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Led2Serve

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: International, International Development

Mission: Led2Serve equips, inspires and mobilizes people to serve others across the USA and regions of Costa Rica. Our aim is to provide life-changing service experiences for individuals, couples, families or groups that allow you to serve together and care for the practical needs of others. Regardless of your age or skills, you are invited to join any Journey.

Results: Over the past few years we've helped to build a safe house for children in Costa Rica, conducted sports camps in Germany, developed programs for reading and math in village schools, renovate camps for disabled campers, support communities for long-term sustainable projects and so much more!

Target demographics: Community partners and their projects in established locations

Direct beneficiaries per year: Every partner received a Serve Team to support local community outreach and projects!

Geographic areas served: USA, Europe and Costa Rica

Programs: Service Adventures, Service Missions, Service Learning Journeys

Community Stories

38 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Led2Serve is an incredible organization. Not only do they make a huge difference in the communities they serve, they maintain relationships in those communities and with the people they serve. They live up to their mission. It’s an organization that connects hearts. If you want that deep down feeling of knowing you truly gave your heart, reach out to them to discover where you are Led2Serve.

Comments ( 1 )

Led2Serve We are so thrilled you enjoyed your Journey! Thank you for sharing.

Volunteer

Rating: 1

This is not a great non profit. The leaders are petty and thoroughly unprofessional. We took our family on a spring break trip to Costa Rica. The community partners were great. After a hard day of work including extra contributions on our part to complete a project, we were invited to the home of a community partner. We thought nothing of accepting after asking our group leader to join us (Vanessa had left this leader in charge because she had a more important group to attend to)
The host offered wine and one of our group thought it polite to accept one glass. The group leader said nothing at the time but reported it to Vanessa and partner. They sent a college intern to chastise us and tell us the family was no longer a part of the trip. They refused to meet with us face to face. Seriously, they left us in the middle of Costa Rica to fend for ourselves. Fortunately, we had already planned to be apart from the group on our own and scheduled transportation. The saga continued with many more unprofessional and petty incidents. I’ve volunteered many times in multiple countries and have never experienced more dysfunctional leadership. I would never travel with this org again and be warned not to work for them unless you want to see how not to lead.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 1

I missed my family reunion to join Led2Serve on a service mission in Costa Rica. It was the worst decision of my life. The leadership had no itinerary and we spent more time sitting around then actually serving. Vanessa was rude and down right degrading to me the entire time we were there. She tried to sit a person known to get motion sickness in the back of the bus with me. When I mentioned this, she moved the girl to the front and in front of everyone on the bus she yelled "are you happy now". This is just one example of how awful my experience there was. I will NEVER help or volunteer for this organization again.

Comments ( 2 )

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DKeys 10/17/2019

I'm so sorry for your experience. If you will share your personal story and email connect@led2serve.org so I can speak directly with you, we'd like to make it up to you. How can we serve you best?

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Led2Serve 10/19/2019

Whomever wrote this post, Vanessa here. I'd like the opportunity to connect and understand which Journey you were on. Whomever your group leader was for certain had a full itinerary prior to departure. This is required that we submit before you fly. So for that, I'd like to understand how you were not informed. As for me ever yelling something so rude on a bus? I can't fathom that. I also am rarely in the field so I'm struggling to comprehend when this happened. In 10 years of service, I've never been referred to this way, or been rude such as you suggest. Please contact me directly so I can understand who you are and what happened so this does not in the future.

1 martheab

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I've participated in several service journeys with Led2Serve and each one was a great experience. They were all well planed with a lot of fun also.

