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Press Release

Rustic Pathways Impacted Nearly 42,000 Lives Through its 2015 Service Travel Programs


Eighty Percent of Rustic Pathways Programs Allow Students to Give Back to the Communities They Visit

HUNTSBURG, OH – January 19, 2016 – Rustic Pathways, a leader in providing international community service, education, and adventure programs for students around the world, announced today the 2015 impact results of its service travel programs and philanthropic foundation. In 2015, 41,943 individuals directly benefited from the service projects supported by Rustic Pathways.

The global reach of Rustic Pathways includes individuals in the United States, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Burma, Peru, Thailand, Tanzania and Fiji, among others. Rustic Pathways’ hardworking staff, community partners, and dedicated students are committed to positively influencing the lives and communities around the world.

“We are passionate about creating transformative experiences for our students that profoundly shape who they are and how they view the world,” said Chris Stakich, CEO of Rustic Pathways. “With the help of our global community partners this year, we were able to make a substantial life-changing impact on our students and the residents in the communities that students visit.”

Every Rustic Pathways service initiative is designed to give students an understanding of pressing social and environmental challenges at a global level with tools to combat these challenges at a local level.  Each service initiative falls into one of five categories: infrastructure, education, environment, community health and social services, or economic development. Below is a sampling of the 2015 projects that Rustic Pathways supported:


Building Black Water Treatment Systems in Dominican Republic:
For this new initiative in the Dominican Republic, Rustic Pathways partnered with Plan Yaque, a local NGO, to install water systems in rural areas to filter wastewater, also known as black water. Students installed three black water treatment systems servicing 550 residents in the Jarabacoa region of the country.

Youth Enrichment and Education

A Kindergarten in the Atlas Mountains, Morocco:
In partnership with the Al-Baraka Association of Ourikt, students worked to build a preschool and kindergarten for the community. Construction on the school was completed at the end of 2015.

Environment and Animal Welfare

Marine Conservation, Fiji Islands:
Rustic Pathways’ students worked in the Marine Conservation Area established by the village of Somosomo on the island of Naviti in Fiji. Students planted 9,156 mangroves, built and installed 15 coral structures to support regrowth and established a nursery of 21 giant clams to nurture and support the coral reef system.

Wildlife Conservation in India:
Students worked with Wildlife SOS at their elephant facility where elephants are rehabilitated from abusive situations. Wildlife SOS rescued 14 elephants in 2015 and has plans for significant expansion. Rustic Pathways students completed 144 hours of service with Wildlife SOS.

Community Health and Social Service

Access to Latrines, Dominican Republic:
Students helped to build latrines in partner communities largely comprised of Haitian migrant workers who lack access to clean water and bathroom facilities. 15 latrines were constructed through Rustic Pathways’ efforts in 2015.

Economic Development

Perka Norte Tourism Cooperative, Peru:
Students helped support the construction of bathrooms, eco-kitchens, and greenhouses to improve basic sanitation, nutrition, and living standards, which will help with their tourism cooperative for generating income in a farming community.

Financial Aid for Students

With the belief that every student should have the opportunity to learn through travel, Rustic Pathways makes their service program experiences available to as many students as possible through their scholarship programs. In 2015, Rustic Pathways awarded:

  • 113 Service Scholarships – granted to students who display both financial need merit for students who have not yet traveled with Rustic Pathways.
  • 20 International Ambassador Scholarships – an elite, competitive scholarship designed to give exceptional students from around the world (outside the United States) a unique opportunity to learn about other cultures through community service.

The full Rustic Pathways Impact Report is available here. For more information about Rustic Pathways or to book a 2016 program call 800.321.4353 or visit

About Rustic Pathways

Rustic Pathways is a leader in providing superior quality international community service, education, and adventure programs for students around the world. Founded in 1983, Rustic Pathways offers spring and summer break experiences as well as Gap Year programs and custom experiences for educators and small groups. Operating in more than 20 different countries, Rustic Pathways focuses on areas of interest from public health, medicine, and education to the environment and community service. Eighty percent of programs involve a service element where students give back to the communities they are visiting. Each program is designed to help students make meaning of their travel experiences, identify interests and passions, gain confidence, and grow as individuals. Across the globe, Rustic Pathways employs local staff and fosters lasting relationships with the communities in which it operates, enabling students to have immersive and authentic travel and service experiences. Rustic Pathways was recently voted the Best Youth Tour Operator at the 2015 World Youth Student and Travel Conference (WYSTC) by 7,500 young travelers. For more information call 800.321.4353 or visit You can also visit the Rustic Pathways Blog, or follow the company on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

Media Contact

Mia Sachs