OUR TEAM

We've got 250+ amazing folks all over the globe working tirelessly to provide you with the very best professional and personal attention, from enrollment all the way through re-entry back home, and beyond. CCS in-country Directors are local experts and every member of our stalwart crew at HQ is a proud CCS alumnus, so we all understand firsthand how international volunteering can be a total "life-changer." Not only are we super dedicated to giving the best international volunteering experience ever, but we’re also a pretty cool bunch.

Steven C. Rosenthal, Executive Director
Steven C. Rosenthal
Executive Director

An expert in the field of international development and volunteerism, Steve has spoken at the U.N. on Non-Governmental Organizations, is the Chairman Emeritus of the International Volunteer Programs Association, and is the Founding Chairman of the Building Bridges Coalition, a Brookings Institution project focused on expanding international volunteer service, improving service quality, and ensuring positive impacts in communities throughout the world. Steve also serves on the advisory boards of More Peace Corps, Atlas Corps, and Global Citizen Year; co-chairs the National Summit for Global Citizen Diplomacy Task Force on Voluntary International Service; and serves on the Roundtable Consortium for the National Clearinghouse on Disability and Exchange.

After rallying CCS staff and alumni around relief efforts at the World Trade Center, Steve accepted the New York Senate Liberty Award "for selfless contributions during the terrorist attacks" of September 11th. Learn more about CCS' efforts at the World Trade Center site after September 11th.

A New York native and graduate of George Washington University and the University of Colorado, Steve founded Cross-Cultural Solutions in 1995 after returning from a year of epic international adventuring and volunteering. As CCS Executive Director, he has traveled extensively throughout the world making frequent trips to the field, and plenty of friends along the way.

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An expert in the field of international development and volunteerism, Steve has spoken at the U.N. on Non-Governmental Organizations, is the Chairman Emeritus of the International …

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Farhana Rehman-Furs, Executive Vice President
Farhana Rehman-Furs
Executive Vice President

As CCS’ Executive Vice President, Farhana oversees all CCS programs worldwide. She’s responsible for the development of new programs and program sites, as well as the recruitment, development, and ongoing management of our Country and Program Directors.

Born in Pakistan and raised in England, Farhana graduated from Bath University with a degree in Business Administration, and spent her first year out of university working with Lloyds Bank in London. In search of a sea change, in December 2000, Farhana found CCS. After four months with CCS Peru, she was hooked! She’d found her calling, her passion, and her future husband. Soon after returning from her CCS program, Farhana joined the team at HQ as our CARE Corps partnership coordinator.

Over the years, Farhana has worked to ensure the highest possible quality of CCS programs. She’s also responsible for the CCS program design and ensures the safety and security of all programs, with a special focus on the health and well-being of our volunteers in-country.

Farhana is passionate about the value of international volunteering and is committed to ensuring CCS volunteers have a positive impact on our partner organizations in the field, and an incredible international experience.

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As CCS’ Executive Vice President, Farhana oversees all CCS programs worldwide. She’s responsible for the development of new programs and program sites, as well as the …

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Adam Hicks, Chief Marketing Officer
Adam Hicks
Chief Marketing Officer

Prior to joining CCS, Adam was Vice President of Marketing and Communications for CARE USA -- one of the largest humanitarian organizations fighting global poverty -- for 11 years. With CARE, he led their "I am Powerful" campaign – chances are, you’ve seen it around! Prior to joining CARE, Adam spent 12 years with The Coca-Cola Company. In his last four years there, he was Director of the Global Education Market Development Group and spearheaded brand-building efforts in over 60 countries around the world. With an incredible breadth of experience in volunteering and global humanitarianism, joining CCS was a “natural” choice for Adam and he’s been using his superstar marketing skills to bring the CCS experience to even more intrepid volunteers ever since he came on board.

Today, Adam serves on the board of HelpAge International and on the advisory board of Men of Valor, Inc. He’s a happy family man with three boys, a lovely wife, and weekends jam-packed with family outings to the soccer field and hockey rink.