I had my first experience of snow with Led2Serve and it was a LOT OF SNOW

Previous Stories
1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've volunteered on several journeys with Led2Serve locally and nationally and each of them were amazing. Regardless of your skill set, its almost like the journey leader miraculously finds a task that's perfect for you. When you volunteer for a journey with them, initially you're doing it to help and make a difference in the lives of others; however, at the end of the journey, the biggest difference is in you. You come away feeling like you've been mentored during the experience and your confidence has received a much needed boost. You accomplish tasks would have never attempted or thought you were capable of doing. I would and do recommend Led2Serve to anyone looking to volunteer/serve others. Led2Serve is a great inclusive organization that anyone from all walks of life can participate and come away knowing they have made a difference no matter how big or small a part they feel they've played.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Mi nombre es Lisseth Morales y soy de la comunidad de Arenal.
La experiencia que la escuela de Mata de Caña a tenido con la fundación a sido fenomenal, estamos más que agradecidos con toda la ayuda que hemos recibido tanto económica como socialmente.
Led2Serve a llegado a tocar corazones y a darle oportunidad a muchos niños de conocer lugares espectaculares y de aprender a convivir con chicos y profesores de otros Países, sin duda alguna estos son valores y vivencias que van a permanecer en muchos de estos niños.
Miles de bendiciones para todas las personas que con su buen corazón hacen posible tan bellas obras y por supuesto a Vanesa quien a sido como un ángel para mi hijo y muchos niños de la comunidad.
Sin duda les estaré agradecida siempre.

1 Douglas D.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have accompanied youth groups on 3 domestic (U.S) trips managed by Vanessa and her team at Led 2 Serve and they have all be wonderfully planned and administrated. The youth we took were challenging, to say the least, but the mission team took it in stride, finding things that interested and challenged our young men. I can not possibly recommend them highly enough!

Comments ( 1 )

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DKeys 09/26/2019

Thank you, Douglas! Looking forward to our next Journey!

ESteban V.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Son un grupo de personas siempre con las mejores intenciones de ayudar a las demás personas.
Dios bendiga esta organización y les permita seguir ayudando y generando sonrisas en los niños como lo saben hacer.

Comments ( 1 )

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DKeys 09/26/2019

Muchas Gracias, mi amigo!

Ale M S.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Let me say that every human needs to volunteer once in their life ... Led2Serve is a great opportunity for anyone who wants to share kindness , love and smiles to others. Led2Serve brings so much joy and help to the school where I work that is unexplainable , specially in a community where there is lots of needs among childhood and teaching resources . You will never go wrong helping others , keep sharing keep shinning !!

Comments ( 1 )

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DKeys 09/26/2019

You are appreciated, Ale! We love partnering with your school.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Led2Serve has made a huge impact in my life! Serving others, being in community, while embracing fun and fellowship is a wonderful combination!

Comments ( 1 )

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DKeys 09/26/2019

Thank you! You make a difference on our team! We appreciate your time and talents.

Maria R.3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Worked with our organization to give a rather large group of teenagers an opportunity for service and leadership. The entire experience was amazing from beginning to end!

Comments ( 1 )

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DKeys 09/26/2019

Maria...Thank you!

Charlotte W.2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

In Costa Rica Led2Serve has been instrumental in helping and serving so very many communities. The energy and devotion to each project undertaken is absolutely incredible! What fabulous teams and leaders -we welcome them with open arms and look forward to hearing about each journey! Keep up the awesome work!!

Comments ( 1 )

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DKeys 09/26/2019

Thanks so much, Charlotte!

Kamie R.

Client Served

Rating: 5

If you ever get the chance, take it! These trips change lives! Their community partners create such vivid memories that are engraved in your mind forever! And.. they leave you with a sense of wanting to give back to people everywhere you go. If that’s not something incredible to take with you when your trips over, then I don’t know what is! Sign up for a trip, and enjoy the journey!

Comments ( 2 )

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DKeys 09/24/2019

Thanks so much, Kamie! Hope to see you on a Journey again sometime! Loved working with you!

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DKeys 09/26/2019

Hope to see you again, Kamie! Thanks so much for taking time to post!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Led2serve is AMAZING!! 18 of us had an amazing time serving in Costa Rica. The details!!! You are in great hands friends! Just open your hearts and serve. !!! Thank you Vanessa! Can't wait to work with you again !!!!--BW

Comments ( 1 )

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DKeys 09/24/2019

Braden...We can't wait to host you again! Let's book it soon. Thanks for posting.

