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2019 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Vida Volunteer

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Education

Mission: To promote health by bringing together the efforts of communities, students, and the local healthcare systems.

Target demographics: underserved communities.

Geographic areas served: Costa Rica, Nicaragua & Guatemala

Programs: General Medicine, Dentistry, Veterinary Medicine

Community Stories

116 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

gabriellebode

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Hi my name is Gabrielle and I went on a Vida trip this past May of 2019 in Costa Rica!! It was one of the best experiences of my life!! It was so great that I am now coordinating a trip on my campus this winter break to Guatemala! I think every medical, dental, and veterinary interest should get to experience this trip with Vida. I was always loved and cared for by Vida's amazing staff. It was such a great program and well structured. I would like to give a shoutout to Lorena Barrantes for being one of the most amazing leaders and human beings!!! I felt Lorena's love every second of the trip and built life long relationships!! My love for VIDA is still growing and I cannot wait to go back with VIDA to Guatemala this January!!!

Anett S.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been working with Vida Volunteers for almost 3 years, and it has been a beyond amazing adventure. My first trip was in 2017, and the trip was nothing but inspirational and uplifting. The volunteers are able to help the communities in a tremendous way, by working with their pets and educating the overall public. It is a great hands-on experience for the volunteers and is character building in numerous ways. This trip creates a positive effect on the volunteers along with the communities and is all around a wonderful experience. After this amazing opportunity, I decided to become the coordinator of the next two trips for my university and working with the Vida staff was seamless. All of the staff members are willing to help, passionate and overall wonderful people. Planning the trip was fun, and the next two trips were just as inspiring as the first. Vida not only creates a positive environment for learning but it also helps communities in terms of acquiring necessary health care. This is an amazing non-profit and I would give it 15/5 stars if I could.

Arleah A.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Being part of the Vida Medical Mission trip was a wholesome experience. I met some of the most passionate and driven people through Vida whether it be the staff, providers, or volunteers. The staff at Vida genuinely cared for the communities we worked with as well as valued their volunteers and providers. Everyone is always willing to teach and help others grow and learn. Being able to serve communities that are so grateful for our time is such an invaluable experience.

Frankie D.1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Volunteering with Vida was one of the most rewarding experiences I have ever been a part of. This organization values making a difference in underserved areas, learning about new cultures, and having a little bit of fun too--and it is evident in every activity you participate in on the trip. I learned so much about medicine and patient care through this experience. The incorporation of recreational days provided the perfect balance between work and play and the opportunity to explore a really beautiful country! The Vida staff consisted of some of the most genuine people I have ever met. They really went above and beyond to make this a fulfilling and fun experience.

1 Nisha S.1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I went on 2 VIDA trips, and I loved both experiences. I had an amazing time and got to meet some great people. Both Nicaragua and Guatemala had communities in need, and beautiful cultures. I would definitely recommend VIDA to anyone interested in traveling, while also serving! Safety was never an issue becuase of our amazing staff members (Eduardo, Cynthia, Eli, and Ale) who were always around to assist and make sure we felt comfortable. On this trip, I was able to gain essential clinical skills while living a Nicaraguan or Guatemalan life.

I learned so much in this week, including how to communicate with patients. We had to be very careful with what we said or how we said it because we were there to convey clarity and compassion, not confusion. We were to make sure patients understood their diagnoses because many of these patients were unaware of simple health concerns, such as dehydration or hypertension. Because of this, I gained confidence, and embraced my surroundings. I realized how much I take for granted and how little others may have in life. I was able to meet and bond with many local Nicaraguans, who gifted me with fruits out of appreciation. This international experience showed me a different way of living. It showed me the importance of community and public health.

Abigail U.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Volunteering with Vida was such an amazing opportunity not only to help these communities in need, but to experience what a difference health care can make in a person's life. Vida created an easy going and enjoyable experience with a good amount of clinical days and recreational experiences, bringing the volunteers that provide a real genuine Guatemalan experience. All of the Vida staff was so welcoming and friendly, it made the experience even more enjoyable. Would definitely go again!

klewter20

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was fortunate enough to be able to work with Vida twice so far in my undergraduate career. I loved the trip and staff so much my first trip, I decided to come back and bring 27 of my other friends from my school! The staff really care about your learning and are dedicated to making a difference in the world by education and work.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I travelled as an undergraduate student to Costa Rica with Vida as part of the Veterinary Medicine Program. The staff were so nice and helpful to me as not only a first-generation college student knowing nothing about study abroad, but also as a young girl who had not been outside of her home country before. Once in Costa Rica, the staff was always there to answer questions and help really immerse myself and the rest of the students into the culture we now were apart of. They were the backbone that made the experience one that I will never forget. We received so much hands on experience that benefited our futures, but the impact we left on the communities we helped is what really mattered in the end. This trip gave me memories that will last me a lifetime and I hope to travel again with Vida in one of their sister countries in the near future as a campus coordinator for my home university.

