Caring for Costa Rica: School Supplies Headed South
Published: Saturday, April 28, 2012
Updated: Friday, April 27, 2012 13:04
If you’re lucky enough to plan it out on time, studying abroad throughout college can be one of the most valuable experiences one may ever endure. Many students head to Europe, others to Australia or Japan.
Lauren Bergeron, a senior majoring in Spanish and Teaching English as a Second Language, decided to head just south of the equator to Costa Rica. In the midst of Bergeron’s dedication to aiding a volunteer organization study, she developed enthusiasm and participated in Costa Rica Outreach to share with campus her experience.
While Bergeron was down in Costa Rica last spring, she went on a search for people to help when she was back in Plymouth. Bergeron was obligated to do so as a requirement of winning the Barbara Willey Scholarship for International Study. “I had to somehow connect my study abroad experience with the Plymouth community. I wanted to find a volunteer, non-profit organization and find a way to help them out and send care packages” Bergeron explained.
Successful in her search, Bergeron decided to allocate the supplies and money donations she would raise to Obras del Espiritu Santo (Works of the Holy Spirit) in San Jose. “I toured the place a few times and it was just the coolest organization ever. I loved the people there.”This completely volunteer based organization “provides services free of charge to orphaned children, homeless and low income families,” as Bergeron stated in her introductory proposal.
She met with people within the organization to further develop the direction of the outreach program and what they would need, “I met with the director there and she said she would love for us to send some educational materials for the school program.”
Bergeron knows the people who will be receiving the donations and materials that were collected within the last two weeks will be extremely thankful, “they just seem to be so appreciative.” She got to see that appreciation first hand while in San Jose, “they are so grateful and it was really neat to see that.”
Back in Plymouth, the collection process did pretty well and Bergeron got some great help from her friends in the World Language Society, of which she was formerly president.
It’s never easy to get everything you need from college kids without much extra money, but outside sources were interested in helping the project, “we got involved with the missions committee at the local church and they said they were interested in donating money to buy some materials.”
The current president of the World Language Society, Carlos Taveras, was instrumental in helping the cause with one of its biggest issues. “Carlos presented in front of the student senate and we were able to get a grant for all of the money that it would cost to ship the supplies.”
The supplies collected this month will be shipped to San Jose at the close of the semester, but Bergeron is hoping that this collection can happen yearly with the help of the World Language Society, “even though I’m graduating this year I’m trying to pass down the tradition to the people in the club.“
As for the future of Costa Rica Outreach at Plymouth, Bergeron thinks the relationship could evolve into something even more exciting for students who want to travel, “as of right now it’s just about sending stuff but we would love to, at some point, take a trip over there and help out.” The personal delivery could be an awesome way for Plymouth State students to help spread hope globally. “We could go over, volunteer and actually get to meet the people we’re helping.” The great thing about this trip would be that any student who shows an interest could be chosen to go. The group will need some students majoring in Spanish “to help with translation,” says Bergeron but “it’s really open to anyone who may want to go.”
Costa Rica Outreach is another great way that students from Plymouth State can provide services that surpasses international borders. In the years to come, this program and the World Language Society could do great things with Obras del Espiritu Santo, but for now, Lauren Bergeron is happy with this year’s success, “I’m just excited the stuff will go to good use.”
Anyone interested in Costa Rica Outreach or joining the World Language Society can contact next year’s president Mike Farkas at email@example.com.