FrancisCorps has two volunteer houses: one located in Central New York in the city of Syracuse and the other in Alajuela, Costa Rica
The volunteer house in Syracuse, New York is located in the neighborhood of the Northside. Our volunteers live in a cozy split-level house consisting of 8 bedrooms, two baths, a communal living space, a prayer space, a kitchen, basement with washer and dryer, and an upstairs porch. The house is located within about 10-15 minute drive to all worksites and downtown.
Syracuse has a population of about 145,000 people and at times it can seem a little rough around the edges as the presence of poverty is great but it offers many opportunities to the local community. The community is rich as it holds strong to its roots from the past as well as embracing the new, as Syracuse has become a major hub for refugee resettlement. Syracuse also has a “young adult” vibe as one of its main support systems is Syracuse University. From catching a SU basketball game on University Hill, a bite to eat in Armory Square or a concert at The Westcott Theater, these are just a few ways to explore the perks of Syracuse.
If you were to leave Syracuse, you might find yourself in the beautiful region of the Finger Lakes or taking in the fresh air of the Adirondack Mountains. A couple hours down the road you could find yourself drenched by the water of Niagara Falls or checking out the Gorges of Ithaca. Syracuse is also located centrally between Toronto, Montréal, Boston and New York City if a longer community excursion is desired.
Within the Syracuse community, FrancisCorps has seven different placement sites for the volunteers. The placement sites work directly with the poor in after school community centers for youth, a community of developmentally disabled adults, food pantry for the poor and marginalized, assisting with refugee resettlement and in a shelter for battered women and children.
The FC Volunteer house is located in Alajuela, Costa Rica. Alajuela is a small city about 10 minutes from the San Jose Airport. The Franciscan Friars have a large gated property with a friary (called “convento” in Spanish and Italian) as well as a couple of retreat centers. The volunteers live in a wing of one of the retreat centers where they have simple accommodations. There are individual bedrooms with their own bathrooms and internet connection. There is a kitchen, dining room, living room and laundry room. There is also a large covered patio for the volunteers to use for relaxing and dining. There is lots of room on the property to find quiet and refreshment. The local area is safe and friendly.
Costa Rica is a small country of about four million people and twice as many cars. Costa Rica is geographically located between the Caribbean and the Pacific Oceans and sits among numerous breath-taking mountains, volcanoes, and rainforest. As part of the Latin American family, Costa Rica is one of the wealthier third world countries. Costa Rica made a deliberate choice not to have a military force and to invest in education and healthcare. That being said, the presence of poverty and hardship is visible on a daily basis especially for the FC volunteers in their neighborhood and the ministries they serve. Exposure to the poor is daily part of the FC experience both in Costa Rica and Syracuse.
The Costa Rican or Tico culture is like none other and is bustling with a tranquil but energetic lifestyle. From the term Pura Vida which means literally “Pure Life” or more loose translation of “It’s all good,” the vibe is very welcoming. Even though the city center is not the most beautiful, the friendly people and the delicious food sure make up for the loss. You cannot go wrong with a typical breakfast meal of Gallo Pinto and cup of coffee!
Applicants for Costa Rica must be proficient in Spanish. Please visit our “Requirements” page on this site.