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Prior to joining CCS, Adam was Vice President of Marketing and Communications for CARE USA -- one of the largest humanitarian organizations fighting global poverty -- for 11 …

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Bela Singh, India Country Director
Bela Singh
India Country Director

CCS wouldn’t be CCS without Bela! Not only is she our Country Director for CCS India, but she’s also one of our founding members, and serves on our Board of Directors. Between her first-hand knowledge of CCS India and her professional and academic background in counseling, Bela is an incredible resource for volunteers. She brings with her over 20 years of experience in international development and social services, and is renowned for her work in the field of special education. Bela is full of surprises: she loves all kinds of music, from classical Indian to Arabian music, to Jazz, and she’s an award-winning sharpshooter!

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CCS wouldn’t be CCS without Bela! Not only is she our Country Director for CCS India, but she’s also one of our founding members, and serves on our Board of Directors. Between …

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Pimsuda Tiandum, Thailand Country Director
Pimsuda Tiandum
Thailand Country Director

What would we do without Pimsuda? A Bangkok native, Pimsuda served as the Associate Regional Director of Family Planning International Assistance, an international arm of Planned Parenthood, and the Associate Director of Programming of the U.S. Peace Corps in Thailand before joining the CCS family as the Director of our Thailand program when it began in 2002. Pimsuda earned her B.S. in nursing and master’s in community and industrial guidance and counseling stateside in Kentucky. With a masters degree under her belt, she returned to Bangkok to work for the Population and Community Development Association, the largest family planning, health, and development non-profit organization in Thailand. She is passionate about many things, from reproductive health issues to Shakespeare, to spending quality time with her mother, husband, two sons, and young granddaughter. Pimsuda likes to joke that she loves citrus fruits so much because she needs the sourness to balance out her naturally sweet disposition – we couldn’t agree more!

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What would we do without Pimsuda? A Bangkok native, Pimsuda served as the Associate Regional Director of Family Planning International Assistance, an international arm of Planned …

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Thea Mushi, Tanzania Country Director
Thea Mushi
Tanzania Country Director

Born in the Kilimanjaro region, Thea came to CCS after serving as Country Director for eight years at the Irish Agency for Personal Service Overseas (APSO). She’s been with CCS since 2003, and has plenty of experience working with international volunteers like you. She is a trained accountant and social and community development worker, and is particularly passionate about the power of education on her community’s youth. Mama Thea, as she is called, loves to dance and has a huge, warm smile. She’s known for her contagious laughter and beautiful singing voice.

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Born in the Kilimanjaro region, Thea came to CCS after serving as Country Director for eight years at the Irish Agency for Personal Service Overseas (APSO). She’s been with CCS …

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Enrique “Kique” Bossio, Peru Country Director
Enrique “Kique” Bossio
Peru Country Director

Before joining CCS, Kique was the Peru and Bolivia Country Director for the Canadian University Service Overseas (CUSO). He also served as an executive committee member for the Movimiento Homosexual de Lima (MHOL), an internationally recognized organization advocating for the rights of the gay and lesbian community as well as individuals affected by HIV/AIDS. Kique has established an AIDS hotline, a Peers Education program, and Safer Sex workshops for MHOL, and has interned with Human Rights Watch in Washington, DC. Born and raised in Peru, Kique has studied in Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Peru, Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, Universidad de Lima, and the School for International Training in Brattleboro, Vermont. A proud member of the CCS advisory board, Kique is always happy to help CCS volunteers in any way he can, and strives to make the experience as meaningful and memorable as possible.

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Before joining CCS, Kique was the Peru and Bolivia Country Director for the Canadian University Service Overseas (CUSO). He also served as an executive committee member for the …

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Luann Mabakoena Hatane, South Africa Country Director
Luann Mabakoena Hatane
South Africa Country Director

It’s hard to know where to start when we brag about Luann – she came to CCS after working as the HIV/AIDS Coordinator of CARE initiatives in Lesotho, South Africa, and Swaziland, and serving as the Executive Director of NACOSA (Networking AIDS Community of South Africa). All things told, Luann brings over 20 years of experience in the field of community development, including consultant work with development agencies like USAID, Development Associates, Policy Project and CIDA, and social work with street children. When Luann takes a break from being Superwoman, she loves listening to African jazz and reggae, and unwinding with her two beautiful sons.


