Social work at CEPIA

Poverty, violence, school dropout, health problems and unemployment are an everyday reality for thousands of children and families in Guanacaste.

CEPIA Costa Rica CEPIA (Culture, Education and Psychology for Infants and Adolescents) is a non-profit organization, located 15 km from Playa Tamarindo, Guanacaste, Costa Rica that supports hundreds of children, teenagers, and their families from poor backgrounds, through after-school programs, psychological help for victims, educational projects for high-risk youth, professional trainings, food bank, a library, movie nights etc.

CEPIA Costa RicaCEPIA received the French-German Prize of Human Rights 2012 in Costa Rica. In August 2014, the organization built the Community Center of Huacas, a model for community development, human progress and economical development.


CEPIA enjoys a team of 140 volunteers yearly, incl. 50 temporary volunteers/university students.

CEPIA Costa Rica

Examples of tasks for volunteers

  • Teach and offer art, sport, games or English to 1 group of children or teenagers or adults once or twice a week (mostly 4:30-5:30pm or Saturdays).
  • Organize a movie night.
  • Offer a workshop to children or teenagers (for example health, your culture, world news, tolerance, respect, positive communication, etc…)
  • Investigation work (interviews and observations about one topic)
  • Administrative work (computer work, decoration of the centre, repairs, organize clothes or materials, hang up posters in the villages, hand out flyers, take pictures, videos, organize our storage room…).
  • Organize games during summer camp (January/February and July)
  • Help during events.
  • Work at the library and promote reading and use of the library: organize a reading stories activity and games with books, in English or Spanish.
  • Help during the classes for youth (Tuesdays and Thursdays they receive English, computer, mathematics, Spanish, culture, group dynamics, art, sports).
  • Help a child with writing or reading problems (in Spanish) = tutoring
  • Help the teacher at the day care.
  • Help the kids club or the youth committee.
  • Help out during physical therapy for children with disability.
  • Offer games, art and educational support to the children of the PANI (Child Protection agency) shelter in Santa Cruz (one day a week minimum after 2pm).
  • Visit families that live in poverty and do a social-economic study of each family and contact family for intervention.
  • Offer a professional training to adults (example: haircutting, cooking, massage, tourism, cleaning, etc.)
  • Update website and Facebook page – help out marketing of the organization.
  • Help with the marketing of the micro businesses of youth and adults (beauty care and eco-jewelry).
  • Organize environmental education workshops for children and teenagers, as well as ‘pick-up trash’-days and recycling.

CEPIA helps with logistics, materials and contacts to implement the activities.

Requirements for volunteering at CEPIA

  • Apply for volunteering by E-mail at least one month before you want to start (include your motivation & personal information/Curriculum);
  • know the vision, mission, and programs (see CEPIA website) before the interview;
  • be interviewed by one of the staff members per Skype, and sign our volunteer contract;
  • provide a copy of your passport/ID;
  • send us a digital picture of you (your face only);
  • speak intermediate level of Spanish;
  • present your crime sheet from your country
  • be able to work as a volunteer minimum 16 hours a week during at least 6 weeks; if you want to volunteer in January or July the volunteering time can be reduced to a minimum of 2 weeks
  • Be at least 18 years old.


Accommodation and Food

During the volunteer work at CEPIA you can still use WAYRA’s accommodation (host families or student houses).

Depending on the lodging option, breakfast and dinner are included in this program.

Cost for the program at CEPIA

There is a one-time registration fee of $ 150.00. Additionally students need to pay for their lodging.


  • Finish all agreed-upon projects
  • Help with the organization and order at the CEPIA center.
  • Remain flexible with the volunteer work schedule and the jobs you are assigned
  • CEPIA does not offer remuneration for the volunteer work, for transportation, for food or housing. The volunteer will be assigned to a staff member of CEPIA who will be his/her supervisor. Volunteers receive money to buy materials or transport for the development of an activity or home visit.

Please find an overview about the different projects at the following links:

1. Volunteer Work
2. Turtle Rescuing
3. Social work at CEPIA
4. Education (teaching English)