Client Served

Rating: 5

L2S offers the best experiences - working alongside locals and the adventures are over the top! Loved my Journey!

Comments ( 1 )

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DKeys 09/24/2019

Thanks so much!

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 1

We just took at trip with Led2Serve and it was extremly disappointing. The lack of details and information from day one was minimal and we did not recieve the final iteneray until the week prior to leaving for Germany and France. I started researching the hotel and found them to be of concern based on the reviews in advance. We reached out and were told that everything would be fine and if there was an issue they would address it. Well everything was not fine and the reviews where dead on, the locations of the places that we stayed where unacceptable and in some cases VERY unsafe. The hotels were way below normal standards with no ac, no elevators, blood on sheets, torn towels, and one acutually ran out of cold water, yes cold water.... 5 of the mothers on our trip choose to leave the group and go find our own hotels. We were quickly told that we would not get a refund which we didnt expect but based on the conditions we did not care. After reseraching online some of the rooms that this company had booked where as low at $40.00 per night on Booking.com, with reivews about safety, bed bugs etc. Be Very careful when using this company. The trip was extremly disappointing for the amount of money we spent.

Comments ( 1 )

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DKeys 09/23/2019

Thank you for the feedback. Our apologies for the disappointment. Please know every detail of the custom-designed itinerary was shared at the first informational session 10 months before departure including an online link to each hotel chosen by the school trip leader, in the budget set for this group. That shared, there was limited availability in the destination city due to special events during the group's dates of travel. These concerns were shared prior to departure. Thankfully, the substandard hotel was only for 1 night, but we agree it was unacceptable and not as advertised. Our team contacted the hotel regarding bad reviews prior to arrival and were told the hotel was renovated. Indeed, the building next door was renovated, but it was not yet open. Led2Serve will, in the future, never book a hotel we have not physically previewed prior to arrival. Lesson learned. We have reached out to your group leader offering a discount on future trips and hope you will try again.

Volunteer

Rating: 1

The kids were there at Key Largo, FL Monday late night to Friday mid day March 4th - 8th 2019. They “served” 2 half days. The rest of the time was somewhat unscheduled aside from a trip to the dolphin research center (no dolphin interaction) and a trip to Key West.
We paid about $1300 for the privilege of our daughter to serve. Yet, an additional last minute $80 was asked of us for additional museum/fun event fee. Not sure where that fee went towards.
The kids slept in a church on the floors of an empty Sunday school room. Our daughter slept in a hallway on a leaky air mattresses. The showers were outdoors under a tent.
Beware!!!
Payments through the website are confusing and they tried to bill us twice for something we already paid.
Would not recommend.

Comments ( 1 )

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DKeys 09/23/2019

Thank you for sharing your feedback, as we strive to make changes in any process where information is not clear to students or their parents. We were disappointed the Parent Info Session was canceled prior to departure. We learned a valuable lesson in this process! Our 8 year-long partnership with Dolphin Research Center allows our groups on-site to serve by painting, assisting in feeding, cage repair, etc. As you likely understand, last-minute changes are sometimes unavoidable. While we were also unhappy to find out our local partner changed the lodging arrangement. Led2Serve notified the group leader days before, and they decided to try the new layout. Some students loved it, some did not. We have since notified the organization we must stay in the facility agreed upon when confirmed. Thankfully this is the first time in 10 years we've experienced a last-minute change. We will reach out to your group leader with a discount for a future journey to everyone on this journey.

