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Vida Volunteer

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Education, Health

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

119 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 5

VIDA was a great experience! I loved every minute of it. I got to interact with patients, brush up on my spanish, and tour the homes of local Costa Ricans.

Maddie B.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I loved every minute of my Vida Volunteer experience. Vida exceeded all of my expectations and really lives out the moto of "global change through personal growth." I highly recommend being a volunteer for Vida Volunteer because they gave me an experience of a lifetime!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

VIDA is a great program! My parents could never afford to pay for the trip so I had to work hard to gather the money. And let me tell you it was worth every penny! I learned so much it was a little overwhelming at some times! I was a little nervous because a lot of these experiences were "firsts" for me but the doctors were patient and helped me gain confidence. I liked that there were small and large animal days. I also liked that there were recreational days in between so there was a balance of work and fun. My favorite rec day was zip lining! I jumped out of my comfort zone and tried this and It was amazing! The rain forests are magnificent! We also saw a family of howler monkeys in the trees!! There were some cons: the bus rides can be pretty bumpy because of the rural areas we visit and one staff member was really impatient with everyone. However the positives outweigh the negatives. This was a big motivator for me and I am more determined to push through undergrad school!

sammy3951

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had such a wonderful experience with VIDA! All of the employees where patient and dedicated to helping us learn and made me feel very comfortable the whole trip.

Natalia5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

THANK YOU VIDA for such a wonderful experience and providing these learning opportunities! No matter your level of experience, this is definitely an unforgettable trip you should not pass up. All of the doctors were patient, friendly, welcoming, helpful- they helped each of us build our confidence and leave the program with better understanding and better skill set.
We helped hundreds of animals as well as got to surround ourselves with a new culture. This trip undoubtedly pulls everyone together for teamwork and leadership, a lot of hard work goes into clinic days but they are well worth it.
Definitely feel that this chance helped shape me as a student and future veterinarian.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Vida Is an amazing life changing experience. The opportunities you have to learn are invaluable. The staff is friendly and helpful. The doctors are knowledgeable and patient. It not only has an important impact on the volunteers but also on the communities it serves. Very rewarding and fun experience. I would highly recommend it. :)

Diego C.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I hear about VIDA from a friend that participated in a VIDA trip. I eventually took the leap myself and I had no regrets. The trip, experience, and people were awesome! Of all the other overseas medical volunteer organizations out there, I really think this one of the best. The experience was one in a life time and it only helped reinforce my choice in career as a medical professional.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

VIDA was an absolutely amazing experience. I was slightly hesitant at first but I could not have imagined how rewarding it was. I would love to be apart of another VIDA volunteer trip

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had an amazing experience volunteering in Guatemala with VIDA! I learned so much, had a ton of fun, and felt like I impacted the lives of the people of Guatemala. The VIDA staff, interpreters, doctors, and other volunteers were incredibly friendly, helpful, and indispensable resources!

Jenna F.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

VIDA has given me a great experience working with others in the medical field. I am a nursing major and I have improved on my assessment skills, communication, recognizing diagnosis and determined medications for the patients. The doctors taught me so much and were a great asset to my education. I would definitely recommend going on this trip.

Josephine N.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I learned more in this week about the world, life, language, medicine and how to interact with patients than I think I could in a semester at my university. My experience was great, I met amazing people and I would do it again in a heartbeat.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

VIDA IS AMAZING! They will take great care of you wherever you are while giving you the experience of a lifetime! I have traveled with VIDA twice and my second time was even better than the first! I LOVE VIDA! All their staff is awesome and patient and trust me the cost is nothing compared to everything you do there!! :)

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Absolutely recommend going on a VIDA trip. I would go again and again and again if I had the time to. It is an experience I will never forget and hope to remember for the rest of my life. We worked in Guatemala (but they also make trips to Costa Rica and Nicaragua) by treating communities with health issues because most of them are too far away from clinics or don't have the money to go there. I went with the Pre-med, Pre-PA, Pre-Dentistry group from my school. 6/5 stars if I could.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My advice...GO ON A VIDA TRIP!!! Everything about my trip to Nicaragua was incredible! Vida had great staff, learning opportunities, recreational activities, and cultural immersions! I could not have asked for a better way to spend my time over winter break. I highly recommend this trip for anyone thinking about medical, dental, or vet careers. Unlike other volunteer experiences, Vida provides great hands-on learning. This was the first clinical experience I had and it was totally worth it. As soon as I got back to school I talked to our global eduction department to set up a trip for our school. If your school doesn't have a trip of its own I definitely recommend the open trip because you meet amazing and dedicated students from all over the country at different universities. All of the students and staff are still in contact via social media, which I have never had with another trip.