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It’s hard to know where to start when we brag about Luann – she came to CCS after working as the HIV/AIDS Coordinator of CARE initiatives in Lesotho, South Africa, and …

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Mohamed Mhmmoudi, Morocco Country Director
Mohamed Mhmmoudi
Morocco Country Director

Mohamed comes to CCS after six years with Peace Corps Morocco, where he provided cross-cultural interpretation and language training, managed program logistics, and ensured the safety and security of volunteers stationed throughout Morocco. A former professor of business law and a lifelong student of global affairs. When he’s not cracking jokes or engaging in thoughtful conversation with volunteers, Mohamed enjoys visiting the Moroccan village where he was born and raised to see loved ones and take a ride on his donkey.

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Mohamed comes to CCS after six years with Peace Corps Morocco, where he provided cross-cultural interpretation and language training, managed program logistics, and ensured the …

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Virginia Burmester, Guatemala Country Director
Virginia Burmester
Guatemala Country Director

During her teenage years, Virginia spent a full year studying in the U.S. and soon thereafter, traveled to Belgium as a volunteer. Once she had some globetrotting under her belt, Virginia was inspired to become a local community development leader in her native Guatemala. She's worked as an English teacher in Guatemala City for 25 years, and later, as a liaison to international exchange students and host families with American Field Services. She absolutely adores the opportunity to work with international volunteers and is always happy to share some of her deep knowledge of Guatemalan culture and history. Get to know her family, which includes four daughters, two grandchildren, and pet golden retriever, Mia, when you volunteer abroad in Guatemala.

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During her teenage years, Virginia spent a full year studying in the U.S. and soon thereafter, traveled to Belgium as a volunteer. Once she had some globetrotting under her belt, …

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Makafui Amenuvor , Ghana Country Director
Makafui Amenuvor
Ghana Country Director

Born and raised in Ghana's Volta Region, Makafui has been with CCS Ghana since its launch in 1998. After earning his bachelor's degree stateside at the University of North Dakota, Makafui established the CCS Hohoe program, and has been steering the ship ever since. When he's not busy with CCS Ghana or showing off his dance moves, Makafui loves to swim, after recently conquering a childhood fear of the water. Go, Makafui, go! A dream of his is to build an operational plane out of scrap parts; so while in Ghana, keep an eye out for anything he might be able to use.

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Born and raised in Ghana's Volta Region, Makafui has been with CCS Ghana since its launch in 1998. After earning his bachelor's degree stateside at the University of North Dakota, …

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Jose Hernández-Ugalde, Costa Rica Country Director
Jose Hernández-Ugalde
Costa Rica Country Director

Through his work with the University of Costa Rica’s International Programs department, the Foreign Service Foundation for Peace and Democracy, the United Nations Conference on the Environment, and the Close-Up Foundation in Washington, D.C., Jose brings with him extensive experience in the field of international development. Born and raised in Costa Rica, Jose is deeply involved in his community and especially committed to eliminating child abuse. A lifelong learner, Jose speaks fluent Spanish, English, and Portuguese, is currently studying International Relations and Diplomacy, and has set his sights on moonlighting as a DJ so he can make people dance. Basically, he does it all.

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Through his work with the University of Costa Rica’s International Programs department, the Foreign Service Foundation for Peace and Democracy, the United Nations Conference on …

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Vinicius Prado, Brazil Country Director
Vinicius Prado
Brazil Country Director

Vinicius (better known as Vini) was born and raised in Salvador, Brazil. He came to CCS in 2003, and since joining the team, he's earned a degree in Business Administration as well as a post-graduate MBA. He came on board with us as the CCS driver in Salvador, but these days (over a decade later), he's running the show! Vini is adored by our volunteers (and by the CCS HQ staff) and we couldn't be happier that he's stepped into the position of Country Director.

