2018 Service Grants

Last Call for Enrollment!

It's not too late to enroll in a program this summer. Here's what you need to know.

*Click here to jump to available Service Grants for Summer 2018 Programs*

If you haven't enrolled in a program yet, it's not too late! Check out the story below of Becky and Serena, a mom-and-daughter duo from Oregon who found GLA's summer programs at the last minute and still managed to make Serena's dream trip to the Dominican Republic a reality.

Ready to make Summer 2018 the best summer yet?

Becky and Serena's story of signing on to a GLA program close to summer is more common than you might think! Call +1 858-771-0645 to begin, or head to the enrollment portal to start the application. Whether you're just figuring out whether this is the right fit or ready to take the plunge, talking to one of our friendly Enrollment Specialists can simplify next steps and help clarify all of your options.

Keep reading to explore programs where GLA is currently offering Service Grants.


We need your help! A number of GLA's service projects need a few more students to make them the best they can be. These programs are already guaranteed to run, but a few additional sets of helping hands can make the difference between potentially leaving a project at summer's end for our partners to finish, and being certain that we see the work through to completion. That's why we're offering $200 – $300 Service Grants to help world-changers like you travel to these communities.

We're offering Service Grants this summer in ChinaCosta RicaCubaThe Dominican RepublicGhanaHaitiIndiaPeruSouth Africa and Thailand.

Scroll down for a listing of available programs, dates and instructions to redeem the Service Grant.


China: Mandarin Service Adventure (21 days)

Volunteer in China's Southwestern province with the Bai minority community, where residents are actively working to preserve their heritage and cultural traditions. During the Chinese Cultural Revolution, thousands of important temples, buildings and cultural relics were destroyed or damaged, including many sites in the village where you’ll be living. Participate in a physical service project that restores these sites and helps bring modern tourism to the town. You’ll also volunteer on family farms, helping with harvesting and learning how residents of Shaxi’s beautiful valley are working to make their food systems more sustainable and biodynamic.

June 15 – July 5 | Enroll with $300 Service Grant using code WENEEDYOU300
July 9 – July 29 | Enroll with $300 Service Grant using code WENEEDYOU300


Costa Rica: Empowering Rainforest Communities™ (14 days)

With a population of only 200, Rancho Quemado is a small, rural settlement that has called the incredibly biodiverse Osa Peninsula home for generations. As the town receives an increased trickle of tourist traffic, you’ll help its residents with community refurbishment projects that help build a sustainable eco-tourism industry, such as painting community buildings, planting gardens, building fencing or helping with recycling and trash pickups. Live among native families in the heart of the rainforest, and be inspired to protect the traditional way of life and the region’s precious biodiversity.

June 16 – June 29 | Enroll with $200 Service Grant using code WENEEDYOU200
July 2 – July 15 | Enroll with $200 Service Grant using code WENEEDYOU200

Costa Rica: Protecting the Pacific™ (14 days)

Contaminants generated by tourists in the local community find their way into the ocean, endangering Bahia Ballena (Whale Bay) and its wildlife. Work alongside passionate ocean conservationists who are committed to protecting this natural resourcee and helping the small community develop sustainably, with consideration for the environment. Take part in a reforestation initiative, which protects beaches from erosion, provides suitable habitats for wildlife and combats climate change and sea level rise. Experience the “Pura Vida” way of life amidst breathtaking scenery where jungle, ocean and mountains meet.

June 20 – July 3 | *Waitlisted - Call us!*
July 7 – July 20 | Enroll with $200 Service Grant using code WENEEDYOU200
July 23 – August 5 | Enroll with $200 Service Grant using code WENEEDYOU200
August 9 – August 22 | Enroll with $200 Service Grant using code WENEEDYOU200

Costa Rica: Soccer Beyond Borders™ (14 days)

Soccer can be an effective vehicle for positive change and connecting cultures. Work on improving sports facilities and running youth soccer camps in small, rural beach towns, where public schools face the challenges of overcrowded classrooms and lack of resources. Collaborate with a local organization that strives to increase sports participation for girls: As popular as soccer is in Costa Rica, female participation is still significantly lower than male. By teaching all youth the importance of being active, healthy and involved in their communities, you’ll empower them to take the future into their own hands.

July 2 – July 15 | Enroll with $200 Service Grant using code WENEEDYOU200
July 18 – July 31 | Enroll with $200 Service Grant using code WENEEDYOU200

Costa Rica: The Initiative for Children™ (21-day program only)

While it has many progressive policies, Costa Rica’s rural populations can be overlooked, so volunteer efforts that help speed up skills development for children and bolster education are crucial. On this 21-day program, focus on providing integrated environmental education to youth of all ages. Work directly with students on reforestation and ecological preservation projects, encouraging them to become engaged in real-world issues that transcend classroom walls.

