Community Engagement
Investing Through Community-Defined Service

Through 35 years of trial and error working in grassroots community development, Via International has learned about the impact and power of programs that are responsive to locally defined needs and which call for the leadership of local residents. During this time, we also recognized the desire of people from all walks of life to invest in these local community-defined efforts by volunteering their time to be part of something larger than themselves.

Via’s approach to volunteering facilitates investment in one’s own community. Taking many forms and bringing a much needed influx of energy, understanding, and capital - together this work creates what Via calls a Community Investment.


There are few key principles that we believe are necessary all of our projects:

  • Our work must be community-led

  • We work side-by-side with community members to achieve set goals

  • Dialogue is the cornerstone of work - the real ‘work’ is not just the project but is the space the it provides in order to better understand the cross-cultural impact of issues ranging from gentrification, poverty, and the challenge of building a sustainable future.

Community-Defined Service Opportunities

Beehive Build

Activity:  You can invest in building hives to support low income families while learning all about the magic of bees!  This 3-hour team-building workshop is available year-round.

To book a build-a-beehive event please email


  • One hive produces 20 liters of honey per harvest and lasts for 10 years.  That is 200 liters of honey, of $2000 of supplemental annual income for a low income rural family.  

  • Bees pollinate crops and support our food system.  

  • Beekeeping is a community/family affair that involves teams of people.  

  • Honey is nutritious and provides micronutrients.

History:  In 2001 a group of 7 women in Mexicali received the gift of two beehives from a Via Board member. They had expressed interest to learn about beekeeping as a healthy alternative for children in the nutrition education program. That one act combined with micro credit loans supported the idea to grow to 400 productive hives. More families want to join to supplement their income.

Mural Painting, Restoration and Education

Activity: You can work alongside San Diego-based artists to either restore a historic mural, or we can work with your school, organization or business to design and create a brand new community mural. In order to better understand the power and impact of murals, we also offer 2-hour workshop on how to read the famous Murals of Chicano Park.  

To learn more click here.

Community Gardens

Activity: You can join one of Via’s community garden initiatives. As a garden member you will receive invites to special events and openings, garden access, and work alongside community members to plant, cultivate, and harvest healthy fruits and vegetables.

Become a garden member by emailing


  • Schools use gardens to provide environmental and nutrition education

  • Gardens provide productive green spaces and enhance neighborhoods

  • Diverse communities work together for health and improved environment

History:  San Diego’s climate allows our community to grow fresh produce year round.  The community garden legacy in San Diego includes school gardens, and those managed by different cultural/ethnic groups.