Our Commitment to Service
Service learning is a vital part of our tours. Assisting under-privileged orphanages, schools, communities, and above all, children, are paramount for Vámonos. In addition to our community efforts, we involve our travelers in varied service-learning opportunities that are educational, cultural, beneficial, and life-changing.
Of course, in keeping with our cultural immersion emphasis, our travelers immerse themselves in the culture and language while serving. Below are some service-learning options. Feel free to suggest new options and customize your service experience to fit your group’s needs.
Pre-planned hands-on activities
The most successful school/orphanage-related service experiences come from groups that come prepared with hands-on activities beforehand, such as:
- Leading group-bonding activities
- Teaching songs to locals
- Preparing simple lessons based on specific subjects in need
- Introducing new sports for locals such as lacrosse, hand ball, or other
- Running drills and games with kids
***Please note that appropriate attire is required if you are doing service in a school or orphanage. All travelers must wear a shirt that covers their shoulders; pants, shorts, or skirts must come down to the knees. Beach attire is prohibited in all schools and orphanages***
Service Learning in Rural Schools
Many students that travel with us choose to volunteer in local schools as part of their tour. Learning takes place as students and adults from both cultures get to know more about each other’s lives, backgrounds, interests, and learning styles. This option guarantees many opportunities for cultural and language immersion exposure.
Our travelers usually divide into small groups and partner with local kids throughout their daily activities. While doing so, they usually have tasks to accomplish. Some of these are:
- Participating in classroom activities
- Assisting teachers with lessons
- Supervising recess
- Participating at local public school summer camps (June & July)
- Playing sports
- Tutoring individual or small groups
- Improving the facilities by painting, weeding, gardening, and performing simple installations.
We also encourage travelers to donate items to the school while they visit.
Service Learning in Orphanages / Foster Homes / Soup Kitchens
Described as life changing by so many of our travelers, volunteering in orphanages, foster homes, and soup kitchens gives students the chance to donate time, goods, and love that many may take for granted. While serving, our travelers spend time either with children that have been removed from their homes for reasons of neglect or abuse or with homeless men and women.
Travelers are encouraged to donate goods that are needed in these facilities. While visiting, you may be asked to help serve meals, participate in sports and other activities, help improve the facilities by painting or doing garden work, or simply provide companionship for the children. Our travelers often organize activities ahead of time to engage in with them upon arrival.
At soup kitchens, our travelers serve food with local community groups that serve large homeless populations. While there, we interact with locals, given them company and hope, and sometimes distribute free clothes and essentials.
Service Learning in the Environment
As responsible citizens of our planet, helping our environment through varied service projects is our commitment. Unfortunately, our natural resources, coasts, and forests sometimes suffer from pollution and littering. Here are some friendly eco-service projects to consider:
- Clean up trash and debris on beaches, mangroves, or hiking trails.
- Visit Manatee Conservation Centers and help with conservation efforts.
- Help the US National Park Service staff to restore Fort El Morro and Fort San Cristóbal (Unesco World Heritage sites).
- Learn about organic farming, help weed, and plant crops and bamboo trees. Discover how everything done on this sustainable farm affects local communities.
- Help conservation efforts for turtles and marine creatures at local beaches where applicable.
- Work with park rangers to maintain protected territories such as sand dunes, forests, and parks.
- Volunteer with rainforest reforestation and learn about sustainable forestry.
- Build gardens at schools, foster homes, and other low-income educational facilities.
- Volunteer at a rainforest science camp for some hours.