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A Journey to Remember

led2serve, a thriving non-profit organization, is in it’s eighth year of providing middle and high school youth with fun and meaningful service mission journeys for their spring and fall breaks. Their trips combine rewarding service to others with an adventurous component to provide a well-rounded experience that is second to none.

Founded in 2009, led2serve was created to equip, inspire, and mobilize people to serve others locally, nationally, and through many regions of Costa Rica. “Engaging students at every grade level is something that changes their lives dramatically”, says Vanessa Puleo, Founder and Executive Director, “When a student engages in a life-changing serving opportunity during a class trip whether their sixth grade, or their senior year…something eventually clicks. They begin to see life, serving, fun and community blend as one. Eventually, they can envision incorporating a piece of serving into every place they travel.”

Service projects can range from building a ramp for the disabled, painting a school, or participating in an environmental clean up effort. Students then are able to balance their hard work by taking part in activities such as zip-lining, snorkeling, white water rafting and other fun and adventurous activities.

The team at led2serve has learned, over the years, the ability for young adults to serve and play together fosters a strong team spirit and support that is unrivaled. They customize trips whether the school sending their students is public or private, small groups or large. The goal is to create well designed partnerships that align with each specific class and goals. In fact, some classes will serve and play together during led2serve journeys for as many as five or six years in a row, allowing the students to continually strengthen and grow their interpersonal relationships with others over time and experience a truly rewarding time in their lives.

Building Character through Service Journeys

st johnsAre you looking to be a better person inside and out? Founder and Executive Director, Vanessa Puleo, states it best. "Quite simply, it all comes down to who you hang with. If you want to play great tennis, play with someone who's better than you. If you want to be an amazing artist, take lessons from the best. And if you want to be a person of character and integrity, and be a better person yourself....hang out with people who have those characteristics. Watch what they do, read what they do, and serve like they do. Chances are they are serving others along their walk of life." 

While led2serve has offered meaningful Journeys for the past six years, this year is a milestone. Puleo, along with seven other Journey Leaders, are intentionally pour themselves into the led2serve mission to equip, inspire and mobilize the leaders of tomorrow. From Service Learning Journeys on St. Simon Island, to Service Mission teams in Cherokee, NC ~ Journey Leaders are digging deep into instilling leadership skills, team building activities and devotional time for those with a faith foundation. All this is being accomplished during their customized Service Journey. 

asa 2“It’s important for students to understand that they can play, adventure, laugh and serve all in the same day. Serving others does not mean volunteering for hours doing something that has no meaning. Serving others means doing something of meaning and value for another person - which molds a persons character in the process. It's our responsibility as adults to teach the leaders of tomorrow that a well balanced life means investing in others as you also invest in yourself."  

This summer over 85 young adults have registered for Journeys that focus on life skills and team work. They will engage in projects for widow, elderly and disabled individuals, along with commmunity based projects in the USA. During their adventures they will raft down the river, zipline through the Blue Ridge Mountains and exploring the Cumberland Reserve! 

led2serve mobilizes family, student, youth and all teams with a heart to serve others. Visit the calendar of UPCOMING JOURNEYS to find on that fits your serving heart this year. Or, customize your own Journey for a group of friends!

The Environment and Relationships

Picking ripe coffee beans, planting fields of corn and engaging in various reforestation projects around the farm were the ways that a led2serve team served locally at Arenal Vida Campesina in La Fortuna, Alajuela, Costa Rica. These students worked together in three groups to learn and cultivate new skills and enjoy fellowship with one another. The purpose of this serving day was to provide these students with a hands-on learning experience of a typical day for employees on the farm. This service learning project gave the students the opportunity to engage in community and environmental sustainability education during their month-long stay in Costa Rica. 

 

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With led2serve’s mission to build relationships within the communities they serve, Arenal Vida Campesina has been a partner location for led2serve over the past five years. Arenal Vida Campesina is a self-sustained, organic and cultural education center that strives to share the true life of a rural Costa Rican family and preserve the customs and traditions of Costa Rica. 

 

The team was educated about the importance of producing crops in sustainable form and how to integrate with the local community to provide what is necessary. With an afternoon full of service, students gained firsthand knowledge on how a family-owned farm strives to survive and develop for future years. “I really enjoyed serving and interacting with members of the local community during our service project,” Mary Beth McWhirt said. “It was great to learn firsthand how an organic farm operates and runs on a daily basis in Costa Rica.”

 

Community Connections in Nuevo Arenal

IMG 2163(as written in the Tico Times: March, 2013)

2013 marks the third year that the international volunteer group Led-2-Serve returned to Nuevo Arenal to participate in projects benefitting the community.

For most college students, spring break means traveling to places like Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and Cancun, Mexico, for two weeks of partying and chilling out. The 26-member Led-2-Serve group included sixteen third-year students from Florida Southern College in Lakeland, Florida, who had more constructive ideas of what to do with their free time.

Dividing into work teams, the students and their Led-2-Serve mentors (coordinated by Vanessa Puleo) restored and repainted the metal roof of the high school, cleaned and painted chairs at the bullring salon, constructed a fenced play yard for pre-school children whose parents are working, and built a fence enclosure for the vegetable garden at the Asamiento school. Sonja Wagner conducted disscussions on nutrition at the school.

Read more ...

Future Journeys

Mar 19th - Mar 24th
Alternative Spring Break, DC (FULL)
Washington, DC
Apr 22nd - Apr 22nd
SaturdayServe, Ronald McDonald House
2201 Alden Rd., Orlando, FL 32803
Jun 25th - Jul 2nd
International Leader Training
Costa Rica
Jun 25th - Jul 2nd
The Costa Rican Journey
Nuevo Arenal, Costa Rica
Jul 30th - Aug 4th
Service Misson ~ (FULL)
Key Largo, Florida
Sep 11th - Sep 13th
Southwind Adventure ~ ASA (7th)
Ocala, Florida
Sep 11th - Sep 15th
St. Simon Island ~ ASA (9th)
St. Simon Island, Georgia

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