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September 19, 2011

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September 19, 2011

I served as a volunteer in Limon, Costa Rica, in the summer of 2010, just before my senior year of high school. My partner, Travis, and I lived in the home of Benita, our host mother, and we worked closely with her daughter, Jane, on community projects that included trash pick-up and recycling, along with fundraisers to support our main project: building a playground at the school. I can't think of a single better way I could have spent those six weeks.

The Great!

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

Personally, I grew in ways I expected, such as improved spanish speaking abilities and communication skills. However, I also unexpectedly learned an incredibly valuable lesson that has prepared me for college beyond anything I could have hoped for, this lesson being time management.

Ways to make it better...

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

While Amigos provides its volunteers with many freedoms, particularly in how to spend their time each day, the organization does require a large amount of paperwork to be filled out. I understand the protocol, but any way of reducing the paperwork, I feel, would be beneficial to the volunteers' experience.

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Likely

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

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Quite well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

What one change could this group make that would improve your volunteer experience?

I would have appreciated less paperwork, but this wasn't pivotal in my experience. I just felt my time could have been better spent.

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

I learned how to budget my time much better and work better with people who think differently from me.

How did this volunteer experience make you feel?

It made me feel as though I had done something worthwhile with my summer. I knew I hadn't wasted my summer break like I normally would have.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

September 19, 2011

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September 19, 2011

Where else can a teen learn leadership, independence, responsibility, expand cultural awareness in a way that will change their life and those around them. My daughter participated in Amigos during the Summer of 2011 in Honduras and her trip was amazing. It was not all rosy, but that is part of the growth. The relationships built are lifelong. This experience definitely will direct her future decisions. The time frame is balanced for the age. It provides a true immersion in the language and culture, not just a week long retreat/mission. They experience some politics and have to cope with varied situations. The support structure is also balanced in that it provides time for the youth to experience different levels of success and failure in a very, very safe environment. The life lessons are priceless.

The Great!

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

Amigos also provides opportunities for parents to engage the local culture discussing the program.

Ways to make it better...

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

Express to perspective volunteers and parents, that this is a commitment and the year long training is required. A number of youth in the Chapter dropped out mid-cycle and i don't think they took this as seriously as a sports team. But it is better to drop out than to travel if you are not suited for this program

More feedback...

Was your donation impactful?

Definitely

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

Definitely

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

Definitely

What specific problem, purpose, priority, or project prompted your gift?

Cultural Awareness

Why did you make your donation at this time?

My daughter

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

September 19, 2011

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September 19, 2011

I was a volunteer with AMIGOS in 2004 in Paraguay and it honestly changed my life. Going from living in a privileged community in the US to a tiny Paraguayan village and the contentment amidst hardships that I saw there not only made me want to be more involved with AMIGOS (and I was a supervisor and later an APD and would still love to work for them if our paths cross again some day) but also inspired me to travel around the world, work for non-profit organizations, and become a responsible and socially conscious adult. I will definitely send my children on AMIGOS!

The Great!

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

every aspect of my life. This organization has a profound impact not only on the communities that they serve but also on the hearts of the youth that they entrust with such great responsibilities - responsibilities that no one else would ever give teenagers!

Ways to make it better...

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

I would love to see more full-time staff positions to encourage an even greater level of loyalty and support year-round programming through study and work abroad opportunities.

More feedback...

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?

2008

September 19, 2011

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September 19, 2011

In 2009 I spent six wonderful weeks in Honduras through Amigos and then last year, I returned to Latin America with the same program, this time to Panama. This experience has taught me so much about who I am as a person and what I can accomplish. I have met some of my closest friends through Amigos and have basically built up a second (and third!) family during my experiences, ones which I know I can always fall back on. I feel that Amigos is a unique organization in its ability to provide independent leadership opportunities to both American and Latin American youth as well as in its success in empowering communities to make great strides in environmental welfare, youth leadership, community organization, outlets of creative expression, and overall community public health. There is no program quite like Amigos de las Americas.

The Great!

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

the increase in my Spanish abilities, my newfound respect and understanding of a plethora of other cultures, increased public speaking and community organizing abilities, more self-confidence, and the countless incredible relationships I've created during my travels.

Ways to make it better...

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

spread its influence to countries all over the world and even to programs within the United States itself. There is no place on Earth that couldn't use a little more Amigos.

More feedback...

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?

Quite well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Likely

How did this volunteer experience make you feel?

It made me feel more confident as a person. Even though at times it was trying and there were many obstacles to overcome, I surprised myself with my own abilities and left feeling like one person can make an incredible difference in just a small amount of time.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

September 19, 2011

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September 19, 2011

I was a volunteer in '75 and my daughter has volunteered the past 2 summers. After her first summer, in a rural nicaraguan community, she came back much more empowered and with a much better idea of what she wanted for her life "To be useful and connected to other people". The community benefitted from the cultural exchange, lessons for kids on health and the environment, and a kitchen and community garden for their school. After her second summer, in a more urban community in Oaxaca Mexico, she is glowing with enthusiasm and energy. She got to play an instrumental role in facilitating the development of a community gym which among other things will offer kung fu lessons to reach young people and give them something meaningful to do instead of drinking and drugs.

