Quick Contact

Ronald Porter
Acting 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

Peru - Spring Break 2012


View photos from Peru

When most people envision Peru, they see a lush Andean landscape, ancient Incan temples, fine cuisine, and a culturally exquisite populace. Although these are undoubtedly a sampling of Peru's main attractions, the country offers so much more that the typical traveler rarely experiences. This March, 11 Eckerd students and 1 staff member worked alongside a small settlement community called 30 de Mayo on the outskirts of Lima, a part of the country excluded from the glossy pages of guidebooks and extravagant travelogues. The week was spent working with a non-profit called Niño Luz, which aims to improve educational opportunities and preserve cultural traditions among youth living in this impoverished neighborhood.

After a late-night airport pickup by the NGO director and his family involving traditional flute music and bustling conversation, it was clear from the onset it was going to be a memorable week. We settled into our home-away-from-home with our new Peruvian family, beginning work the next morning amid the steep, rocky foothills of the Andes Mountains. Efforts throughout the week contributed to the construction of a new classroom for preschool students. With the guidance of skilled local workers, the group made iron framing out of rebar, demolished an old shelter, excavated a rocky hillside with shovels and pickaxes, mixed several batches of cement, constructed a cement base for a wall, and built a brick wall. The work was grueling, but the group was fueled by hearty Peruvian cooking and unbridled enthusiasm (not to mention brute strength). While the classroom is not entirely complete, significant strides were made on the project, which should be finished in the near future.

Although the majority of the week was spent doing service, there was time for a few diversions. We visited ancient ruins, toured the center of Lima, shopped an Incan market, and enjoyed beachside ceviche. We also had the opportunity to participate in a mountaintop Incan ceremony and a traditional festival. For many, the week was a first glimpse into the extreme poverty that plagues much of Latin America- in Peru more than one fifth of the population lives on less than $2 US a day. For all, it was also a unique opportunity to experience Incan culture, develop sense of community amongst our group and local hosts, and contribute to the efforts of an admirable social organization.

View photos from Peru

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.