Since the early 1990’s, Putney’s Community Service projects have sown seeds for progress throughout small communities in Latin America, the Caribbean, Asia, Africa, and Oceania. Each year, Putney Community Service alumni return from a summer abroad and report that they’ve learned an important lesson about community service: in working alongside our hosts to improve their communities, we gain much more than we can possibly give.
This summer, rise early and work in teams to improve a school or community center, repair housing for a low-income family, run a summer camp for local children, and become immersed in the life of your host community. Choose a 2, 3, or 4 week-long project where you work alongside local people, learn new skills, and build friendships across cultural and language boundaries. Contribute to the common good at the local level and take an essential step toward the goal of creating a better world.
– Teddy Hurst, New Canaan High School, New Canaan, CT
In addition to group service projects, design your own independent project. Whether it’s organizing a sporting event, learning to play a traditional instrument, or shadowing a dairy farmer, tailor your project to your own interests and later present your experiences to your group.
On weekends, take overnight trips from your host community to explore the cultural richness and scenic beauty of the region in which you are based. Learn to surf the smooth Pacific swell in Costa Rica, dance and drum at a local chief’s birthday in Ghana, ride horseback across the Andean altiplano, snorkel with sea lions in the Galapagos Islands, visit a floating village in Vietnam’s Ha Long Bay, or see big game up close on safari in Tanzania.
To succeed on a Putney Community Service project, you must be willing to work hard, have a sensitivity toward others, and have the ability to live simply. Upon successful completion of the program, participants receive a certificate from Putney recognizing between 30 – 100 hours of community service work, depending on the length of the project.