June 11 – July 1 | Enroll with $300 Service Grant using code WENEEDYOU300
July 6 – July 26 | Enroll with $300 Service Grant using code WENEEDYOU300
July 30 – August 19 | Enroll with $300 Service Grant using code WENEEDYOU300


Cuba: Cultural Odyssey™ (12 days)

Enduring economic hardship and a general lack of resources, the youth of Havana’s barrios began dropping out of school when urban decay took hold in the “Special Period,” a euphemism for the extended period of economic crisis in the 1990s. In the midst of the community’s struggle, a public art center called Muraleando was formed. Today, Muraleando is a hub for creativity as well as a gathering center that provides resources for local children and adults. Volunteer side-by-side with community members on diverse projects here. In the countryside of Viñales, volunteer at the social enterprise Finca Paraiso, which is part organic farm and part family-run restaurant.

June 24 – July 5 | Enroll with $200 Service Grant using code WENEEDYOU200

Cuba: Culture in Focus™ (10 days)

While learning the arts of photography and journalism, extend a hand of friendship to Cuban residents by volunteering on restoration and social projects taking place in Old Havana. Visit Muraleando, a community art organization that, in its two-and-a-half years of existence, has managed to physically transform a struggling barrio into a People’s Art Gallery. The changes are spiritual as well: A sense of belonging has developed where residents now feel empowered to solve problems with their own efforts. In the countryside of Viñales, volunteer at the social enterprise Finca Paraiso, which is part organic farm, part family-run restaurant.

July 9 – July 18 | Enroll with $200 Service Grant using code WENEEDYOU200


Dominican Republic: International Development Initiative™ (21 days)

In the Dominican Republic, you’ll go beyond typical community service activities and support NGOs with both volunteering and development fieldwork. Support ongoing initiatives to innovate clean water access, food security, public health, environmental protection, education, small business support, women’s empowerment and microfinance. You’ll be expected to interact with Dominican communities and conduct several community diagnostics—an important step in identifying and planning for needs before taking action. Follow models developed by the Peace Corps, United Nations, 7 Elements and more.

July 5 – July 25 | Enroll with $300 Service Grant using code WENEEDYOU300

Domincian Republic: Sports Service Adventure (14 days)

Whether you’re a star athlete or simply an enthusiast, a sports lover like you knows that the true power of the game lies in uniting communities, developing resilience, building confidence and inspiring healthy lifestyles. This is no truer in the Western world than it is in developing countries. In the Dominican Republic, work on physical projects to improve sports facilities for youth in at-risk communities—refurbish a local ballpark or basketball court, or help construct the new hangout for neighborhood youth. No matter your project, you’ll be building infrastructure that supports residents’ health and joy beyond their home and school lives. Take breaks during service to scrimmage and play pickup games with the local children. Try to keep up with their energy and passion!

June 19 – July 2 | Enroll with $200 Service Grant using code WENEEDYOU200
July 5 – July 18 | Enroll with $200 Service Grant using code WENEEDYOU200
July 21 – August 3 | Enroll with $200 Service Grant using code WENEEDYOU200


Ghana: Foundations of Global Health™ (14 days)

Work with local builders to complete, from start to finish, an essential community facility that will literally save lives for the next 30 years: a composting toilet. Before you wrinkle your nose, consider the critical importance of your work: This addition helps prevent the spread of disease and can even help local girls stay in school. The composting toilet, an eco-friendly and modern innovation, also produces high-quality fertilizer that can increase crop yields in a village where agriculture is extremely difficult. This program is incredibly culturally immersive: Spend time getting to know the families you’re building the toilet for, learn about maternal and neonatal health in rural Ghana, take part in high-energy drumming and dance sessions and help haul in the fishermen's nets each morning.

June 23 – July 6 | Enroll with $200 Service Grant using code WENEEDYOU200
July 10 – July 23 | Enroll with $200 Service Grant using code WENEEDYOU200
July 27 – August 9 | Enroll with $200 Service Grant using code WENEEDYOU200


Haiti: Global Health Initiative™ (10 days)

Haiti’s public health challenges stem largely from infrastructural weaknesses and other social issues. Therefore, we’ll spend some time assisting medical practitioners, but also work to address society’s larger, health-related concerns: unsafe housing, lack of educational infrastructure, food shortages, waterborne diseases and more. You’ll spend 4-5 days helping construct a school using innovative bottle-building techniques, and take advantage of the special opportunity to shadow local doctors providing pro bono consultations to at-risk communities. Increase the overall efficiency of the clinics and help provide healthcare services that otherwise might not be accessible.