Kristin B.1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Led2Serve gave me the opportunity to serve a community in Costa Rica that completely changed the direction of my life! I was exposed to the rawness of being selfless and building community with people who didn't even share my same language. Led2Serve took care of every aspect of our trip, all I had to do was show up with my bags! From our flights, to meals, to hotels, to adventures, to service projects (painting a school, teaching english, arts and crafts, sports field day, planting a garden for a widow), it was all planned out and flowed seamlessly throughout our whole trip. I will definitely be going on another service journey with them in the future, each year probably! The journey leaders were amazing and truly had a heart to serve! If you've wanted to experience serving a community in Costa Rica or throughout the USA, get in contact with Vanessa! She is amazing and will take you on a service journey, mission trip or service adventure that could potentially change your life like it did mine!!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have had amazing experiences with the Led2Serve events on multiple occasions. I love the way they customize their journeys and local service projects to suit the needs of both the charity organizations that are being served and the volunteers. I always feel like I can invite friends along and we have the best time. Whether you have a heart for adults, children, animals or the environment, Led2Serve seems to have something for everyone. They take care of all of the logistics, so we simply show up with an open mind and willing heart. I know we are serving to bless others, but it always feels that I'm the one being blessed once the serving is over.

Beth Phelps J.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Equipping, inspiring and serving without boundaries!!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

A fantastically run organization who aim to be truly integrated with the communities they serve. Offering projects covering a wide range of interests and disciplines. The volunteering trips are well organized with great group leaders and the trips provide a good balance of service work and exploration opportunities. Would definitely recommend this organization for those looking for a different way to travel and great opportunities to serve!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had a great time with Ms. Vanessa! We helped repair and paint a youth campground. All the volunteers were happy to be together working and playing. We built a new soccer field and went canoeing at sunrise. I love working to support my community. Thank you Led2Serve for the opportunity.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

We joined led2serve about a year ago. We absolutely love these phenomenal ladies and all they do for the community! We look forward to many more opportunities to volunteer with them.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I will never forget the experience we had participating in a Serve/Play Day at Hacienda Rio Cote with the led2serve team a couple years ago in the area of Arenal, Guanacaste, Costa Rica.

From the first moments as we sat down together to breakfast with a group of people we had never met, we were instantly welcomed, hugged and made to feel part of the team.

We were immediately impressed with the profoundly organized and motivated leaders, (not to mention their cooking skills!) in an area where even the most adventurous encounter all manner of challenge from finding a cylinder of gas to cook with, much less a kitchen equipped to serve a team of hungry teens.

Equipped to serve, led to love, share, and expand the hearts and minds of everyone she meets; the only thing better than knowing Vanessa is knowing how many lives she will touch every day that will truly make a difference - one gracious act at a time.


Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have joined led2serve in their support role for Young Life and other camps. Vanessa Puleo is an exemplary leader with exceptional organization skills.

What distinguishes led2 serve is its focus on servant leadership. Vanessa embodies that spirit and has the ability to instill that in those who join her in these missions. Anyone who has enjoyed that spirit knows that one often returns from these events feeling that they gained more than they helped others. led2serve is an outstanding example of an organization that overachieves its mission.

Client Served

Rating: 5

There’s only one led2serve! - It Stole My Heart and Will Steal Yours Too!

Picture this… one week, all logistics taken care of (food, travel, stay), alluring scenery, the experience of another culture, AMAZING journey leaders, fellowship, adventure of your choosing, and most importantly; getting the chance to enhance the life(s) of the people you serve in led2serves partner locations... Do you feel it? Can you picture it?

I promise you one thing, if you are looking for the opportunity to add to the bigger picture of this thing we call life. If you are wanting to experience something outside of everyday routines and just get away for a while. If you’re just looking to travel and experience parts of the world/US while creating friendships and memories. Led2serve is your ticket to it all!

I have been fortunate enough to go on several journeys with led2serve, and it will not be my last! You purchase your journey and you’re done. The organization of this company is phenomenal, from arrival to departure this team of journey leaders and coordinators take care of you in so many fashions. No worry, no stress, the team equips you with everything you could possibly need so that you can have the greatest experience. It is a laid back crew that is driven by the saying “work hard, play hard”, and to be honest, the work is just as fun as the play.

