Inspiring Teens to Spend Summer Volunteering in Latin America

Jun 16, 2008, 01:00 ET from Amigos de las Americas

    HOUSTON, June 16 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- More than 800 young adults
 from across the United States will volunteer for five to eight weeks this
 summer with Amigos de las Americas (AMIGOS). They will volunteer in more
 than 250 communities on public health, education and environmental projects
 in Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama
 and Paraguay. Volunteers will begin departing for their country assignments
 in mid-June.
     Teens will live with host families in rural communities with one or two
 other volunteers. They will partner with community members on sustainable
 development projects such as health and environmental education for
 children, the construction of fuel-efficient stoves and technology
     Participants train and fundraise for months with one of the AMIGOS
 chapters across the United States, located in most major cities.
 Additionally, they have the option to train online through the
 correspondent volunteer program if they do not live near a chapter.
     "AMIGOS has been a life-changing experience," said Guthrie
 Graves-Fitzsimmons, 19, who volunteered in Veraguas, Panama, last summer.
 "I have improved my Spanish and learned what it means to partner with
 people from a different culture to accomplish common goals."
     Veteran volunteers, usually in their early 20s, serve as Project Staff
 to oversee the projects. They plan summer projects, place volunteers in
 host families and ensure the health and safety of volunteers throughout the
 summer. AMIGOS was founded on the belief that youth are capable of
 achieving amazing goals when given the opportunity, and this has provided
 the basis of AMIGOS' success during the past 42 summers.
     Volunteers consistently report an increase in leadership skills,
 cultural sensitivity and Spanish-language abilities. For example, in a 2007
 volunteer experience survey:
-- 87 percent noted growth in their personal confidence and communication abilities -- 91 percent reported improvement in their ability to plan, implement and evaluate projects -- 90 percent noted increased leadership skills -- 94 percent noted an increase in their ability to communicate verbally in Spanish Founded in 1965, AMIGOS is an international non-profit organization that provides opportunities for young people to simultaneously develop leadership and decision-making skills while making a positive difference in the health and well-being of communities. For more information, visit Press may contact AMIGOS to set up interviews with Volunteers, Project Staff or alumni.

SOURCE Amigos de las Americas