My daughter received over 200 hours of training prior to going in country (2014). She was more than prepared and as a parent I felt extremely confident in this organization to provide a safe and illuminating experience. If she had done something like this on her own, at 16 years of age, without proper guidance and training, I wonder if she would have even returned for lack of preparation.
Because of this training and the immense preparation, she is now contributing as a leader training new participants, and contributing to the overall growth and continued excellence of our local chapter.
Parent & Board Member
I was enormously disappointed with the program because Amigos required me to do my own fundraising in addition to paying over $6,300 to participate That's an outrageous amount of money, especially considering that the cost of living is so low there. I could have spent the same amount of money and stayed for 6 months, not 6 weeks, if I did the trip on my own. Volunteers relentlessly made their pitches at my school to convince kids to participate as well as urge their parents and relatives to donate money to their company. I was given the impression I'd get financial aid but I got nothing - like I said, I was responsible for fundraising and using social media to draw more people in. There are better ways to experience another culture and perform community service than to go through Amigos. They claim that they'll increase your confidence through their programs, but if you think about it, you already have to be pretty confident to be willing to travel abroad to a rural community abroad. Overpriced. Underwhelming. Look elsewhere.
In 2010, at age sixteen, I served as a volunteer for Amigos de las Americas (AMIGOS) in Azuero, Panama. To say that my volunteer experience in Panama was transformational is an understatement. Words cannot truly depict the complete metamorphosis I underwent during that summer. I became more self confident, improved my public speaking abilities (in both English and Spanish), discovered new passions, and created lifelong friendships and relationships across the Americas. I returned to the United States as a mature young woman with a greater perspective on the world and increased empathy for those living in poverty. This past summer I returned to AMIGOS as a project supervisor in Perez Zeledon, Costa Rica. My time serving on project staff was again a truly transformational. The level of responsibility I was given as a project supervisor allowed me to grow in ways that other non profits and other jobs would never have let me. The high level of collaboration between AMIGOS and our local partner agencies is unparalleled with other non profit agencies of the Global North. Through engaging in real, authentic partnerships AMIGOS is empowering youth from across the Americas to be catalysts for positive social change in their own communities.
I went to Ecuador with Amigos for the first time as a 16-year old for one month. It was the most influential experience of my young adult life. I have been back to Ecuador twice to visit my host family and perform research for my honors thesis in college. I have also once hosted my host sister in my home in Houston.
Becoming a volunteer with Amigos de las Americas was the very best choice I have ever made for myself. My six weeks spent in a rural community called San Isidro in Paraguay changed the way I see myself and my place in the world. AMIGOS does way more than train and send volunteers to work on a community project. AMIGOS inspires life-long leadership, creates an appreciation for all cultures and makes you realize just how much one person can do. I think of my time in San Isidro every single day. I learned a countless number of things this summer and I now know that all I want to do with my life is make an impact and continue learning. If I had one wish, it would be that every single person could be a volunteer with AMIGOS. AMIGOS teaches you things that you could never learn anywhere else. I feel so much pride when I say that I was a volunteer with Amigos de las Americas.
My experience with amigos changed my life. I spent a year training, two months in Barahona, Dominican Republic, and then another year training others.
It is different from any organization in that it implements skills to achieve cultural sensitivity and global citizenship that one carries with them throughout their lives. The consistent mindset of support rather than help and collaboration rather than implementation is what truly sets it apart and empowers youth leaders.
My experience as an AMIGOS volunteer is the best thing that has ever happened to me. I spent 6 weeks in a rural community in Paraguay with two other volunteers. I lived with the most caring host family and worked with the community to build stoves that improved the safety and health of families. I learned that I can connect with anyone, anywhere and I am always going to continue working with this organization.
I volunteered with Amigos when I was 16 years old. I was placed in a tiny town called La Carroza in Guanajuato, Mexico. When I look back on my time as a volunteer I wonder how I was able to do what I did at such a young age. Then I remember it wasn't just me doing it. With the help of my partner, the Amigos staff, my host family, and the citizens of La Carroza we were able to make what was hopefully a long-lasting change. We petitioned the local government for a trash pick-up service to come once a week, helping a town that previously burned or buried their trash. We got durable trash cans which we painted and decorated with local students, who were simultaneously learning about personal and environmental health. Even now when I am faced with a challenge, I look back at my time as a volunteer and think "If I could do that, I can do this." It is so much more than a service trip, it's an organization that builds bridges that change lives on both sides.
I volunteered for 8 weeks in a small community in Paraguay in 2011. I had just finished my sophomore year in high school. No other program offered an opportunity to be as independent in a foreign country and truly get to know the culture without being surrounded by fellow Americans. I loved my time, the people I worked with (both Amigos employees/other volunteers and community members). I built 16 latrines, ran camps for the kids everyday lasting 2-8 hours, fundraised money in the community to buy 3 community trash cans, picked up trash and worked on a photography initiative run by one of the leaders. I had such an amazing time, that I became a trainer the following 2 years helping more students prepare for their amazing adventures. I just moved away and am missing this part of my life so much that I'm looking to get involved with AMIGOS across the country from where I'm from.