AMIGOS DE LAS AMERICAS

Rating: 4.98 stars   44 reviews

Issues: Children & Youth, Health, International

Location: 5618 Star Ln Houston TX 77057 USA

Mission: Amigos de las Americas is an international, voluntary, nongovernmental, not-for-profit organization that trains high school and college age students for a summer of service in Latin America. After training with a local chapter or through the correspondence program, AMIGOS volunteers live in Latin American communities in small teams and promote basic health and environmental education. Among the services provided are: construction of latrines and wood-burning stoves; dental hygiene; health promotion; and reforestation. Services are provided in partnership with a local host agency and are designed to meet the needs of a particular country or region. Volunteers gain leadership skills, self-confidence, language skills, and awareness of other cultures, while making a positive difference in the lives of impoverished communities. In 1998, AMIGOS had 12 summer projects in Mexico, Honduras, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Brazil, and Paraguay.
2011 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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EIN 74-1547146
713-782-5290
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Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

I was a volunteer with this program in 05. Now I am a trainer, helping high school students prepare for their amazing summers to come. I feel very connected to Amigos and it was the event in my life that led me to becoming a Spanish teacher.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

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1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

Amigos was the best experience of my life. It brought me closer to my family and friends at home as I volunteered abroad. I came home with so much love and gratitude for my life and for the people who I met in Honduras. When I left my town, I truly felt that a piece of me was being taken away and saved in the hearts of my 120 person village. This was the most meaningful summer that I could have imagined. Now that I have graduated from college, I am not only still connected to the people I met and my dedication to service, but I have become a Spanish teacher so that I can teach what I learned to others while speaking in Spanish, one of the highlights and challenges of my adventures in Honduras.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

the comfort that I gained with speaking and applying Spanish in all contexts. I am now a high school Spanish teacher, recruiting my own students for an incredible life-changing summer experience.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Recruit students from all states, and not just emphasis the cities that chapters are located in. I would also create a recruiting program geared toward small liberal arts colleges across the country.

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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

I was an Amigos vol in Nicaragua in 2011. It changed my life, in so many ways. There is no other organization that puts so much faith in youth with the secure knowledge that when given responsibilities, young people will meet the challenge and then some. I learned so much about the world, about people, about myself. To be involved in Amigos in a beautiful, incredible experience and one that stays with you forever. I'm going to be a trainer this year and a project supervisor in the future; I absolutely cannot wait for what Amigos has in store for me in the future.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

My summer in Nicaragua/every day of my life since then

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

None!

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Rating: 5 stars  

As a woman in my 30s, I always feel a little ridiculous saying that one of my most life-changing experiences happened when I was 16 years old. But Amigos still is and probably always will be one experience that grew me and stretched me in ways I did not think possible. I was able to practice leadership skills and I developed my cultural awareness and sensitivity. I am now in local non profit and believe that Amigos is largely responsible for preparing me for my career.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

My host community in Costa Rica and in my own life, even 15 years after returning.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Create more scholarships for low-income volunteers.

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Rating: 5 stars  

Probably the greatest experience in my life!!! Fun, challenging, exhausting, and absolutely addictive. Where else can you live in a rural community in Latin America with the responsibility to work side-by-side with other young people, hold summer camps in Spanish, and organize a community towards a common goal???

One of the true Youth Development organizations that lives up to its potential.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Paraguay 03, Panama 04, DR 05, Mexico 06/08, Honduras 10.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

make it available to the whole world!!!

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Rating: 5 stars  

I volunteered with AMIGOS in Guanajuato, Mexico in 2007 and fell in love with the program even before working in country. Not only is the year-long training for Chapter volunteers excellent and more than adequate to prepare volunteers for a summer of hard work, putting yourself in a myriad of different and sometimes challenging positions, and learning to embrace an entirely new culture, but the AMIGOS training in country also prepares volunteers for exactly what kinds of situations they will be facing in the communities in which they work. It is an eye-opening experience for both the youth volunteers and the members of the communities. I am so grateful to have participated in this program and to have met a whole new family that I can call my own.

In order to give back to this program, I participated as a Project Supervisor in 2011 and feel just as appreciative of this past summer as the one I spent as a volunteer. Though challenging in different aspects, I was delighted to see just how inspiring the program continues to be and how much growth was seen on the part of the youth volunteers, youth from the communities in which we were working, and among staff members as well.

