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The Westcoast Connection Blog

Life Changing Experiences

37,371 hours of Community Service this Summer

37,371 hours of Community Service this Summer

Summer 2013 CS Hours Final - Community Service

This year you completed an astonishing 37,371 hours of service in the summer! This incredible accomplishment works out to be the equivalent of 4.3 years of volunteer work within the communities we visited, and tops the previous year’s count by 5,506 hours! From California to Alaska, Ecuador to South Africa and destinations as far as Thailand, you have truly made a lasting impact on the communities you have worked with and learned so much in the process. Here are just a few of the highlights, from projects around the world:

 1)     United States – Hawaii

In Hawaii, groups had the opportunity to work with two Boys and Girls Clubs and organized day camps for underprivileged children in the communities. Whether it was playing sports, leading arts and crafts activities, or reading, the trip members didn’t hesitate to pitch in and help the communities they became a part of. The groups also worked with one of the partners that 360° Student Travel works with worldwide, Habitat for Humanity, to build several homes on the island of Oahu.

2)     Costa Rica – Central Valley, Dominical

In Costa Rica, along with the Costa Rican Humanitarian Foundation, travelers helped to build a library and a home. From the initial ground breaking through the laying of foundation, floors, and putting up walls they did it all. An incredible accomplishment! This was also a rare opportunity for the local children to play organized games and participate in activities throughout the day.

 3)     Italy – Barcelona and Florence

Last summer on the Community Service elective on the Pre-College Enrichment program in Barcelona, teenagers worked at the Juvenile Center with children aged 5-9 years old. In Florence, they volunteered at an elementary school day camp. It was an amazing opportunity for participants to interact with disadvantaged children and bring smiles to their faces while teaching English and practicing their Spanish.

4)     Peru – Cusco, Amazon Jungle  

Heading down to South America and the Amazon Jungle on the Peru Community Service program, trip members worked with a local co-op of farmers and community members to help clear land for an endangered turtle protection site. They spent time with the local community playing soccer and practicing each other’s languages, as well as working with a Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, and truly made a lasting impact.

5)     Thailand – Chiang Rai, Maeslak

Travellers in Thailand had the unique opportunity to volunteer with an Elephant Research Project where they assisted in behavioral studies on the elephants and helped the mahouts feed and take care of them. The groups were also able to teach English at a local school, running activities and developing a fun curriculum for the students. An experience not soon forgotten by both the Thai students and their travellers!

6)     South Africa – Kruger, St. Lucia & Cape Town

Students on the South Africa Community Service trip worked in the rural area of Acornhoek near Kruger National Park to refurbish a primary school with new paint, pathways and a self-sustaining eco-garden to nourish the school children in the area. Any surplus produce from the eco-garden gets sold in the market and the funds get put back into the school by buying more seedlings for the garden beds. The group also put the efforts to good use in St. Lucia where they volunteered at a local crèche. They repaved the dilapidated flooring, made new teaching resources and acted as assistants to the teacher who was happy to have some of the 360 students play with the South African children. Their biggest accomplishment in St. Lucia though was building over 200 bricks so that the renovations to the school could finally commence!

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts! Your hard work and dedication this past summer improved the lives of thousands. Remember, to carry all your experiences home with you and continue to use what you learned on destination this summer throughout the year in your home, school and community.

The Westcoast Blogger