Gwyn M.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

During my time in college I have gone on 3 trips with VIDA and have absolutely loved every single one! The dedication VIDA has to its volunteers and the communities it works with is unmatched! I learned so much from the staff and community members and I am so thankful for having the opportunity to meet each and every one of them! The trips really solidified and helped fuel my passion for veterinary medicine! I know I will be back to Costa Rica and I have VIDA to thank for introducing me to such a beautiful and wholesome place!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This was my first international mission trip. I have nothing but good things to say about Vida Volunteer. It was very impressed with how organized and smooth the trip went. I really enjoyed meeting new people and traveling with them throughout Guatemala, learning about the culture and customs. I also adored our Vida representatives that traveled with us. Clinic days were very eye opening to see the struggles and lack of information the local people have. I cannot wait to partake in my second trip!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Vida Volunteer was a life-changing experience for me both times I served with them. Traveling to Guatemala and interacting with the people there made the world seem so big yet so small at the same time. Although the healthcare practices of Guatemala are vastly different and issues exist related to hygiene that we don't have to worry about in the United States, human beings everywhere value the same things: love, family, food and water, and a shelter over your head. Especially with the differences in native language, one would've thought that there would have been substantial barriers separating all of us. However, this was not the case.
Vida let me delve into medicine and taught me so much about rural healthcare in Guatemala, while also enabling me to grow as a person and form connections with people from all different backgrounds.

Andrea G.5

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Working with Vida is always amazing and fun! I have had the pleasure to work with amazing people, both students and staff!
I wouldn´t change the experience I had for anything!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered with VIDA for a total of four years now. My first three trips were to Nicaragua and Costa Rica and my fourth was to Guatemala. All three of these countries have so much to offer with natural beauty and unique architecture that makes them something everyone needs to cross off their bucket list. I have learned an exponential amount working in the VIDA clinics and got the chance to participate in integral procedures to my future as a veterinarian. They allow students to participate in everything from general exams, placing catheters, intubating, monitoring anesthesia, and assisting in surgeries. Everything is intently supervised by board certified veterinary professionals so it is a fantastic way to become competent at useful skills in a safe environment.
VIDA assigns a team leader to each group of students and they travel with us to make sure we get to where we need to go safely and efficiently. I made so many fantastic connections with the veterinarians, veterinary support staff, home stay families, and team leaders that will last a lifetime. As my home stay mom told me, "mi casa es tu casa" or "my house is your house". I look forward to hopefully attending my fifth VIDA trip during my years in veterinary school and once again working alongside my friends from this wonderful organization.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had such an amazing experience on my VIDA trip and made memories I will never forget! I had an amazing time with an awesome group of people. The doctors we worked with were very friendly and really want you to learn and grow. I learned a lot about certain diagnoses thanks to the help of the doctors. I still keep in contact with one of the doctors that was on our trip to this day and she continues to be a great mentor! I've never been to a spanish-speaking country before and loved every minute of it. I came into the program knowing very little Spanish but I learned a lot in the two weeks I was in Guatemala, especially during my home stay (with the most friendly family!). I felt extremely safe every minute of the trip, which was something my parents were concerned about prior to the trip. VIDA does live up to its mission statement and it's beautiful to see the positive impact you as a volunteer make on the communities you serve. Overall, it was an amazing experience that I would love to do again. Thanks so much VIDA!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Volunteering through vida is one of the best experiences I've ever had! I had the opportunity to work in pop-up clinics in rural communities in Nicaragua. It was amazing to build connections with the people there, and I learned so much from the physicians that we worked with. Vida worked hard to make sure that we were well trained and well taken care of so that we could provide the best care possible and enjoy the experience.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Vida Volunteer goes above and beyond for their volunteers and for the people they serve! They are truly passionate about healthier communities and providing a good experience for everyone on the team. Vida trips are filled with learning, fun, and friendship, all while doing their best to provide quality health services to those who need it. My Vida trips are ones I will never forget!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

VIDA is a fantastic company who provides nothing but the best when it comes to their volunteers. Being on the vet team allowed me to get such a hands on experience and learn things very quickly. The vets were very patient and understanding and I could not be more thankful for the learning experience they gave me. VIDA has a great balance between work and fun and everything done on this trip has a lesson behind it. Going to Guatemala with VIDA definitely helped solidify my career path towards becoming a vet!