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Vinicius (better known as Vini) was born and raised in Salvador, Brazil. He came to CCS in 2003, and since joining the team, he's earned a degree in Business Administration as …

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Cassandra Tomkin, Director of Operations
Cassandra Tomkin
Director of Operations

My best piece of advice for future international volunteers:
Take a leap and let yourself be immersed in the world. On my first international volunteer program to Peru, I was definitely nervous, but I never could have imagined the way that those 3 weeks would change my life. Today, my career, my goals, even the way that I travel has all been changed by being adventurous enough to say, "I'm going to make this happen!"

What changed for me:
I made so many changes in my life after my CCS programs—but the biggest is the way that I approach the world, and other people. I learned about patience, laughter, and that it's moments and memories that matter most. I realized what was really important to me, and I learned how much I value all of these experiences.

CCS programs I’ve completed:



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My best piece of advice for future international volunteers: Take a leap and let yourself be immersed in the world. On my first international volunteer program …

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Kelly Knowles, Director of Program Enrollment
Kelly Knowles
Director of Program Enrollment

The one item I never travel without:
My sense of adventure!

What changed for me:
During my volunteering with CCS in Peru, I was able to see myself as a confident and competent traveler even though I went there on my own.

CCS programs I've completed:



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The one item I never travel without: My sense of adventure! What changed for me: During my volunteering with CCS in Peru, I was able to …

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Lauren Maitland, Director of Programs
Lauren Maitland
Director of Programs

My favorite food discovered on a CCS program:
Rosita’s pollo a la naranja—orange chicken—is hands down, the best dish. It’s this tangy, savory, chicken covered in goodness and served over rice. Rosita was our cook in Costa Rica, and she made this once a week. I would stand in the kitchen on pollo a la naranja night just to sneak a taste before my fellow volunteers and I devoured it. She would tell me her secret ingredient was love, and I believe her because almost 10 years later I still dream of that dish!

What changed for me?
Looking back at my 21 year-old self, I could never have imagined what life had in store for me. I went from not really knowing my place in the world, to a lifetime full of travel, amazing people, incredible stories, and a career that is unmatched. As an added bonus, I also learned to stop and savor the moment, take time to get to know people, and that a simple greeting could turn in to a lifelong friendship.

CCS programs I’ve completed:



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My favorite food discovered on a CCS program: Rosita’s pollo a la naranja—orange chicken—is hands down, the best dish. It’s this tangy, savory, chicken …

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Laura Mack, Alumni Engagement Specialist
Laura Mack
Alumni Engagement Specialist

Absolute favorite food discovered on a CCS program:
Costa Rican baked goods! At the Home-Base they had this incredible pineapple folded sweet bread (I am not doing it justice – trust me it’s mouthwatering). While it’s cooking, the flavors melt into each-other creating this soft and fluffy delicacy. But if sweets aren’t your favorite, you’ve still got to try everything and anything; the food is just another part of the adventure, and nothing will disappoint!

What changed for me:
My CCS experience actually changed my degree path entirely. After volunteering with CCS, I returned to college with new energy and focus. I changed direction from national politics to international development with a concentration in women’s studies. This change has made all the difference for my future.

CCS programs I’ve completed:

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Absolute favorite food discovered on a CCS program: Costa Rican baked goods! At the Home-Base they had this incredible pineapple folded sweet bread (I am not …

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Kemper O'Neill, Program Specialist - Group Specialist
Kemper O'Neill
Program Specialist - Group Specialist

My absolute favorite food discovered on a CCS program:
Mi comida favorita era ensalada palmito! This is a classic Costa Rican dish and it was served in the Home-Base. Delicious hearts of palm, which are the actual center of a palm tree, tossed with fresh veggies, crisp herbs, and a light vinaigrette. It’s simple and tasty and the perfect complement to gallo pinto!

