon completion of Project Costa Rica, each participant will receive a certificate recognizing 40 hours of community service credit (14-day program) or 56 hours of community service credit (20-day program). Our participants volunteer with the same project throughout the week for four hours per day, in order to create meaningful bonds between our volunteers and those they are helping.
Volunteer at a Wildlife Rescue Center
Volunteering at the Wildlife Rescue Center, located on an 8-acre reserve on the edge of the rainforest, is a meaningful opportunity to care for abandoned and injured wildlife. The mission of the center is the care and eventual release of the animals into their natural habitats. Resident wildlife has included monkeys, kinkajous, peccaries, sloths, parrots, and other exotic animals. Our volunteers will work side-by-side with compassionate professionals in this government-supported sanctuary. Our participants' responsibilities include feeding the animals, cleaning the animals' living quarters, and working on long-term projects that benefit the rescue center and its inhabitants. In past summers our projects have included building new enclosures, painting the property's buildings, clearing new pathways through the jungle, and improving the general condition of the rescue center. Each volunteer will participate in each activity throughout the program. Due to our hard work and commitment to each task, the rescue center is able provide a better quality of life to their residents.
**Please note that due to local laws in Costa Rica, non-professionals and visitors are not permitted to directly handle any of the animals on-site.
Volunteer at a Dog Sanctuary
If you love dogs, this is the place for you! Lend your heart, time, and energy to an incredible dog sanctuary, home to 80 dogs looking for their forever homes. Nestled in the lush, green landscape of La Fortuna, the dog sanctuary relies on the support and time of volunteers, as well as financial contributions from the public to give these deserving dogs a loving home at the sanctuary until they are permanently adopted. Here you will walk, play, feed, bathe, clean and groom the dogs, as well as help with projects that will benefit the sanctuary and improve the lives of the dogs. Thanks to the hard work and commitment of our volunteers, the dog sanctuary is able to provide extra love, care and attention to the dogs. This is truly the experience of a lifetime – one you will never forget! For dog lovers, only.
**This project is only available on the 20-day program.
Volunteer at a Day-Care Center
The Cen-Cinai Center, or "Cen" as it is known locally, is a government-funded organization that aims to create optimal conditions for education and development in impoverished communities of Costa Rica. The center’s objectives are to give pre-kindergarten children that live in poverty the opportunity to develop their physical, intellectual, and social potential. During the first week of the 20-day program**, our volunteers will work on projects that improve the general condition of the Center (the children are not at the Cen this week due to schools being closed in Costa Rica). Our volunteers have helped by participating in several projects: painting and improving the buildings and classrooms, planting new flowers and plants to beautify the grounds, and rebuilding the playgrounds on the property. During the second and third weeks of the 20-day program, when school is back in session, our participants will also have an opportunity to spend some time with the center’s children, helping the local teachers with various tasks. Each volunteer will participate in each activity, every day. This is a great opportunity to improve the quality of life for Costa Rican children.
**Please note that schools in Costa Rica are open during both weeks of the 14-day program and volunteers will participate in all of the above activities.
**Please note that in order to interact with the children at the center, proof of a Covid-19 vaccination is required by the local Costa Rican authorities. Teenagers who have not received the vaccine prior to the summer will be able to work at the Cen, but will not be able to interact with the children.
Costa Rica is known for its lush rainforests and beautiful landscapes. If you are passionate about nature, this experience is for you. You will work on a sustainable environmental project, helping build accessible hiking trails through the rainforest for people with disabilities. You will work with local professionals as you build the trails, paint signs, and provide general upkeep of the paths and surrounding area. This project is also part of an environmental program for a local elementary school and is being used as an educational component for the school children.
- Summer Community Service participants volunteer with the same project for the length of the program in order to fully realize the importance of their project from beginning to end.
- Participants volunteer Monday - Friday, four hours per day, for the duration of the program, earning 40 or 56 hours of Summer Community Service credit.
- Service project space is limited at each volunteer site, so project selections are granted following your date of enrollment, based on a first-come, first-served basis.
- The goal of community service is not only to give back to the local community but also for our participants to learn and grow through their experiences.