Veronica K.1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

VIDA provided me with unforgettable memories and knowledge I could not get from home. Not only did I quickly learn a HUGE amount of things relative to my career of choice, but I also had the chance to learn about the culture of Guatemala. I’ve been on many service trips, but this one will forever hold a special place in my heart. Thank you VIDA for the amazing experience. I will be back. ❤️

1 Abby M.2

Advisor

Rating: 5

This is the 2nd year as a faculty adviser for our group. Both years were in Nicaragua, and I couldn't have been more pleased with everything. Lorena & Amy were our TL & ATL, I give them my HIGHEST recommendation- they worked tirelessly to ensure we not only got as much out of our clinical service & learning, but also in the trip as a whole to understand the country & culture. Our Doctors & Translators were all top-notch: friendly, personable, kind and compassionate. I would recommend VIDA to anyone looking for a medical service trip!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I just recently traveled to Guatemala as an Undergrad and I loved loved LOVED everything bout the trip. All the Vida people I met I befriended very quickly and easily, from the head of Vida in Guatemala to all the interpreters. I got pretty sick for a day on the trip from the food, but these people were so helpful that I was never once worried or felt in danger. I am currently trying to become campus coordinator at my school so I can teach more of my fellow classmates about this amazing life-changing opportunity. I can't wait to work with this incredible company and its awesome people again in the near future!

Sam N.2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I embarked on the Guatemala trip with a slight feeling of remorse, as it was an experience well outside my normal comfort zone. Immediately upon landing in Guatemala my attitude changed, and I realized this trip would be a positively memorable life experience. The VIDA staff were fun, helpful, and supportive throughout the trip. The cultural immersion and building of team dynamic throughout the stay made for a revitalizing break from studies, while providing care to underserved rural communities gave purpose to our stay.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Absolutely amazing experience. Veterinarian Dr.Astrid was beyond helpful and engaging. I left feeling extremely grateful to have been apart of such a neat opportunity.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My Vida trip to Guatemala exceeded my expectations! One of the best parts about my time volunteering was getting to know our amazing team leaders in Guatemala. They do everything they can to make sure you are comfortable and having an amazing time. They taught us about the local culture of the country and how to be safe travellers! I will look forward to going next year!

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I took my Vida journey on the medical team to Costa Rica and Nicaragua. This trip was truly the trip of a lifetime and a simple description can do the adventure no justice. I very much recommend a trip with this organziation as they were extremely organized, accommodating and welcoming. The team leaders were wonderful and engaged the whole team in the local culture. The most rewarding experience from this trip was of course the clinic days and family visits. Helping the local communities was heartwarming and eye opening at the same time. I enjoyed seeing the gratitude in the community members faces most because they were all so kind and content with the help we provided. At the beginning of our journey our team was told that we would leave changed, and that is exactly how I left. Thank you Vida for a unforgettable experience that I hope to embark on again soon.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Leaving for Guatemala with the VIDA team, I was nervous and very uncertain about traveling to a foreign country without my family or loved ones, but the VIDA staff were exceptional at their jobs and I felt safe during the entire experience. Traveling with VIDA was truly the experience of a lifetime -- I inherited skills from the vets that will be priceless moving forward with my career and learned so much about the culture of Guatemala at the same time. I would and have already recommended the VIDA organization to numerous friends interested in health care and/or cultural exposure from traveling. I am counting down the days until my net VIDA trip!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have wanted to be a doctor for a long time and my experience with VIDA has only made me want this even more. I learned so much from the hands on experience I got as we took the medical histories of patients and diagnosed them with the help of doctors. It was truly an amazing experience that allowed us to see how Guatemalans live in both a cultural sense and an economic sense. We were able to see how poverty manifests in health issues and we spent forty hours providing medical aid that would not have been available otherwise. I was able to learn about diseases and diagnoses due to the direct handling of patients with those conditions and I will never forget this incredible experience.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