The Great!

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

as a volunteer, volunteer parent, and board member

Ways to make it better...

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

get the word out more effectively to potential volunteers and donors.

September 19, 2011

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September 19, 2011

Amigos changed my son's life. He volunteered in every capacity that Amigos offered. He became a trainer for the local Amigos grooup. His Spanish skills are exemplary. NOw he works in a job that is similar to Amigos and travels often to Latin/South America.
I became a parent who trusted her
child's instincts adn good judgement even tho he was far away. I have watched him grow into the wonderful, kind adult he is today.

The Great!

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

allowing my son to grow and use his own instincts in making decisions.

Ways to make it better...

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

WHen my son was involved in Amigos (Approx 2001 until 2010). I appreciated that Amigos wa a resource for me but allowed him to jave autonomy.

September 19, 2011

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September 19, 2011

What an amazing experience! Totally opened my eyes to a way of life that I would have never been able to experience otherwise. I was in Rodeito/Manguito, Lempira, Honduras with 2 partners in the mountains. There, we organized and taught classes for various age groups about hygiene, disease, nutrition, english and the like. I really felt that this program was significantly more sincere and influential than say, a church trip building homes for people, as you really become a PART of the community. People know you by name and will constantly invite you in for food, tea or a friendly conversation. I was there for 7-8 weeks and I have endlessly benefited from it. All and all, Amigos is a fantastic program which I would recommend to anyone who is willing to get a little dirty, come out of their shell and experience something truly foreign and new.

The Great!

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

my own life experience. It put my life in perspective and made me even more grateful for how wonderful everything can be.

Ways to make it better...

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

Widen the age range? I want to go again!

September 19, 2011

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September 19, 2011

Two of my children have spent multiple summers volunteering with Amigos. It has been a life changing experience for both. They have developed cultural awareness and sensitivity. Their Spanish skills have improved. They have a different appreciation and perspective on life. Because of the projects and group activities that they participated in they see that their work can yield meaningful and lasting differences in the lives of others. Lastly, they have formed bonds with people from other countries and the US that are unlike friendships they have experienced in their day to day life in our home town. My children both maintain many of their Amigos friendships.

The Great!

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

My children and I were fortunate enough to travel back to Nicaragua to revisit a community where my daughter volunteered. The people there are grateful for her service.

Ways to make it better...

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

It is expensive for students to participate. I do understand the costs involved but it is often hard for families to afford the experience.

September 19, 2011

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September 19, 2011

I volunteered with Amigos in the DR in 2009 and Oaxaca in 2010. I worked on my chapter training staff in 2010 and 2011, preparing Amigos for their summer as volunteers. Amigos does an amazing job of building communities both in Latin America through their project initiatives, and the United States through chapter training. Throughout training and the summer, I've found some of my best friends-- people who understand where I'm coming from and share the same passions. But one of the most important things that Amigos gives young people is independence-- the independence to be somewhere completely new and the independence to try, make mistakes, fail, succeed, laugh, and learn.

Amigos made me realize that there's far more to learning than a school classroom. I'm going on into a gap year between high school and college. Amigos probably influenced my decision not to go straight to school in the first place. In the first part, I'm taking an outdoors course that focuses on leadership training. In the second part, I'm looking into community-building volunteer work in Brazil. I plan to study public health in college. I have Amigos to thank for that.

The Great!

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

my everyday life. It gave me a chance to get leadership training and the hands-on learning that school wasn't giving me.

Ways to make it better...

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

Also, Amigos should work on strengthening its current programs (better PSUP training, improving training materials, strengthening ties with partner organizations, etc) before trying to spread itself too thin with completely new programs (ie a gap year program is an awesome idea, but takes a lot of energy that could be focused on summer programs)

More feedback...

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?

Some

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Quite well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

What one change could this group make that would improve your volunteer experience?

See above.

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

All of the above and more.

How did this volunteer experience make you feel?

My favorite high school memories come from my two summers and two school years with Amigos.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

September 19, 2011

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September 19, 2011

In 1995 I spent the summer before my Senior year in El Oro, Ecuador. It opened my eyes to how fortunate I am to be growing up and living in the United States. I learned about indepdence, decision making, the world and that there is much i can learn from other Cultures.

I have now been on
the Board of Directors in the Seattle area for 4 years. I find it exteremly rewarding to see young people transformed by sharing a summer aboard with another family, in another culture doing things they never thought they would do.

The Great!

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

Improving Spanish language skills Developing leadership and project management skills As well as developing decision making skills for youth

Ways to make it better...

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

Find enough donors to make this program free!

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