Quick Contact

Ronald Porter
Acting Director of Service-Learning

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

porterrk@eckerd.edu

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

Service-Learning

Service Learning

Ecuador: Spring Break 07

Ecuador

View photos from Ecuador

There are parts of the world where education is not a universally available privilege. There are places where children walk several hours to attend school, and where the connection between poverty and lack of education is painfully obvious. The rural, indigenous town of Caluquí, located high in the Ecuadorian And\es, is one of those places.

For a week and half this March, eleven Eckerd College students worked to improve the conditions of la Escuela Tomas Rivadeneira, the only school in Caluquí, a farming community of approximately two-hundred Quichua-speaking families. In conjunction with Cielo Azul, a Swiss NGO, Tomas Rivadeneira works to break the cycle of poverty most indigenous families face through quality education while also preserving their rich, traditional culture.

We lived at the school while working in Caluquí, sleeping together on a classroom floor and cooking meals together in the small school kitchen. Eckerd students painted the entire exterior of the school, constructed an entire playground—a first for the community—and also brought six skateboards to donate to the students. Staying in the community allowed us a high level of daily interaction with the students, aged six to eleven years old, and we got to know them and their living conditions on a personal level while seeing a part of Ecuador that few tourists ever do. We learned that Caluquí is an extremely poor area (the average household income is about $200/month), a place where most children are unable to attend school and work the land much as previous generations have done for thousands of years. Few homes have electricity, there are no stores or paved roads, and some of the kids have to walk more than two hours through the mountains just to get to school.

Although the majority of our time was spent in service, we also got to enjoy many of the cultural and environmental wonders of Ecuador. We bargained for handicrafts at the famous Otavalo market, hiked around volcanic crater lakes, walked through waterfalls, saw Andean condors, and got lost in the cobblestone streets of the Old Town in Quito. Before we returned to the states many of us were already planning our next trip back to Caluquí and other parts of Ecuador, ready to continue the service he began.

View photos from Ecuador

Reflective Service-Learning Portfolio

Triton Track

Current Calls to Action

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.