1 Carmen A.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

VIDA is a charity that brings humanity back into medicine and love back into the hearts of physicians. It shows pre med students from across the country that medicine is about more than science and treating diseases. the program brings care to those in the world that are being forgotten and treated unfairly. VIDA is increasing the abilities of individuals and it is showing people around the world that we can do so much more and touch the hearts of so many more people when we let go and take chances. Anyone who has the opportunity to volunteer in this program is lucky as they will leave forever transformed into a more sensible human being. Pura Vida!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a pre-vet student in Arizona who went on a VIDA trip in 2013 and again as a Trip Coordinator in 2014.
This summer I spent two weeks in Costa Rica and Nicaragua as a volunteer with VIDA, Volunteers for Intercultural and Definitive Adventures. Our trip included a Veterinary team, a Dental team, and a Medical team. Our goal was to serve the impoverished communities in the area while gaining knowledge and experience in clinical settings. This trip was amazing! We did so much hands-on learning under the guidance of the veterinarians and technicians. In just 8 clinic days we performed 74 spays and neuters, over a hundred consults and treated over 210 cattle, pigs and horses. I placed IV catheters, intubated dogs, and assisted in surgeries. This trip has been an experience of a lifetime that I recommend to all pre-vet students. I hope that when I become a veterinarian I can take time to do a trip like this and help future students get similar experiences.

Jennifer368

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Going on a VIDA trip was the best thing that I did this summer. Not only do you get clinical experience but you also get to make amazing friends as well. I just arrived today from my VIDA trip and I can honestly say I have gained so much knowledge both educational and personal. The doctors that I worked with were such great teachers. They were patient, and kind and they truly cared about their patients. I don't i've ever had so much fun learning before.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

Absolutely wonderful experience! VIDA is a wonderful organization that helps people in need while providing unique experiences for its volunteers. I wouldn't hesitate to go on another VIDA trip!

Tanner2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The VIDA foundation does exactly what it says in its description; it positively impacts the quality of life in underserved communities while offering volunteers a life changing experience. I went into the trip apart of the medical team expecting to learn about taking vital signs, communicating with patients, and to make a few friends, but my expectations were blown out of the water. Vida gives volunteers the opportunity to gain experience and knowledge not only in their respective professional fields, but also in cultural diversity, and in their own lives. My experience with VIDA over the last two weeks has changed my perspective in so many ways. It is a wonderful chance to be pushed from your comfort zone into a life opening experience that you can only understand with your own heart and see with your own eyes. JUST DO IT. pura vida.

Nikki27

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Vida is an incredible organization. I just got home yesterday from my amazing 2 week experience and I can't say enough good things. The Vida staff, volunteers and people we helped all connected in a way that I don't think could happen under any other circumstances. Being pushed outside of your comfort zone surrounded by supportive people who are passionate about helping others is such a great opportunity. I was nervous before I left, not knowing what to expect, but everything we did both during both Clinic days and our days off exceeded my expectations. This organization really knows what they're doing and their passion and goal is an honest one. They want to help make a positive impact on the world. If you're thinking about volunteering with this organization, DO IT!!!! I'm so thankful I did!!!!

Morvin P.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Just got back from Vida trip. If you are thinking about doing a trip, DO it. It is a life changing experience. You get to help out so many people on your way. They are so grateful and humble. The people I met on the trip were amazing. We started off as individuals and ended the trip as a family. Not only you get to discover the cultural difference but also discover yourself.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I just came back from my first VIDA trip to Guatemala with the vet team. The experience I have gained is priceless. The staff is truly amazing, and the trip is VERY well organized. Other than the great experience gained with assisting veterinarians and learning, you also get to experience the culture of the country which was eye opening. I also had the opportunity to bond with staff members and other volunteers and created long-lasting friendships. The trip far exceeded my expectations, you will not regret going on a trip with VIDA!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