What changed for me:
What didn’t change for me?! The travel bug had taken a giant bite out of me, I was obsessed with mastering Español, I couldn’t get enough of Latin American culture (or food!), and I did not stop thinking of the little faces I had left behind at my volunteer project. I returned to Costa Rica less than a year later, traveled twice more to other parts of Latin America, and a few years later found myself back at CCS to start my dream job.

CCS programs I’ve completed:



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My absolute favorite food discovered on a CCS program: Mi comida favorita era ensalada palmito! This is a classic Costa Rican dish and it was served in the …

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Molly Hampton, Program Specialist - Volunteer Preparation Team Lead
Molly Hampton
Program Specialist - Volunteer Preparation Team Lead

My best culture shock story:
While volunteering in Tanzania with CCS, all of the volunteers were invited to an in-country staff member’s wedding. When it was time to cut the cake, they wheeled in a fully cooked stuffed goat, or mbuzi in Swahili. The happy couple sliced up a few pieces and fed them to one another, just like we do with wedding cake in the States! It was one of those moments when I was like “Wow! I’m in Tanzania.”

What changed for me:
After I came back from Tanzania, I was more curious than I ever had been about the world. I just kept thinking, if I could fall in love with one small community in Kilimanjaro, how many other communities around the world don’t I know about that are out there for me to discover?

CCS programs I’ve completed:



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My best culture shock story: While volunteering in Tanzania with CCS, all of the volunteers were invited to an in-country staff member’s wedding. When it was …

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Danielle Key, Program Specialist
Danielle Key
Program Specialist

The one thing I never travel without:
I know it seems obvious, but my passport! All you really need is your passport and some money in your pocket, and the rest you can buy, borrow, or make due without.

What changed for me:
I first volunteered with Cross-Cultural Solutions the summer after I graduated from high school. I had no previous volunteer experience and I didn’t know what to expect. The eight weeks I spent in Brazil changed my life completely. I learned to appreciate what I have and not to take anything for granted. Another thing this the experience completely changed was the way I spent money. I stopped buying unnecessary things and started saving for my next CCS trip almost immediately. I returned to Brazil less than a year later.

CCS programs I’ve completed:

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The one thing I never travel without: I know it seems obvious, but my passport! All you really need is your passport and some money in your pocket, and the rest …

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Eric Jurovitsky, Program Specialist
Eric Jurovitsky
Program Specialist

My absolute favorite food discovered on a CCS program: While in Tanzania, I loved the morning ritual of chai tea and chapatti bread. I'd arrive to my volunteer assignment at the hospital a few minutes early and sit in a straw hut to eat chapatti—a warm, sweet flatbread—and drink tea while conversing with some of the local people about their lives. Not only was it an amazing breakfast, but it was an incredible chance to learn about the lives of the people with whom I was volunteering.

What changed for me? During my time in Tanzania, I had a long conversation with somebody that I had befriended. During this conversation, we compared the differences between where I was from and his life in Tanzania. Toward the end of the conversation, I asked him if given the choice, whether he would trade places with me. His swift response was, "no!" He then told me that he had family, and he had love, and those two things were all he needed. Then he asked if I had everything that I wanted and needed. This moment really stuck with me and ultimately, changed my perspective on my own life. Once I came home, I switched my college major, and in the end, joined the team at CCS.

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My absolute favorite food discovered on a CCS program: While in Tanzania, I loved the morning ritual of chai tea and chapatti bread. I'd arrive to my volunteer …

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Julie Webb, Program Specialist
Julie Webb
Program Specialist

A great way to bring good vibes home from your CCS experience:
Find a creative way to share your photos with friends and family. Since I fundraised my way to my first CCS experience (in Morocco) I decided to make thank you cards using photos from my trip for all of the people who contributed to my experience. It was a great way to say thank you and to share the impact that the trip had on my life.