In fact, it is the work that is going to make your trip the most memorable and life changing. You see, the people and places that you go to, they love you without even knowing you. Before you step foot in their presence you are sincerely loved by them. Led2serve connects you with those in need of a little help. Meaning two things, connection to the physical act of serving, and connection to the heart of you and those that you’re helping. I can tell you my first journey is as vivid in my mind as the day I experienced it, and that, that is because it stole my heart. You may think that planting a tree, painting a school, or playing sports with kids are just good deeds to add to your list, but the people in these partner locations think the small or big acts that you are providing are absolute blessings. The gratitude and genuine appreciation from these people is felt, not just heard. That feeling alone will change your life; add in the culture, the adventure and the fellowship while creating lasting memories and a journey with led2serve with steal your heart just like it stole mine.

All of this just takes one thing… a heart to serve.


Kamie Rash

Client Served

Rating: 5

I started working with the Led2Serve Group about 4 years ago and have always been very pleased with there work. We are a Military School (St. John's in Salina, KS) that have young men from the 6th grade thru the 12th grade, so we kind of a unique group to work with, but Venessa and Yolanda and there team do a wonderful job of putting together two (2) mission trip per year for me. One on our Thanksgiving Break and the other on our Spring Break They put trip together for us that is a combination of community service and some fun time, which is quite the task, when you are trying to plan for up to 15 boys at Thanksgiving and up to 30 at Spring Break, and these number can change right up to the minute we leave our school. But I Never have to worry about anything, as I know that they have planned out everything for us, from where we will stay to when we eat on where, to what time we need to get up every morning. Which makes my life so easy. For me one of the best parts of this organization (beside the people that run it) is that they stay very flexible and are ready to handle any kind of problem that might come up. I have the greatest respect for the Led2Serve Team and would (and do) recommend them to any group. As I will continue to use them for all my mission trips.

Fr. Randy McIntosh, Chaplain, St. Jon's Military School

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The opportunity to join a led2serve journey approached me in the fall of 2024. As Dr. Cummings explained the purpose and mission statement and the projects that they are involved in I was immediately hooked.I joined a February trip with a few others from my school in Salinas Kansas. My expectations were exceeded in more than one way and continued to be exceeded everyday that I spent with the members of my team. Work hard, play hard is exactly how we spent our week. I have made connections with people I am sure to keep for the rest of my life. I truly found myself as a person and cannot thank the members of my team enough! They are all amazing people with huge hearts and together we made a difference in the lives of others! The trip couldn't have been scheduled and planned any better than it was and I have to thank Vanessa and Dr. Cummings for their work and efforts to make sure the trip went that way! What am amazing way to serve the Lord! When can I go again?!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

A year ago Florida Southern College partnered with Led2Serve to send students to Germany and discover more information about their major while volunteering with Led2Serve. Working with Led2Serve in Germany made the trip life changing for me. Both Vanessa and Dr. Cummings were very passionate about working with the different schools which made us (the students) excited to work with everyone. Communication was difficult for some of us at first but playing games with the children immediately broke the barrier and brought us closer together.

The friendships that were built in Germany still remain today. I am thrilled to go to Costa Rica with Vanessa and Dr. Cummings and Led2Serve during the month of July. I will always have Led2Serve in my life and will volunteer when ever I have the chance to. It is a great experience that I would recommend to everyone.

Kelly Jean H.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Led2Serve is AWESOME! I went with a group of students from my university to Costa Rica over spring break in March of 2013. We went to three different communities: La Fortuna, Nueva Arenal, and Santa Teresa. While we were there we worked on several projects including, re-roofing a school building, helping members of the community to build a fences surrounding the school yard, painting benches and dugouts around a football/soccer field, and restoring seating and tables in a gathering area for members of the community. When you volunteer with Led2Serve, you live by the words "serve hard, play hard." We had an amazing time working with each other and the community as well as bonding with each other and the AMAZING Led2Serve leaders and founders Nancy and Vanessa. Volunteering with Led2Serve was an incredibly rewarding experience and I look forward to working with them again in the future. Pura Vida!

