Children at Risk Project

volunteer in children at risk project in guatemala
  • Provide love, care and support to children from impoverished backgrounds
  • Work with local organizations to keep children at risk off the streets and social ills
  • Immerse in the local culture through carefully-screened homestays
  • Practice Spanish while connecting with the rich history and exploring the natural landscapes in Guatemala in your downtime

Mayan encounters, gloriously fearsome volcanoes, fabulous hot springs – does this sound exciting to you? Volunteer in Guatemala and experience the enchanting history of the country while caring for street children. In Latin America, hundreds of poor children live and sleep on the street. Driven by desperation, these children are unfortunately often exploited and turn to begging, or worse, fall prey to inhuman labor practices or the sex trades. There are institutions set up by local communities and churches that provide children from extremely deprived families that provide them a place to enjoy extracurricular activities and help in their studies. New Hope collaborates with these organizations that aim to help children and let them prosper in a safe and healthy environment. As a volunteer in Guatemala, you’ll be helping the community-supported institutions in terms of manpower and resources. Most importantly, you’ll be playing a major part in keeping the children off the streets and giving them a happy and productive childhood. Be a positive impact for the children of Guatemala while exploring the ancient secrets the mysterious country has to offer!

Volunteers' Responsibilities

As a volunteer in Guatemala, you will be working with children from impoverished backgrounds at community-supported institutions. Depending on your individual interests and skills, and on the needs of the local staff, your daily activities involve, but are not limited to:

  • Teaching basic English, Math, Science, Physical Education, or other subjects of interest
  • Helping the children with homework
  • Creating a fun, safe and all-inclusive environment
  • Being a friend to the children
  • Provide care, love and attention to children
  • Providing daily care to the children such as preparing meals and watching over them
  • Help them with their homework
  • Participate in playtime activities
  • Educating on personal hygiene, and safety rules and precautions
  • Developing stimulating new ideas to interest the children to learn
  • Organizing and leading extracurricular activities such as games, sports, art, music, dancing, story-telling, drama lessons, etc.
  • Assisting the local staff with administrative duties, promoting fundraising activities, and helping to plan events and excursions for the children
How You Can Make a Difference

Poverty and starvation is omnipresent in Guatemala, and many families live in and around the garbage dumps of Guatemala. By volunteering, you will be helping community-supported institutions to provide a safe haven for the children. Besides just support and attention, you’ll be helping to impart important real-world life skills, positive behaviors, personal hygiene knowledge and English literacy. Your encouragement and mentoring will boost up their view on life and be a source of motivation to work towards a better future and lift themselves out of poverty.

Skills and Qualifications

There are no specific qualifications needed to join the Children at Risk project beyond a fluency in English and a preferred basic/intermediate fluency in Spanish. If you cannot speak Spanish, we recommend enrolling in our Spanish language program. Volunteers should also be enthusiastic, reliable, flexible, patient and strive to be good role models for the children. Volunteers with skills and/or a background in child psychology and Spanish fluency have an amazing advantage – ensuring the highest level of contribution and effective interaction. Yet, while these skills are welcomed, they are not required of volunteers wanting to participate in this particular project. Experience working with street children is considered a plus. Volunteers must also respect the locals and the host organizations, along with their rules and projects.

Project Location

The project is located in Quetzaltenango, also known as Xela (pronounced SHAY-la) or Xelaju, is the second largest city in Guatemala. Situated at the southwest of the country, the surrounding department has a variety of landscapes extending from the cold highlands to the warm Pacific coast. There are numerous volcanoes, hot springs, valleys, mountains, rivers. The region provides a harvest of numerous products such as coffee, wheat, fruits and vegetables, as well as sheep and cattle breeding. The classical, neoclassical and Italian renaissance styles are apparent in the buildings and the houses which have been built during the past century and the beginning of the 20th, with volcanic stones by artistic "Quetzalteco" masons. Xela is also well-known for its abundance of volcanoes, mountains, and hot springs as well as other natural beauty and experiences.

Guatemala’s eco-diversity positions the country as a global “biodiversity hot spot”. Natural adventures abound in Guatemala and many activities are available for day trips or longer excursions. The terrain is diverse including mountains, rain forests, jungles and the highlands. Popular activities include eco-tours, mountaineering and water based sports. There are many adventurous options as well as calmer activities for the non-thrill seekers. Many hours can be spent in the streets of Antigua or biking through the surrounding areas. Cultural diversity can be explored in restaurants, markets and museums.

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