HOUSTON, Oct. 28, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Amigos de las Américas (AMIGOS) believes in the power of youth. In 1966, AMIGOS founder Guy Bevil said: "Young people are just waiting for a challenge. If you give them responsibility, an opportunity to do big, important things, they will always meet the challenge." This sentiment has served as the heart of AMIGOS' growth and success for 50 years.
In August, 567 college and high school students arrived home to the USA after spending up to ten weeks volunteering and living with host families in Latin American communities with AMIGOS. Volunteers worked with local community members to develop youth empowerment-driven projects in Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, and Peru. Project themes included environmental sustainability, creative expression, sports fitness, and public health.
In Ecuador, AMIGOS Volunteers took part in an historic pilot project that focused on youth social entrepreneurship. Local communities and partner agencies were very receptive and, as a result, over 50 local youth participated in a two-day intensive youth summit organized by AMIGOS Volunteers during their summer stay, entitled, "Building Networks of Young Entrepreneurial Leaders." The strong network that emerged over those two days included youth from: the United States; the urban city of Cuenca, Ecuador; as well as the predominantly indigenous, Kichwa-speaking, communities of Pujilí-Cotopaxi, Ecuador.
This was a unique two-day opportunity for local entrepreneurial leaders, visiting professors, volunteers, and partner agency staff to develop social enterprise business plans and to enjoy an international community that shares a common vision. Two Ecuadorian high school students left the summit with a plan to start Cyberteka, an internet café and educational supplies store for the students in their community who typically travel to the neighboring town just to do their homework or buy school supplies. The local girls worked with AMIGOS Volunteers to raise seed money in order to purchase the first laptops for their community space. All computer usage fees now contribute to acquiring internet access for Cyberteka. Their enterprise was a success, and the students in their community now have an after-school space to call their own.
AMIGOS is proud of the 2013 Volunteers and is now recruiting for 2014 Volunteers who are looking for that extraordinary and innovative summer experience. The summer of 2014 will mark the 50th year of youth-led service learning and cross-cultural immersion programming for AMIGOS. Will you, or someone you know, begin the experience of a lifetime and be part of this historical AMIGOS summer?
Founded in 1965, AMIGOS is an international non-profit organization that inspires and builds young leaders through collaborative community development and immersion in cross-cultural experiences. In achieving its mission, AMIGOS works with high school and college-aged youth throughout the Americas. Find your local AMIGOS Chapter at www.amigoslink.org/chapters to learn more about how you, or someone you know, can join a 2014 Summer Project and become a life-long catalyst for social change.
SOURCE Amigos de las Americas