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 training. 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 www.amigoslink.org. Press may contact AMIGOS to set up interviews with Volunteers, Project Staff or alumni.
SOURCE Amigos de las Americas