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.

Katie Nichols, Operations Manager
Katie Nichols
Operations Manager

When I volunteer abroad, I'm helping my community - a community of global citizens and fellow humans. And, I'm becoming a more open-minded citizen with an international perspective in the process.

When I traveled on my first international volunteer experience in Ghana, I had no idea how I could help as a college student with no teaching experience. I quickly realized in my classroom that these students were eager to learn, but needed a bit more support in an over-crowded classroom. With the extra support from me, I was able to support a smaller group of students, and provide much-needed one-on-one attention. I may not have changed the world in my month abroad, but I have these kids a head start at learning the basics, and gave one very overworked teacher a bit more relief in focusing on her older students. My experience taught me that we all have the same motivations and desires, and we all deserve a chance at a quality education.

CCS programs I’ve completed:



Check out my blog posts:

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When I volunteer abroad, I'm helping my community - a community of global citizens and fellow humans. And, I'm becoming a more open-minded citizen with an international …

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Juan Carlos Buonafina, Guatemala Country President
Juan Carlos Buonafina
Guatemala Country President

Juan Carlos Buonafina is known for his kind personality and for his dedication to the people of his home country of Guatemala. Juan Carlos is an educator, an intercultural exchange professional, and an expert at guiding international volunteer experiences. After receiving his degree, Juan Carlos started his career with CCS, specifically leading the CCS teen program in the Maya Highlands of Tecpan. Join Juan Carlos on your Guatemala journey to gain a unique and unparalleled insight into life in the mountainside towns of Guatemala.

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Juan Carlos Buonafina is known for his kind personality and for his dedication to the people of his home country of Guatemala. Juan Carlos is an educator, an intercultural …

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Cara Ferragamo Murray, Chief Sales & Marketing Officer
Cara Ferragamo Murray
Chief Sales & Marketing Officer

As the Chief Sales & Marketing Officer for Cross-Cultural Solutions and its parent company, Impact Global Education, Cara leads the branding, marketing, and sales strategies for the organization. With over 25 years of experience in brand management, relationship marketing, and partnership alliances, Cara is committed to providing individuals with impactful service-learning and community-engagement opportunities that address the health and education challenges around the world.

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As the Chief Sales & Marketing Officer for Cross-Cultural Solutions and its parent company, Impact Global Education, Cara leads the branding, marketing, and sales strategies for …

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Matt Hardy, Chief Risk Officer
Matt Hardy
Chief Risk Officer

Matt is based in South East Asia and has worked with several organizations facilitating programs in the region. He has also worked for National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) leading courses for university students and mountain guides in India.

Matt worked for five years as director of the Experiential Education program at Johns Hopkins University. This program provided transformative experiences for students outside of the traditional classroom and gave student instructors the ability to develop skills in judgment, decision-making, interpersonal connection and facilitation.

Matt loves to explore. Since moving to Southeast Asia he has cycled more than 7,000 kilometers on roads in the region, wandered paths through the Himalayas in Nepal and India, and has helped students learn new skills of self-sufficiency in travel and exploration as they navigate the intricacies of bus and train travel in India.

Matt holds a master’s degree in Adventure Education with an emphasis on program management. He is passionate about student growth and believes that international experiences are ideal for developing the competency and initiative necessary to lead effective and fulfilling lives.

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Matt is based in South East Asia and has worked with several organizations facilitating programs in the region. He has also worked for National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) …

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Gary Robinson, LMHC, PC
Gary Robinson
LMHC, PC

Gary has dedicated himself for over 30 years to helping students overcome barriers to learning and growth in college/university counseling center settings. His clinical specialties have included stress management, mood and anxiety disorders and life coaching/mentoring. He holds degrees from the University of Pittsburgh and the State University of New York.

Gary was a staff member on Semester at Sea, an around-the-world voyage of discovery. He serves on the International Committee for the American Counseling Association (ACA). Recently, he teamed up with 2 other licensed mental health professionals to form P3 Mental Health Advisors, LLC. P3 serves in a training and consulting role to several Gap Year, Experiential Education and Service Learning programs.