AMIGOS is a program that challenges one physically, mentally and emotionally, but is one that prepares the volunteers for any situation that arises, offers adequate support for the volunteers, and also allows for the youth volunteers to rise above any struggle.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Volunteer in Guanajuato, Mexico 2007 Project Supervisor in Cocle, Panama 2011

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Make sure all Chapter Training is more uniform and prepares volunteers adequately before their arrival in country.

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Rating: 5 stars  

I volunteered in Panama in 2009 and in Nicaragua in 2010. Amigos improved my Spanish abilities, and made me more confident as a leader and as a person. I met so many amazing people and it was an amazing experience.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

The time I spent in the communities with the people I was working with.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Give more funding to do projects.

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Rating: 5 stars  

Amigos taught me leadership, compassion and understanding. As a 17-year-old working in rural Nicaragua, it was a life-changing, and life-enhancing summer experience. Over the years, I stayed with Amigos as a volunteer, field staff member and board member.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

my selection of career as physician.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

lower the costs to participate.

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Rating: 5 stars  

Amigos de las Americas is an amazing organization. The summers I spent as a volunteer with Amigos were some of the best times of my life for sure, and helped inspire me to study abroad my junior year of college in Spain, to major in Spanish and International Relations, and to seek out other oppportunities for foreign travel and to help others.

I spent the summer of 1984 as an Amigos volunteer in Paraguay living with a young family in a rural town. We were giving immunizations against Yellow Fever and Measles (we practiced on oranges and paper bags at our weekly Amigos meetings to get good at it). People would line up every day at the house where I was staying asking me to help with their illnesses and maladies. At 16 there wasn't much I could do but I was able to help one boy who had his arm in a sling and having read the book 'where there is no doctor', I knew his arm needed to be elevated so I retied the sling. We were able to mix up some drinks to help with dehydration issues they had. Then we had brought balloons (and practiced beforehand) to make balloon animals-the kids in town had never seen balloon and loved it. So fun!

The summer of 1985 I was an Amigos volunteer in Guanajuato, Mexico building latrines. They did not have any bathrooms prior to this and illness was a reality based on this. Most of the men did not want women doing the actual labor as that is the culture, so I did alot of explaining and supervising while men in town constructed. We knew how to make a cement base and build the whole latrine based on practice back home. We would walk an hour each week to go wash our clothes in a stream and rinse off. It was funny because the donkeys would go to the bathroom upstream while we were doing this which of course defeated some of the purpose as it flowed into our washing water :). It was so hot that by the time we walked home we were all sweaty and dirty again! The most exciting moment was when I returned to my first town at the end of my summer and the town was so proud to show me how they had completed other latrines and had even found some blue paint somewhere to give some color! They sent me home with some homemade tamales (one of my favorites dishes to this day) put in a big olla (pot) we carried water in. This program introduced me to what would become some of my best friends and gave high school kids an opportunity to step foot outside of our privileged lives and see another side of the world and to make a difference. Amigos is truly one of the best organizations of all times and I cherish the memories! May the good work continue forever!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

becoming a volunteer and traveling to Latin America to help out.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

provide them with unlimited resources and finances! I try to publicize it whenever I can. Mostly it runs out of New Trier High School in the Chicago area and I would love my boys to be a part of it too but not sure how feasible it is since we are not in that school district. Thanks Amigos!

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

Did your volunteer experience have an effect on you? (teaching you a new skill, or introducing new friends, etc.)

Very much so. New friends that became my best friends. Gave m e the opportunity to see another side of life, outside of our priveleged one and to appreciate what I have and help others. I greatly improved my Spanish. We knew we were immersed when we started dreaming in Spanish during our summers!

How did this volunteer experience make you feel?

Happy and proud to be making a difference and seeing the world

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Rating: 5 stars  

During my AMIGOS experience I learned so much about myself, as well as the world. I learned that I can do anything and be anyone I want to be as well as how big the world is, yet how small it can seem. It changed my life for the better and I will never forget all the amazing people I met through my experience with Amigos de las Americas.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

my community that I lived in for 6 weeks. I saw how happy they were to be motivated to make their own change.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

focus more on training field staff and partnering pairs

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Rating: 5 stars  

I will never forget the things that Amigos de las Americas taught me. I was a volunteer this summer in The Dominican Republic and I continue to talk to my host family daily and plan to visit them this summer. There is no other program like AMIGOS, no program that challenges you and teaches you so much about the world and about yourself. I learned so much about myself and what I am capable of while in The DR. Amigos is a great organization!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I have changed the way I live my life! I am much more appreciative of everything I have now.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

None!

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