When we were planning our trip to Costa Rica this summer, I wanted to make sure the kids saw more of the country than just the resort. I wanted to make sure that they experienced the wildlife and rainforest. I also wanted to explain to them what a third world country was and that the poor far outnumber the rich and middle class. I wanted them to understand that they were very fortunate to visit a beautiful resort and that tourism and us visiting helps the country. But I wanted to figure out a way for them to learn specifically about children in need in some of the communities in Costa Rica. That’s how I found Creciendo Juntos.
Travel has been an important part of our family since Maggie was a baby. As they all grow, I want them to not just travel as “a vacation” but to learn about other cultures and also to learn to help where they can. We stayed at the Four Seasons Resort in Costa Rica and the concierge there told me about Creciendo Juntos via email. He then introduced me to the director of the program and we began to chat about ways my kids could actively help children in Costa Rica on our trip.
The director told me that the schools were very much in need of all supplies. The schools were always in need but after the past year the school was more in need than ever. I asked for some specific lists of items and a plan to get the supplies to the students.
Next I spent some time explaining to my kids that schools around the world are not ALL like the schools they attend. I showed them photos of some of the schools in Costa Rica and they quickly understood the need. I gave them each a copy of the lists of items that Creciendo Juntos gave me and we took a trip to Target. I explained to the kids that they would have to carry whatever they bought to Costa Rica.
We brought all of the supplies home and they bagged them up and we put them in each of their carry ons. I was trying my hardest to keep them engaged with the project and giving to children in Costa Rica.
Given the current situation we were not able to visit the school. In the future I hope we can. For now, we had to give the bags go to the concierge who passed them along to Creciendo Juntos.
A few days after we got home we got a photo from Creciendo Juntos. It was of the students at the school with the bags of supplies the kids brought! The supplies went to a 5th grade class. I was so thankful to get the photo. It really helped my kids see that the project was important and one of them even asked “can we do this for our next trip too?”.
If you are looking for an organization to support, please consider Creciendo Juntos. We saw first hand what they do and I know that right now there is need for much more than just school supplies. To learn more about the organization, click here. If you are interested in donating, click here.
I am now on the hunt for more organizations we can donate to when traveling and also service trips for families. Let me know if you have any ideas (email me!).