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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Children & Youth, Health, International, International Academic Exchange, International Development, Public Health, Youth Development

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.

Programs: Our programs for high school students create a unique opportunity for young people to take on real-world challenges and build responsibility. Program participants work with other us students and latin american peers to design and lead community projects related to areas such as: public health, children's rights, and environmental sustainability. This includes 632 participants from our chapter network, our national office network, and our federal grant partnerships traveling to/from latin america during 2014.

our programs for gap year create a unique opportunity for young people to take on real-world challenges and build responsibility during a transformational year of full-time international service. Program participants work with other us students and latin american peers to design and lead community projects related to areas such as: public health, children's rights, and environmental sustainability. This includes 6 gap participants in nicaragua for 2014.

Community Stories

37 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Previous Stories
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Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Todd23

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Rachel2345

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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!