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Gary has dedicated himself for over 30 years to helping students overcome barriers to learning and growth in college/university counseling center settings. His clinical …

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Franklin Torrez, Costa Rica Country President
Franklin Torrez
Costa Rica Country President

Franklin brings his passion for social development and sustainable solutions for social equity to his position as Country President with Cross-Cultural Solutions. is part of the Cross Cultural Solutions team in Costa Rica as a Country President. Franklin received a bachelor’s degree in Food Science and Technology from Zamorano University in Honduras and did a study program in Sustainable Agriculture at Minnesota University. Previous to his work with CCS, he worked Global Brigades- Nicaragua and he was involved as a volunteer with non-profit organizations in Ethiopia, Uganda, and Ecuador.

Besides his work with Global Brigades and CCS, Franklin is a student of apologetics and loves to play chess.

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Franklin brings his passion for social development and sustainable solutions for social equity to his position as Country President with Cross-Cultural Solutions. is part of the …

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Jack Nitsiri, Thailand Country President
Jack Nitsiri
Thailand Country President

I draw my inspiration from his Majesty the King Bhumibol Adulyadej who upholds the principle of giving the needy a tool to catch fish, rather than handing out fish as their food. This is exactly what CCS aims to do. Instead of simply giving away money, we provide volunteer services to the Thai communities who need it most.

After spending a summer abroad in the US, I realized just how much knowing English can help open one's world. I wanted to find a way to give this opportunity to others in Thailand. I joined CCS in 2008, after graduating from college. In 2015 I took an opportunity to work for the U.S. Embassy, but ultimately decided to return to my CCS family in 2018.

I love working for CCS because I get to see just how much the volunteer work both impacts the volunteers' hearts and improves the education of the Thai children we serve. I am inspired by volunteers who chose to give up their time back home to come and support our communities in Thailand.

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I draw my inspiration from his Majesty the King Bhumibol Adulyadej who upholds the principle of giving the needy a tool to catch fish, rather than handing out fish as their food. …

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Makafui Amenuvor , Ghana Country President
Makafui Amenuvor
Ghana Country President

I am committed to the protection of children through education and opportunities to rise from poverty.

Growing up in small town in Ghana with my grandparents, I have seen the vulnerability that comes from being raised in poverty and not having opportunities for education. I was fortunate to have parents who believed in the value of education, and attended a Technical School to further my talents in electronics. However, it was CCS volunteers who motivated me, as a young man, to follow my passions and goals of attending university to establish a career in social justice and change.

In Ghana, over 28% of the population lives in poverty at under $1 per day. With schools that are too often underfunded and overcrowded, the need for individual attention, guidance, and encouragement to children pursuing their dreams is key to a brighter future. I am committed, with CCS volunteers, to improving the possibilities for each child in my community.

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I am committed to the protection of children through education and opportunities to rise from poverty. Growing up in small town in Ghana with my grandparents, I have seen the …

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Mohamed Mhmmoudi, Morocco Country President
Mohamed Mhmmoudi
Morocco Country President

I fight for the education of vulnerable women, children, and those with developmental disabilities to combat illiteracy and increase opportunities to continue formal schooling.

Growing up in a rural village of Morocco where many children didn’t have the opportunity to attend school, I see myself in many of the children volunteers work with. Very close to home, my mother is also illiterate; and I have seen the impacts of illiteracy on early mortality rates, high fecundity, malnutrition, and high infant mortality. Literacy and education is a key social issue in Morocco to improve the lives and futures of women and children. I was fortunate to earn a degree in Economics & Management and continued my work toward improving my community through the Peace Corps as the Safety & Security Manager, coming full circle from a turning point in my life after meeting a Peace Corps volunteer as a teenager.

I am proud to serve as a humanitarian and educator to promote peace and understanding across a broad range of cultures. As an international leader, my work with volunteers and with my community inspires me to do my part to create a world where every child has the opportunity to pursue an education, and to receive the compassion and love they deserve.

Credentials

Mohammed III University, Fes, Morocco (Business Management)
Master's Level Courses, Economic Policies (2 years)

Work Experience
Peace Corps (7 years): Safety & Security Officer
Teacher of Business & Law at ESIAS High School

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I fight for the education of vulnerable women, children, and those with developmental disabilities to combat illiteracy and increase opportunities to continue formal …

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