Students Lend a Hand in Costa Rica

As part of a service trip in May, the Rider group provided assistance in two villages outside of San Jose.
Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Eight students and recent graduates, and two staff members from Rider, participated in service projects in two villages outside of San Jose, Costa Rica, from May 14 to May 22.

In Cristo Rey, the Rider group worked with Nick Anderson, a Peacework field staff representative, to build an extension of a bridge in order to prevent community members from stepping in a waterway polluted with raw sewage. They also painted seven homes in bright colors, passed out bread to the residents and planted flowers.

Later, they spent three days in La Carpio, a former Nicaraguan refugee community, where they worked in two schools founded by Gail Nystrom, director of the Costa Rica Humanitarian Foundation. There, the Rider group taught English, and colored and sang songs with the children, ages 2 to 10. They also built bunk beds in the homes.

The trip, an annual Rider service project, was coordinated with Peacework, a nonprofit organization. Kim Cameron, assistant to the director of the Center for International Education, and Annie Pasqua, assistant director of Campus Life for Service Learning, served as the trip advisers. Cameron said the students also spent three nights with host families in Santa Ana.

“For more than half of the students it was their first time out of the country. They really embraced the experience,” Cameron said. “Some of them want to volunteer for the rest of their lives and are considering a career in the Peace Corps.”

In addition to the service projects, the students had a chance to visit a coffee farm and a church, take salsa lessons, hike and take a canopy tour in a rain forest, and meet an indigenous healer.

The participating students included Chris Werner ’13 of Hillsborough, N.J., a Secondary Education and History dual major; Arly Collins ’14 of Jersey City, N.J., a Psychology major; Jessica Zimmer ’13 of Cranford, N.J., a Communication major; Tommy Saladino ’13 of New City, N.Y., a Psychology major; Jenn Moscatelli ’13 of Point Pleasant Borough, N.J., a Public Relations major; Holly Fuller ’14 of Hamilton, N.J., a Graphic Design major; and recent graduates Angelique Olmo ’12 of Princeton, N.J., and Hilary Giunta ’12 of Basking Ridge, N.J.

Click on the photo gallery on the right for a sampling of snapshots taken during the trip.

Cameron and Pasqua are planning another service trip for May 2013. To learn how to get involved, please contact Kim Cameron at kcameron@rider.edu.

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Rider students and staff paint homes in Cristo Rey during a service trip in May.