Jaco’s Community Center Promotes Well-Being Of Youth

The Costa RIca Team and Charles Boyd are advocates for the positive development of youth

Epicentro Por La Paz, Jaco’s Community Center

The Centro Civico Por La Paz Garabito, also known as Epicentro Civico, the Community Center or CCP, is part of a network of seven, one for each province of the country. It is included in the Progam of Prevention of Violence and Promotion of Social Inclusion. Located on Calle Ancha on the north end of Jacò, the CCP includes a state of the art skatepark with ramps, a basketball court, and a library. Theater, contemporary dance, ballet, taekwondo, and music classes are only some of the workshops offered absolutely free to the public. This is an initiave driven by the State, coordinated through the Ministery of Justice and Peace in association with the Municipality and the Ministery of Culture. The Center was created for and by the community. It is especially directed at kids and adolescents through 18 years old. The cause is one that is close to Charles Boyd of The Costa Rica Team’s heart.

 The Public Library

Charles Boyd and The Costa Rica Team support literacy.

Assistant, Reina, on the left with head librarian Nicole.

CornerStones Education Foundation started Jaco’s first library in 2009. “We started working on a library in 2009, and we had a physical space by the end of that year. Countless community members donated their time and resources in order to make the library come alive. For the first few years, we were an unofficial community center. We had a lot of eager minds walking through those doors. It was a beautiful thing to be a part of,” explains Liana Robinson, President of CornerStones. “We were delighted when it was decided that Jacò would receive a Civic Center. It was a dream come true.” These days, the library is run by the Municipality of Garabito and the National System of Libraries (SINABI). CornerStones is still active in Jaco, and collaborates with the Municipality.

A Friend In Deed

Liana’s long time helper, Reina, still works as an assistant librarian as she completes the transition into a municipal employee. She manages the teaching of free English and art classes offered by the library. The English classes are offered by volunteers from Logos, and are tailored to individual needs. Nicole Brenes Rocha is the main librarian. The library lends books, which are available in many languages, and has computers and internet access. There are ongoing free English and art classes, a chess club, story hour and afternoon movie showings. The library is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. The main number is 2643 – 1116. Schedule English classes directly with Reina by calling 8395-4748. She is also available for beginner Spanish classes.

“Kids (and adults) know that they can go to Reina for help with anything from a math problem to a personal problem. She also maintains an approachable persona for those who may need a helping hand with the basic necessities such as food or a pair of shoes.”  – Liana Robinson, Cornerstones Education Foundation 

Charles Boyd and The Costa Rica Team

Marianela Vargas, Program Coordinator, with Rosemari and Maria Fernanda, students of CTP (Professional Technical Highschool) in Jaco

Technical Courses and Tutorials

Through INA, Instituto Nacional de Aprendizaje, students of fifteen years and above can enroll in a series of courses to earn a certification.  Courses can also be taken independently, for example if someone is interested in learning a new skill or sharpening an existing one.  While all services and classes are free to the public, there is the requirement of being a resident in order to take a technical course. Karen Mejias is taking an Accounting class at the civic center.  She says,  “The majority of my classmates would not be able to take the course if it wasn´t free. There are also scholarships available to students.”  All courses and workshop classes are taught in Spanish by qualified instructors.  The CCP also has volunteers that offer tutorial help in all school subjects.

The skatepark at CCP includes a half pipe. VIsitors must wear helmets.

The Skatepark and Workshops

Yese Cid, a parent living in the Jaco Community, has been taking her children to the skatepark at the CCP regularly since its opening. “We used to go everyday, ” she says. “It has a good ramp, something that Jaco needed. It´s always nice to go. You meet more children. There are a lot of kids and teenagers with talent; the half pipe is definitely a draw. The skatepark is more secure now because the use of helmets is enforced.” Yese adds that skateboarding is a healthy recreation for those who surf. “They can go to the skatepark when there aren´t any waves. It just lacks a roof for when it rains and also to guard against the heat.”

Katia Caprarella is a local Mom whose daughter attends both the Theater and Taekwondo workshops at the CCP. Recently she attended a performance at the Teatro Jaco (Jaco Theater) that was produced by the members of the Theater workshop. The auditorium was packed. The skits were well performed with enthusiam by participants from age seven through adult years.

“My daughter can participate in activities that stimulate her creativity, instead of being at home watching television or using her phone. She not only is learning but is also meeting and interacting with other children. I know that she is in a safe environment at the community center.” – Katia Caprarella

“Know Your Rights and Leave Your Fingerprints”


It´s important to note that although the focus of the Community Center for Peace is on the area`s youth, the workshops and classes are for everyone. “Somos Todos y Todas” is the slogan of the CCP:  “We Are Everyone.” With so many people working for the same objective, to promote peaceful co-existence and prevent violence, the seeds that have been planted are already yielding a beautiful harvest. The youth that are being guided today will be stronger people in the future, intellectually and emotionally. Perhaps they will be inclined to become leaders themselves. In any case, many will be role models for their peers. It’s reassuring to know that adults also can receive guidance at the Community Center in Jaco.  The Casa de Justicia also has an office at CCP and helps community members to resolve conflicts peacefully.

Important Numbers:  Workshops and Activites:  Gretel  2643-3863

Technical Courses (through INA) :   Carla   2643-3613















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