VIDA is an amazing organization that allows volunteers to grow through there learning experience while helping others in need. I just got back from my trip to Guatemala and it was truly a life changing experience. I was on the vet team and I learned more on this trip then I ever have back home. It really helps you decide if being a vet is what you want to do with your life because it's so much more hands on then volunteering at a vet clinic at home. Being able to help the animals and then returning them to their loving families and seeing their smiles was worth everything. I would love to do another VIDA trip. The staff were incredibly friendly and I never felt like I couldn't ask for help. You won't regret doing a VIDA volunteer trip!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Vida is (by far) the best organization out there for medical, dental and veterinary work. I was on the trip to Guatemala with Danny and Edo (papi) as the team leader and assistant team leader respectively. These two individuals are absolutely amazing! They immediately treated us as family, from the moment we landed in Guatemala City. The whole Vida staff should receive a pat on the back for their amazing support throughout the trip. I never expected such gratitude and care and they really helped us feel at home. The trip was well organized and the food was amazing. We did not eat rice and beans every single day and the home-stay families were very caring. I couldn't have asked for more. I recommend Vida to anyone that wants to volunteer their time and help local people with the medical or dental teams. Amazing experience and I will definitely be back next year!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

VIDA staff consists of the most amazingly friendly individuals I have ever met. They become your friends, and the entire experience is incredibly enjoyable and informational. I would strongly consider doing a trip with VIDA again. Thank you Danny and Edo for making this trip so amazing. It wouldn't have been the same without you two. I would strongly recommend this trip to those who are interested. You can't go wrong.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

VIDA is a great organization with an even better mission to serve families in under-served areas of Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Guatemala. The staff is helpful and so much fun! Couldn't have spent my spring break with better people :)

Rachel117

Volunteer

Rating: 5

VIDA was a fantastic experience that lived up to and beyond my expectations. The veterinarians that we worked with were dedicated to making sure that we each felt comfortable with the procedures we performed and helped out with every step of the animal care process. They were also great people to get to know and hang out with after clinics. Overall, VIDA made sure that there was a good balance between clinic days, work, and recreation and fun. It was an amazing experience and I would highly recommend to any pre-vet student that they take the opportunity to travel with VIDA!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I thought VIDA was the experience of a lifetime! I would recommend this organization to anyone interested in veterinary, medical, or dental. The firsthand experience that I obtained surpassed any work I'd done with animals prior. Going on this trip affirmed that I am making the right life choice becoming a veterinarian!

Ryan45

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I participated on the trip last year and had the opportunity to be campus coordinator this year. VIDA did an amazing job both years at providing students with an excellent learning opportunity in both medicine and cultural diversity. VIDA is well organized and makes traveling all over the countries a breeze. Staff and doctors know English and Spanish well and are willing to offer any assistance to students either at clinics sites or during free days. I would highly recommend VIDA for any college student wanting to gain valuable experience in the MED/VET/DENTAL field.

Denine A.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

VIDA is a GREAT organization! Before I signed up for the trip and even while I was preparing to leave I had a lot of doubts. Would I be able to find VIDA at the airport? Is VIDA going to be sure I'm safe and have a safe place to stay the entire trip? Will VIDA provide enough food for 12 days? Is VIDA reliable in case of an emergency? The answer is YES! I had an AMAZING trip! The learning experience, cultural experience, and volunteer experience is SPECTACULAR! The doctors are awesome and really do their best to educate you and the patient. The trip leader (Ana) was AWESOME and took care of us like we were her own children! The relaxation days were also so much fun! We went to the hot springs, a lagoon, and we went zip-lining! I would go back in a heartbeat if I could! The knowledge and memories I gained with VIDA will last a lifetime!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

VIDA volunteer was the best organization I could've chosen to volunteer for. The staff was absolutely wonderful and accommodating even when a bunch of our flights got cancelled and rescheduled. The clinics were well-organized and were a really cool experience. I got to have hands-on contact with patients that many people do not get the chance to experience as an undergrad student. The home stay was also an awesome experience because we got to stay at actual houses and experience the culture first-hand. Thank you for the experience of a lifetime!