What changed for me:
After returning home I couldn’t stop thinking about my experience and finally decided that I had to do more and applied for a position at CCS. I moved from Miami to New York to work with CCS, and my entire life changed! I now have the opportunity to share with people almost every day what I am passionate about and help others to create experiences that will shape the way they see the world. I feel like I am contributing to life, to cultural understanding, and I finally found a way to do more.

CCS programs I’ve completed:

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A great way to bring good vibes home from your CCS experience: Find a creative way to share your photos with friends and family. Since I …

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Taylor Paige, Program Specialist
Taylor Paige
Program Specialist

My funniest culture shock story: I was fortunate enough to be invited to the 85th birthday party of the former principal of the school where I volunteered. I was the youngest guest by about 30 years and the only non-Thai. Everyone was so warm and welcoming. I tried new foods, engaged in interesting conversation, and had a total blast. What I wasn’t expecting though, was that the party guests would insist that I stand at the center of every group photo. Being extremely camera shy, it was a bit of a shock, but so much fun! Thailand really is the land of smiles.

What changed for me: Volunteering at a school for students with disabilities was the most fulfilling thing I’ve ever done. Not only did I return home with such a love and appreciation for the Thai people and culture, I also learned how to better interact with members of my own family who have special needs. I can’t wait for my next opportunity to volunteer with CCS.

CCS programs I’ve completed:



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My funniest culture shock story: I was fortunate enough to be invited to the 85th birthday party of the former principal of the school where I volunteered. I was …

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Adrienne DiMarco, Program Specialist
Adrienne DiMarco
Program Specialist

Here's a great way to bring those good vibes home with you after your CCS experience:
Dance! I volunteered at a nursery school in Kilimanjaro, Tanzania. Every morning before the students were split up into their classes, the whole school (about 50-60 students) gathered in a circle outside, sang a fun song, and danced. It put everyone in a positive mood and woke everyone up so they could start their day. I now notice my days are always better when I start them off by dancing!

What changed for me:
My sense of community has strengthened since volunteering with CCS. Seeing how close, supportive, and loving a community could be made me realize that I should strengthen my relationships with members of my own hometown. Now, I try to smile at people I don't know in the store and remind myself that I should make new friends and connections everywhere I go.

CCS programs I've completed:



Check out my blog posts:

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Here's a great way to bring those good vibes home with you after your CCS experience: Dance! I volunteered at a nursery school in Kilimanjaro, Tanzania. Every …

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Carolyn Larson, Program Specialist
Carolyn Larson
Program Specialist

One item that I never travel without:
Definitely my camera! I am an avid photographer and use my skills to connect with people and learn their stories. While I was volunteering in Tanzania, I was at a preschool where the administrator gave me permission to take pictures of the children and the staff. The children were shy at first, but in the end, they loved posing for the camera! It's a great ice breaker and of course, the perfect way to share my CCS experience with family and friends.

What changed for me:
When I completed my first CCS program, I was filling out a survey handed out by the CCS in-country team in preparation for my departure from Tanzania. The question "Would you consider a career with CCS?" caught my interest. I checked the "yes" box, and when I returned home, sent my resume in to CCS HQ. I was so inspired by the mission of CCS that I wanted to encourage others to have their own life-changing experience.

CCS programs I’ve completed:

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One item that I never travel without: Definitely my camera! I am an avid photographer and use my skills to connect with people and learn their stories. While I …

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Michael Ciallela, Administrative Assistant
Michael Ciallela
Administrative Assistant

Favorite thing about working with CCS volunteers:
The passion and enthusiasm that everyone shares for CCS programs is infectious. Working with volunteers who are excited to make a difference in the world is inspirational and refreshing. I volunteer locally and have participated in fundraisers for autism awareness. I enjoy working with people on a personal level.

My must-have travel item:
A picture says a thousand words, but I always carry a pen and paper when traveling to tell the full story. I enjoy recording my thoughts, especially when I’m in an unfamiliar setting. I’d love to write a book one day.

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Favorite thing about working with CCS volunteers: The passion and enthusiasm that everyone shares for CCS programs is infectious. Working with volunteers who are …

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