Quick Contact

Ronald Porter
Director of Service-Learning

Eckerd College
Office of Service-Learning
4200 54th Avenue South
St. Petersburg, FL 33711


toll-free: 800-456-9009
local: 727-864-7512


Service Learning

Kyle Hayes '04

Environmental Studies major

Kyle Hayes 

My name is Kyle Hayes. I graduated from Eckerd in 2004 after completing four of the best years of my life studying Environmental Science. The Eckerd community was influential in shaping the way I live my life, particularly how I view community service and involvement.

I'm proud to state that during my time at Eckerd I had a large influence on the creation of a campus wide recycling program. The recycling program was facilitated by students on a volunteer basis. A core group of individuals who shared a passion for cleaning up the environment and making a difference quickly gained a positive reputation around campus. The program picked up momentum and was awarded an E-cademy award for its achievements and influence on the campus. To my knowledge, the program is still in existence today. My involvement and experience in working to facilitate the recycling program provided valuable life lessons that I translated to my life after Eckerd.

Two weeks after graduation I moved to Costa Rica to pursue my goal/dream to live and work through surfing. Shortly after moving there I began working as a professional surf guide in a town called Playa Hermosa. After establishing my job I began working with friends and local business owners to start a recycling program. Attempting to start a program there proved to be a difficult endeavor. Slowly the program began to take shape after a lot of hard work and determination. The program is known as 'Reciclar Hermosa' and is still functioning today. Materials are collected in receptacles located around the town. The local school kids as well as others help to gather and separate the materials which are then sold to a local bottling company. The proceeds are then given to the local school. Through this process the local environment is cleaner and the litter has been transformed into a viable means of helping the local school. The program has had plenty of shortcomings and obstacles but continues to push on. The recent downturn in the global economy has translated to no market for the sale of the materials. However, Reciclar Hermosa is still functioning. Recently the local landfill has started a recycling center where our materials are now being deposited. Additionally, my friend and I established an annual surf contest to raise environmental awareness and funding to keep Reciclar Hermosa alive. The contest is held every year around the summer solstice and is known as the Soulstice Open Expression Session. The contest is influential in bringing together the whole community. The days leading up to the event include beach cleanups at various local beaches. The contest has proven to be a successful means of promoting the program and environmental awareness in the region. It has also become a platform to help fund additional programs for the community. This year marks the fifth annual event!

I moved back from Costa Rica three years ago and left the program in the hands of my friends and the community. Here in the states my wife and I have become involved with my local Special Olympics chapter as a coordinator. Working with the athletes is a rewarding experience that I would recommend to anyone. In addition to my work with the Special Olympics, my wife and I also volunteer for various programs throughout the city.

For more info on these programs check out Reciclar Hermosa and the Soulstice.

Reflective Service-Learning Portfolio

Triton Track

Calls for Participation

Academy Prep

Volunteer with Academy Prep

Academy Prep is a unique private middle school program serving 5th through 8th grade students in a low-income area. Students must qualify for need-based scholarships to attend and must have a desire to succeed in a rigorous academic environment. Academy Prep works with students to prepare them for higher education, maintaining relationships with graduates through high school, college, and into their adult lives.

YMCA Reads

Volunteer Mentors Needed

YMCA Reads! is an after-school reading assistance and mentoring program providing opportunities for at-risk and low-income children in kindergarten through third grade to develop the reading skills they need to succeed in school.

Notes from the Field

Servant Leaders blog
Service-Learning Interns blog
The service-learning student interns are increasing service involvement at Eckerd, becoming successful service leaders and helping students create a community around the values and challenges of servant-leadership.

Service Learning Profiles

Alumni Profiles

Read individual profiles of how involvement with Eckerd Service-Learning changed the lives of current students and alumni.  Learn more.