This past June, I had the incredible opportunity to be a part of Vida in Guatemala. I was skeptical and didn't know what to expect before the trip, and I wondered whether it would be worth it. After a whirlwind 10 days volunteering at the clinics, I not only learned more about medicine and patient care, but I also grew a lot as a person. Vida gave me the chance to see, first hand, how helping people and giving your time and resources can create a significant impact on the world. The staff was friendly and welcoming, and they never hesitated to answer questions and assist us in any way they could. They made sure that we had all we needed to better provide aid to patients. Recreational days seamlessly weaved into the trip in a way that created a nice balance between volunteering and experiencing the beautiful country of Guatemala. Overall, I am glad that I signed up to be a part of Vida and I truly believe that it was a trip of a lifetime, worth every penny.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Vida is incredible. The experience was a once in a life time one. The staff were amazing!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Working for Vida in the last 7 years has been one of the most enriching experiences. Witnessing the change in the lives of volunteers and in the communities we serve has changed my own life for good and has made me realize that each one of us can impact this world in different ways and that every single effort counts.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As I reflect on the past 12 days, I cannot say anything but positive things. I am so thankful for all that Vida has brought me. I have learned so much more than I expected over the past year. To start, the Vida staff is incredible. The doctors promoted such a positive learning environment and confirmed my passion to work in healthcare. The interpreters were so open and knowledgeable which made the clinic days so fun. Also, the team leaders were fantastic - everything was so organized and created an upbeat and positive experience through the duration of the trip. Their vibrant energy was truly contagious.

Aside from my passion of healthcare, Vida has made me realize my passion for service. It sparked something huge for me and I cannot stop here. This program has completely changed my perspective on the idea of service to others. A little goes a very long way. I cannot wait to see where this takes me and share this with others.

Vida provides so much for its volunteers. This is a very unique volunteer opportunity that not only allows students to learn from doctors and serve communities, but also to experience another culture. Vida brings volunteers out of their comfort zone and encourages adventure. It creates lifelong friendships and memories. Both of the Vida trips I have been on left my heart so full and for that I am forever grateful.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

All my expectations were surpassed with Vida volunteer group. We were taken care of, while we took care of the ones that needed help in Nicaragua. Very professional and we had an amazing itinerary that included some exploring/ vacation time along with our clinic days. Amazing nonprofit that everyone should have the chance to experience!!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Traveling to Nicaragua with a group of strangers is the most life changing, humbling experience anyone can have and thanks to the VIDA organization I was able to fully experience the culture and even meet families that let us stay in their homes for a couple of days! My absolutely favorite part was experiencing a life so completely different then what I wasn't used to in the United States! Hands on experience and a good resume builder are all benefits of being a week with VIDA! after this trip is when I realized the true meaning do why this group is called VIDA, translates directly to "life"!

Jesse25

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I went to Nicaragua with VIDA as a part of the medical team and I could not have asked for a better experience. Since this was my first time traveling outside of the US I was a little apprehensive and unsure what to expect. VIDA made my experience exceedingly positive and has sparked a desire in me to continue traveling and volunteering in the developing world. Everything ran so smoothly and the itinerary was extremely engaging. I really felt that I got the full Nicaraguan experience on this trip and it is an adventure that I will remember forever.

Allison69

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was able to go to Nicaragua with a medical volunteer group and had an amazing experience! The staff were so helpful with arranging our flight/insurance information, ensuring that we were safe and had everything we needed during our stay, and setting up transportation to all of our sites. I would highly recommend this organization to anyone who has an interest in traveling/volunteering in Central America!

Kaleigh N.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Vida Volunteer is an excellent organization! All staff is highly trained and great to work with. The program fee is quite reasonable for all that is included- 2/3 of meals, all hotels, transport within the country, great recreation activities. There are few volunteer programs that allow you to be so hands on and make such an impact. This program gives students an immersive culture experience and hands-on healthcare experience. Students are able to learn an incredible amount and make an incredible impact as volunteers.

1 Mikailah L.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This organization is the best I've seen by far! I have gone on two different trips now and have loved every single second of both of them! Central America is a beautiful area and the people were nothing but thankful for your help and support! Becuase of this wonderful organization I have gained amazing experiences that will last me my entire life. I highly recommend this organization to anyone no matter what type of career you are looking at going into in the end!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This was the most incredible experience. I learned so much while I was on my trip! I would recommend this trip to anyone looking to get more experience, words can not describe the way this trip makes you feel. Its brings you such joy, to help the local communities they are so thankful for your help. It makes you feel good about what you are doing.