McCarthy High School-Global Education Squad, March 11-17, 2018- IMPACT REPORT

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The McCarthy High School Global Education Squad made an incredible impact in Costa Rica from March 11-18. Consisting of seventeen world-changing students, and 3 dedicated teachers, the group embarked on their journey to Costa Rica to help improve educational outcomes and create inspiring learning environments.

Every morning the students volunteered at Rio Regado Elementary School and participated in cultural activities in the afternoon. In just one week, they completed nine manual construction projects, volunteered at an elderly center, and hosted several educational workshops.

The Squad split into groups and worked on different projects each day. From planning and sketching it all out to measuring the wood and noting the steps that were needed to executing the projects, the students took a leadership role in implementation. Some students floated from project to project each day, but there was a “core” group of students dedicated to each specific project throughout the week . One of the manual construction projects that they worked on was constructions recycling stations. Creating this helped both the Costa Rican students and McCarthy students recognize the value of recycling. The recycling stations encouraged students to be more mindful when disposing of waste, and gave them the avenue to recycle items that would have otherwise been disposed.

They also constructed hand-washing stations through our WASH in Schools initiative. WASH in Schools improves attendance, health, and cognitive development; increased girls’ participation; establishes positive hygiene behaviors; offers the opportunity to introduce better WASH practices in families and communities, and addresses issues of inequity and exclusion. The students also painted three murals to help beautify the schools, including an anti-bullying mural.  

In conjunction with the manual construction projects, the students hosted workshops to explain the importance of the projects they completed. Their recycling workshop taught students from Kindergarten to 6th grade about the importance of recycling. They were able to explain how recycling can make a difference, and empowered students to make a difference environmentally in their community. They also hosted hygiene and handwashing workshops, where students were taught how germs were spread, and how they can help prevent themselves from getting sick. To compliment their anti-bullying mural, they taught their students the importance of treating each other with kindness and respect. Over 60 students from school participated in the workshops. At the end of their time volunteering in the schools, the Squad had extra wood leftover. They took the initiative themselves to build a backboard for a basketball hoop. This Squad really made the most of their time! The students also visited an elderly home, Manos De Jesus twice, where they helped to feed residents, prepare meals, and chat with them. The residents were so grateful for their help, as they often do not get visitors.

After volunteering every day, students had the opportunity to learn more about Costa Rican culture in the afternoon. They participated in cooking classes, dance classes, visited local sites including a volcano and a stunning lookout point. During their cultural lessons, the students were able to learn even more about a different culture, and unwind after a productive morning of volunteering. Dance class was their favorite, as they listened to spanish music and learned fun and fast moving dance moves. The McCarthy High School Students were incredibly dedicated to making a lasting difference in the community of Orosi Valley. The students pushed their limits and impressed school administrators and uplifted the entire community through their diligent work.

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