Kristin B.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I received the opportunity to go to Costa Rica with led2serve this past February and had a life altering experience. If your interested in simply building community and relationships with people who enjoy impacting others, led2serve is where you belong. I've always been interested in nonprofit work, but never had the chance to dive full force into an organization and completely capture the vision. They truly do equip,inspire, and mobilize others to get out there and serve however they feel 'led to serve'. They live up to the saying 'serving without boundaries' very well. People who join journeys don't have to worry about skin color, race, religion, or gender! I have joined led2serve on National and International journeys and can honestly say for the rest of my life I will continue to walk alongside led2serve.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Led2Serve worked in partnership with my university to deliver an awesome alternative spring break trip. The motto: Work Hard, Play Hard fits perfectly with the stuctrure of our service journey. Vanessa and Nancy did an amazing job setting up service porjects that perfectly fit our groups needs and expectations. Working in and among the community provided the opportunity to serve, but it also gave us a window into the world of local Costa Ricans. I think the most amazing part of this journey was the relationships I began building with people from the communities - children and adults alike!

While the service was the number one higlight of my trip, I would have to say ziplining through the jungle canopy, and hiking on the hanging bridges was my number two highlight. Like I said, Work Hard, Play Hard. I makes sense!

If you are looking for an organization that provides sustainable service to local communities, a trip of a lifetime, and the opportunity for adventure look no further than Led2Serve!

Caitie C.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I went to Costa Rica with Led2Serve for a study abroad trip with Florida Southern during spring break. Vanessa Puleo and Nancy Cummings were great leaders and had awesome events and things planned for us. This experience was truly life-changing and I wouldn't trade it for the world. We did a lot of volunteer work and manual labor, but none of it ever felt like work. And each day when we were finished, we were treated to other great opportunities to interact with the locals and get a real feel for Costa Rican life. This trip and the trip leaders made me want to MOVE to Costa Rica. It was an incredible experience and I'd love to tell anyone about it and I highly recommend taking a journey with led2serve!

Heather88

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I joined led2serve for an international service trip to Costa Rica in the summer of 2012. It was a fantastic experience from start to finish! Leaders engaged volunteers in meaningful service projects that utilized each person's skills and abilities. We were able to build some pretty amazing relationships and I was challenged to expand my comfort zone and try new things. The best part for me, as a working mom of three, was being able to relax and let someone else make all the plans and worry about the details. For an entire week, my focus wasn't me and my to-do list. It was about serving, connecting and enjoying new friends and new experiences! I came back refreshed, re-energized, and incredibly appreciative of my service experience!

Lucee P.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

If you are looking for an organization to create meaningful service experiences for you and your family, led2serve is the one to be connected with! Our family has been on multiple service oriented journeys with led2serve in the past 3 years and we plan to attend many more in the future! Serving Without Boundaries means we can serve with our young children, with people of many backgrounds, in different locations, and in ways that we feel led2serve! Projects for all skill and age levels are available and after each journey, we come away satisfied knowing that even the youngest or oldest of us was able to contribute positively to that community! Join a journey! You will be amazed!

Jessica104

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My son and I have had the extreme pleasure of serving locally and internationally with Led2Serve. Their vision to "Equip-Inspire-Mobilize" is helping communities and changing lives! Not only of the people they are serving but those that are volunteering. If you are looking for a way to help...either by volunteering your time or donating items or money...then Led2Serve is the way to go!! Our next trip is booked and we can hardly wait!!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was a college student, I traveled with Led2Serve to Germany in partnership with Florida Southern College and absolutely loved it! I convinced my sister to travel with me to Costa Rica in June 2012and assured her she'd have a blast! Both trips I went on I had an amazing time serving not only myself but everyone we came into contact with! Led2Serve has helped me grow as a person and further nourish my desire to serve no matter what the circumstance! I have recommended this organization to numerous people and can't wait to go on another trip soon!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

led2serve puts together amazing trips focusing around serving others. I have had the pleasure of participating in National and International Journeys. My favorite part about this organization is their serving without boundaries philosophy. To me this was meaningful in that I was able to serve with impartiality. They match those who need to be served and those who want to contribute regardless of race, religion or political affiliation. Connecting others no matter what the country, language, age or education level of a person is. Being unwilling to see a border or limit only boundless opportunities with an open invitation for ideas and creativity.