June 12 – June 21 | Enroll with $200 Service Grant using code WENEEDYOU200
June 24 – July 3 | Enroll with $200 Service Grant using code WENEEDYOU200 *Space limited!*
July 26 – August 4 | Enroll with $200 Service Grant using code WENEEDYOU200


India: Service Through the Lens™ (21 days)

Service will remain the central component of your objective in India on this photojournalism program. As you take in Dharamsala’s diverse scenery and faces through photojournalism, give back to this community that faces challenges around education and quality of life. In the process, build a personal understanding of the community, allowing you to tell a clearer and more compelling story. You’ll spend time at a local daycare center where teachers and staff run their establishments with minimal resources. Bond with the children as you assist with tutoring and providing after-school activities that otherwise would not exist.

June 19 – July 9 | Enroll with $300 Service Grant using code WENEEDYOU300

India: Service Through the Lens™ (14 days)

Service will remain the central component of your objective in India on this photojournalism program. As you take in Dharamsala’s diverse scenery and faces through photojournalism, give back to this community that faces challenges around education and quality of life. In the process, build a personal understanding of the community, allowing you to tell a clearer and more compelling story. You’ll spend time at a local daycare center where teachers and staff run their establishments with minimal resources. Bond with the children as you assist with tutoring and providing after-school activities that otherwise would not exist.

July 13 – July 26 | Enroll with $200 Service Grant using code WENEEDYOU200


Peru: Spanish Service Adventure (21 days)

Living and volunteering in the Sacred Valley, besides being culturally stimulating, also provides an excellent opportunity to practice speaking Spanish in working situations. In spite of the city’s success in tourism, poverty and classism continue to thrive in Cuzco’s rural areas. Depending on community needs at the time of your arrival, your service may include various community development projects or making infrastructure improvements that ease the difficulty of daily life. Interact with the children and families you’re serving, and experience locals’ generosity and charm as they help you improve your language skills. On the weekends, explore the Sacred Valley and hike through the Andes mountains to visit Machu Picchu.

June 19 – July 9 | Enroll with $300 Service Grant using code WENEEDYOU300
July 13 – July 26 | Enroll with $300 Service Grant using code WENEEDYOU300


South Africa: Social Change Project™ (21 days)

Apartheid may have ended, and Cape Town may have its modern identity as a top travel destination, but its heritage still shapes South Africa in a very physical way. Nowhere is this more evident than in the layout of its cities: Cape Town’s “African” areas—generally impoverished—are often tucked out of sight, in townships far from its gleaming coastal properties. Join a meaningful project in these township communities whose populations face barriers to progress, such as access to quality education. Help provide a safe and nurturing environment for children, empowering youth through education and life skills to seek opportunities that enable them to escape the poverty cycle.

July 8 – July 28 | Enroll with $300 Service Grant using code WENEEDYOU300

South Africa: Safari Service Expedition™ (14 days)

Join professional conservationists in the field, assisting with habitat restoration efforts and wildlife monitoring. Help the black rhino conservation team eradicate an invasive plant species, join the anti-poaching unit on a patrol for illegal snares, and learn from passionate wildlife protectors about their personal experiences fighting poachers. Track the movements of elephants and other wildlife by satellite, and learn how rangers set camera traps—join them in combing through video footage to spot camouflaged leopards and other threatened species. Finally, uplifting the surrounding community is as critical to conservation as direct animal work: Learn how the reserve works hand in hand with the surrounding Zulu community.

June 22 – July 5 | Enroll with $200 Service Grant using code WENEEDYOU200
July 8 – July 21 | Enroll with $200 Service Grant using code WENEEDYOU200


Thailand: In & Beyond the Classroom™ (14 days)

Volunteer at a school providing English instruction for local youth through classroom time, tutoring, arts, crafts and sports. Over the course of your community service, develop meaningful relationships with your students—serve not only as their teacher, but also a role model, mentor and friend. On the 21-day Flagship Program, you’ll also volunteer on various physical projects that support Thailand’s ethnic minorities, the Northern hill tribes. Accelerate refurbishment efforts to shelters and infrastructure for these displaced families who have historically been marginalized.

June 18 – July | Enroll with $200 Service Grant using code WENEEDYOU200 *Space limited!*
July 5 – July 18 | Enroll with $200 Service Grant using code WENEEDYOU200 *Space limited!*
July 21 – August 3 | Enroll with $200 Service Grant using code WENEEDYOU200

Thailand: In & Beyond the Classroom™ (21 days)

Volunteer at a school providing English instruction for local youth through classroom time, tutoring, arts, crafts and sports. Over the course of your community service, develop meaningful relationships with your students—serve not only as their teacher, but also a role model, mentor and friend. On the 21-day Flagship Program, you’ll also volunteer on various physical projects that support Thailand’s ethnic minorities, the Northern hill tribes. Accelerate refurbishment efforts to shelters and infrastructure for these displaced families who have historically been marginalized.

June 19 – July 9 | Enroll with $300 Service Grant using code WENEEDYOU300
July 13 – August 2 | Enroll with $300 Service Grant using code WENEEDYOU300