Fill the School Bag for a Costa Rican Student: A Girl Scout Alum Keeps on Giving

Every year, Girl Scouts from across the nation join us in Costa Rica to participate in meaningful service projects across the country. Some girls help protect the habitats of endangered sea turtles. Others visit remote villages to work on projects such as cleaning and painting cabins and up-keeping plant nurseries. This past summer, Katie Maher did both. Katie was one of over 20 Girl Scouts to join us for our Service Challenge course, offered every year through our partnership with the GSUSA destinations program. One of the two major service projects Katie and her coursemates participated in was working with a community in the region of Talamanca. Learn more about this fascinating region here.

Part of Katie’s experience in Talamanca included interacting with Costa Rican students at a small school in the village.

The Girl Scouts meet the students in Talamanca.

Moved by her interaction with the kids, Katie decided she wanted to keep giving back long after her two weeks in Costa Rica. She decided to take action and start a drive that would give these students school supplies that they might otherwise not be able to acquire.

For the drive, which she named “Fill the School Bag for a Costa Rican Student,” Katie explained the situation of the students she met in Talamanca,”In Costa Rica education is free but the students are required to wear uniforms and purchase all of their school supplies, and their text books. In the rural [communities] many families cannot afford to send their children to school because they cannot afford the uniforms or books.” 

Katie asked any Girl Scout looking to get involved with the drive to donate the following materials to fill a backpack:

  • A package of at least 12 pencils
  • A large eraser (or several small ones)
  • A pack of notebook paper
  • 2 composition books
  • A pair of scissors
  • A large glue stick (or several small ones)
  • A picture of your troop and a letter to the student who will receive the backpack, explaining who you are and what it’s like to be a student in the United States.

Katie’s supplies drive was a huge success– With the help of other Girl Scouts, Katie and her peers filled 25 backpacks. She has sent the backpacks to us here at Outward Bound Costa Rica, so that we can bring the school supplies to the students in Talamanca on OBCR’s next service project with that school.

Katie collects and organizes the school supplies collected from her drive.

We’re so proud of Katie and her community’s amazing accomplishments! Felicidades, chica!

If interested in getting involved, our Girl Scouts Service Challenge course will be returning again this upcoming summer to the same community in Talamanca. Learn more about the course and how to apply by going to the course page!



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