Alura Patrin

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Indescribable trip unless you experience it yourself! It was an incredible experience to be cultured, educated within your desired field, make friendships that will last a life time and have an absolute blast while doing it! I would attend another trip in a heartbeat!

Volunteer

Rating: 4

Vida provided me with an experience that I wouldn't have been able to get anywhere else. I learned so much about veterinary medicine and got a ton of hands on experience. It really reaffirmed that I want to be a vet. We also did lots of fun things as well and learned a lot about new cultures!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My trip was an amazing experience! The staff was wonderful and everything went as planned. I really enjoyed the home stay experience, I think that was a great addition to the trip.

Samantha A.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This past trip that I just completed was my second trip with VIDA. That alone should say a lot. The staff are wonderful and helpful and you meet some amazing people. Everyone says it's life-changing because it's true, with each VIDA trip I go on I grow as a person. In the (hopefully) near future I plan on doing more VIDA trips.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

This was by far the best way to not only gain hands on experience in veterinary medicine but also experience a cultural and life changing trip. I learned so much with VIDA and hope that someday I will be able to work with them again.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

Most amazing experience of my life. A perfect mix between being in paradise and changing lives.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I absolutely loved my VIDA trip. I met some amazing people and I was able to help the locals in the process. The satisfaction I felt when i saw the patient smile after we told them we would be able to help them definitely confirmed that I want to be in the medical field!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I learned way more from this trip in two weeks then I would ever learn in a classroom. I was completely surrounded by culture and thrilling experiences that I would never have gotten the chance to experience if I wasn't traveling with VIDA. I learned what these communities deal with on a daily basis, which has made me appreciate everything I have back at home. The hands-on medical experience is something I would have never been able to experience until after PA school. I would love to go again next year! Thank you for everything!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

VIDA did a great job of guiding us through being in different countries as well as gave us a once in a lifetime experience to help people in need that we wouldn't be able to do in the United States.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I learned far more than what I expected to on this eye-opening trip. I got amazing hands on experience in Costa Rica and Nicaragua as one of the members of the veterinary volunteers. The veterinarians that I got to work along side of were so helpful and patient as I learned the procedures in the clinics. The VIDA group I was a part of was one of the larger groups that have volunteered, but the trip was still very personal, and I feel as if I made relationships with many in the group as well as our incredible Team Leader. I would definitely recommend a VIDA trip to anyone willing to learn a lot about the field they're interested in, as well as learning a lot about themselves along the way.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Such a great trip. It was so reasonable and more than worth it for the experience you get. You get a lot hands on experience and get to work along side friendly and intelligent doctors who are willing you always explain situations to you and help you learn first hand.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I traveled to Costa Rica and Nicaragua as an undergraduate veterinary volunteer. VIDA was an incredibly rewarding experience. I got to learn and do things that I would not otherwise had the opportunity to do until vet school, while knowing that I was making a difference and helping both people and animals. VIDA was a wonderful way to combine learning and service and it was definitely a once in a lifetime opportunity. The program was also very well organized and the trip ran very smoothly even with almost 50 people traveling together.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I am a retired CPA, physician and hospital administrator and currently a dog rescuer . I have served on the VIDA board for 8 months but I have been familiar with the organization for 5 years. I have utilized some of their services for my dogs and became acutely aware of the benefit they provide to the communities they serve. I highly recommend the VIDA trips for anyone looking for a hands on learning experience, along with the opportunity to experience another culture and to have some fun.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I just took a Pre-Medical VIDA trip to Nicaragua! It was by far the greatest experience of my life. Going in to the trip I was a little scared and unsure of what to expect. I was worried about going to a different country. the language barrier, homestays. After meet the trip coordinator all those fears went away. VIDA staff did an amazing job helping the whole group feel comfortable in a different country. VIDA staff did an amazing job translating and making sure all our needs were meet. The clinic days where exceptional!! The translators and doctors were very educated. The doctors were very willing to teach each and everyone of us and I feel like I learned so much fro each and everyone of them. The homestay families were absolutely amazing. Great families that VIDA all picked for us and they were so great to us. I am so thankful for the opportunity VIDA presented to me and I will remember this trip for the rest of my life. Mind blowing experience. I would recommend it to everyone and surely do it again in a heartbeat.

