Spanish Programs for Volunteers
You may want to put your Spanish language skills into immediate action by devoting some of your time to a worthwhile volunteer project while you are polishing your skills. Almost all Language Link programs can help you do this. Please be realistic, however, and understand that to really make a meaningful impact, it is best to have a stay longer than just a few weeks.
Many of our schools do this in a very informal way. Language Link lets them know about your interests and skills, and then the school will use its extensive local contacts to suggest possibilities for you. An example is Cuernavaca, Mexico, where there are many needy groups welcoming your help. Most of these deal with street children and orphans. Some schools have close affiliations with local projects. PLFM of Antigua, Guatemala often sends volunteers to the God’s Child Project. Becari of Oaxaca, Mexico, encourages help for the Centro de Esperanza Infantil, known in English as Oaxaca Street Children Grassroots, a program helping the street children of Oaxaca.
Other programs have very well developed volunteer programs with very specific opportunities. Some charge a volunteer placement fee, and some require a minimum stay. Please see these schools under their Program Descriptions.
Here is a quick guide to formal volunteering abroad. Please note there will be minimum Spanish levels and placement fees involved.
Buenos Aires: Support Positive Aging
Mendoza: Single Mothers and children
Heredia: CREAR Association: supplementary & creative education for local schoolchildren; Puertas Abiertas: free English classes to low-income single mothers; Rahab Foundation: rehabilitation for victims of sexual commerce and exploitation; CREA Drug Rehabilitation Project for Young People, Heredia Oxford University Costa Rica Conservation Expedition; Heredia Domestic Animal Shelter; Heredia State Orphanage; Heredia Homeless Groups; Alajuela Clinic & Hospital
Sámara Beach:CREAR Association: supplementary & creative education for local schoolchildren; Turtle Refuge Project; Nicoya Environmental & Sustainable Farming Project; Sámara Pacific School; Sámara Sports Association; Sámara Community Development Association; Carrillo Wild Animal Refuge Centre
Santa Ana: Cencinai (Children's day care); Centro Diurno (Senior's day care center) Hogar del Adulto Mayor de Piedades (Elder care); Biblioteca de Santa Ana ; Escuela Andrés Bello; Venta de ropa (Clothing Donations Drive); Recolecta de útiles (School Donations Drive); Escuela La Mina
Santiago: Nurturing hearts for neglected infants and Children; Support animal protection (beginner Spanish okay)
Viña del Mar: Support Girls (4-18yrs) in social risk; Children's' Homeless Shelter 2-7 yrs
Guadalajara:At Risk Children; Marine Conservation; Playground Construction; Preschool and Primary School Aid; Middle and High School Tutor and Aide; Aging and Senior Services; Social and Disability Services; Teaching English; Preservation and Conservation; Health Care and Clinic Work; Orphanages; Community Outreach and Education; Domestic Violence; Animal Rescue and Rehabilitation
Oaxaca: Centro de Esperanza Infantil Street Children
Cusco:Adult Aging Center
Lima:Building homes and hopes; Children's Homeless Shelter 2-7 yrs
Valencia: Educational and cultural, social, environmental and health care related (variety of organizations)