Tatum O.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I just came back from a pre-vet visit to Guatemala with VIDA. I was able to learn so much with all of the experienced staff. We worked with 4 Vets and 2 Vet School students on this trip. We helped over 500 animals on this trip! Not only was I able too visit a new country and experience a new culture but I also learned so much about being a vet. On the trip itself everything was planned out for me but we also got free time to explore the cities we visited. Overall it was an invaluable experience and I will definitely do it again next year.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Going on this trip was the best decision I ever made. It has helped me realize how fortunate I am for the opportunities I have been given and the way that I live. This trip was also a very good opportunity to help others and give to communities that had very little. It was a very life-changing and fulfilling experience.

Jacob5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This trip pushed me far out of my comfort zone; it was exactly what I needed. Though I was committed to Dentistry before this trip, everything I did put into words and actions the once abstract and undefinable reasons I had for pursuing Dentistry. I learned just how much one toothbrush can help, what it feels like to teach someone how to brush their teeth for the first time, how much your time and effort means to someone who is less privileged than you. The team leaders were the perfect blend of friend and leader, empowering us to do our best work and have fun by leading by example. The professional staff was very much the same and were more than happy to answer any of the questions we had; the trip was very much an educational experience. All in all, I would absolutely return and plan on doing so next year.

Sherri L.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I served as the CFO and Treasurer on the Board for five years. I personally watched VIDA grow from a kitchen table idea to a respected organization. I provided support from the USA side of the business by sourcing supplies, medicines, promotional products and financial services. I had visited Costa Rica a couple times before in my life so I understood some of the challenges the organization faced with transportation, shipping, housing, communication within the country. I loved hearing all the stories from organization leaders and other members of the board about the successes we were achieving. Nothing, absolutely nothing they said could have prepared me for my first VIDA trip... I was humbled. We visited communities with no running water, homes without windows, no trash removal, no electricity, outdoor kitchens and bathrooms, entire communities with no cars, people washing their clothes in the river.... And they looked happy! They live in small, strong, tight knit communities, older generations helping raise new generations. Entire families helping to support the family business whether it is shoe making or embroidery or furniture making. The people of Central America are looking for what we are all looking for; they just want good medical care and dental care for themselves and their loved ones. They want cleaner, healthier living and when that help and education come to them, they are so very grateful. It brings peace to the parents when they know their child can live a long, happy, healthy life. For the VIDA volunteers I shared this journey with, their lives and vision for their futures were forever changed. That is the power of volunteering and the power of VIDA.

Volunteer

Rating: 3

The trip was overall really great, I just felt that the biggest issue was an all-around lack of communication between everyone. Between the trip coordinator, our guide, the families we stayed with, between everyone and the volunteers, etc...It led to some frustrations that could have been avoided.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I went on a medical and dental trip with VIDA to Costa Rica during winter break of 2013. I was impressed with how smoothly the program is run, and by how big of an impact all the volunteers and staff had on the communities we served in the two Costa Rican towns we visited. Not only is this a great opportunity to help communities in need, it also is a great chance to gain valuable career experience and insight. All of the doctors and dentists were incredibly knowledgable and very helpful and engaging. The VIDA staff were great when it came to organizing the recreational activities we had (hiking and canopy zip-lining), as well as organizing smaller things like going out for meals. The VIDA trip was incredibly influential in my mindset of my future career as a physician, as well as on my overall outlook on global communities like the two we visited in Costa Rica. I would definitely recommend this program to anyone who wants to gain professional and cultural experience, or for anyone who just wants to make a different in impoverished communities!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had the opportunity to go on a trip to Costa Rica with VIDA as a medical volunteer, and I can positively tell you it was the most amazing experience of my life! The staff were highly friendly and useful (in fact I'm dealing with separation depression right now...), and I believe the trip was quite well planned. We had 5 days of clinic, and 2 days of fun activities including swimming in a river, going to a tropical jungle, visiting a waterfall, visiting a water fall and ZIP-LINING. We spent the New Year there which was different for me in a good way I personally learned a lot in the clinic and thoroughly enjoyed the activities. The interpreters were extremely helpful with their translations, the doctors were quite down to earth and knowledgeable, and our trip coordinators were nice and helpful all the time. I DEFINITELY RECOMMEND VIDA TO EVERYONE!!