Amigos de las Américas, founded in 1965, is an international nonprofit organization and a leader in international youth development. We believe that young people have the power and ability to change our world for the better. AMIGOS provides extraordinary opportunities for youth to design and lead projects in collaboration with US and Latin American peers and partner organizations across the Americas, enabling them to realize their full potential as leaders and global citizens. Through AMIGOS, tens of thousands of young people have learned about new cultures and traditions, developed their leadership skills in community service, and strengthened their language skills through an unparalleled immersion experience.
Since 1968, the East Bay Chapter of Amigos de las Américas has prepared teens for unique full-immersion cultural exchange and community service projects in Latin America. We recruit, train, and support AMIGOS volunteers and their families from all over the East Bay. Our chapter recruitment begins in the fall prior to each summer experience.
THE VOICES OF OUR ALUMNI
“I wouldn’t trade the experience and leadership skills I gained for anything, nor would I ever disregard the huge benefits to local and international youth of collaborating on these projects and in children’s programs within our communities…Along with spending time with participants from all across the US and the Dominican Republic, I went with a partner into a rural community to live, to assist in a community service project, and to run summer camps for children. I found a life there, with a family and a community where I felt at home. Two months later I came back to the U.S., deeply changed but feeling more like myself than I ever had…”
– Karsen P. – Oakland Technical High School
“I’ve realized there are more ways to learn than just in a classroom. My AMIGOS experience has been a crucial opportunity to enrich my worldview. I am confident that future participants will learn to embrace change rather than hide from it. The best advice I have for them is to not have expectations regarding their summer and keep an open mind when encountering challenges and triumphs. Their newfound independence will mark the beginning of their leadership to perform meaningful acts of service not only locally, but also around the world…”
– Angelina Z. – Aspire Richmond College Preparatory Academy
HOW TO APPLY
READY TO START YOUR APPLICATION?
1. The East Bay Chapter will soon be accepting applications for the summer of 2019. Once applications are open, you will be able to Click here to start your application.
2. Complete your application and pay your $50 East Bay Chapter application fee. If you are applying for financial aid, complete the financial aid section within the application.
3. Complete an interview (details available once applications are opened).
2017-2018 PROGRAM PRICING
Family Fee: $3,950 (Payment plans available.)
Late Family Fee: $5,000
Application Fee: $50 (Non-refundable and not included in the Family Fee.)
THE PROGRAM FEE INCLUDES:
- Chapter training materials and workshops
- Round-trip international airfare
- Secondary short-term international medical insurance
- Program excursions and trainings
- Food, lodging, and transportation in Latin America
- Supplies for community project and extracurricular activities
- 24-hour emergency support system
THE PROGRAM FEE DOES NOT INCLUDE:
- Immunizations and pre-travel medical examinations
- Passport/visa fees
2017-2018 Pricing at-a-glance
Local Discount Family Fee: $3,950
Late Entry Family Fee: $5,000
National Application Fee: $50
FINANCIAL AID and FUNDRAISING
OVERVIEW OF FINANCIAL AID
The East Bay chapter actively recruits and supports inclusion of volunteers from diverse backgrounds. We provide amounts of $500-$3400 to qualified applicants as reductions on the Family Fee. Qualification for financial assistance is needs-based, determined by family income, number of dependents, and special financial circumstances.
Financial assistance applications are due by November 3, 2019, along with the standard AMIGOS application.
In addition, VETERAN VOLUNTEERS who are returning for an additional summer receive a $650 discount on their Family Fee.
OVERVIEW OF FUNDRAISING
The cost of supporting an AMIGOS volunteer in Latin America is significant. East Bay Chapter covers these costs through a combination of fundraising (product sales and letter writing) and a family fee contribution. We have all chapter volunteers fundraise to maximize our ability to provide the AMIGOS experience to all interested students without regard to family financial circumstances. Fundraising activities develop skills that are an important component of the AMIGOS training program and raise awareness of AMIGOS programs in the community.
AMIGOS East Bay volunteers raise funds through the sale of products. This effort primarily takes place in November, December and January. Volunteers receive considerable help with regard to sales strategies, and the experience gained in this effort will definitely build important skills for their summer experience and beyond!
Each volunteer is also required to send letters to friends and family, to request individual tax-deductible donations (the revenue from this effort is pooled). Letters are written by the participant with considerable help provided by the chapter during the process.
The transformative AMIGOS experience starts before leaving home.
With 50 years of experience preparing young people for travel and service abroad, AMIGOS training offers unparalleled global youth leadership development. Pre-departure training equips volunteers with the critical thinking, communication skills, and technical knowledge they need to make a meaningful impact across cultures while staying healthy and safe. The East Bay Chapter AMIGOS training is youth-led, experiential learning that prepares volunteers for their AMIGOS experience, builds a community of youth and families with shared values, and develops life-skills to help volunteers succeed beyond AMIGOS. Training sessions are facilitated by the Training Team and include guest speakers from the community and the East Bay Chapter Board of Directors.
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE TRAINING PROGRAM INCLUDE:
- Unparalleled leadership development
- Cross-cultural awareness and understanding
- Hands-on training for technical aspects of the program
- Extensive health and safety training
- Opportunities to practice Spanish
- Creating a community of young people with shared values
THE TIME COMMITMENT FOR TRAINING ACTIVITIES INCLUDES:
- Training meetings
- Service learning requirements
- Four online assessments to determine readiness for the summer
FUNDRAISING AS PART OF TRAINING
Fundraising activities develop skills that can contribute to our volunteers’ successful AMIGOS in-country experiences, and beyond.
Our volunteers will learn how to summarize the AMIGOS story and their passion for their projects – the famous “elevator pitch”. Through product sales training, they will present their story to others eloquently and persuasively to support the efforts of all volunteers. They will use these skills in country as they work together with local leaders and their host community members, as well as back home.
The ability to compose a persuasive fundraising letter can help our volunteers raise support to accomplish their projects, no only in their host community but also in their own communities upon their return. The Chapter provides this training for all our volunteers.
The East Bay Chapter incorporates service learning into the AMIGOS training to add depth and first-hand experience to the curriculum. Service learning is a teaching and learning strategy that integrates meaningful community service with instruction and reflection to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility, and strengthen communities.
Our projects give young leaders the opportunity to explore their potential and rise to the challenge of independent responsibility within a multicultural setting. Each summer AMIGOS volunteers spend four to eight weeks living in a host community in locations throughout Latin America. They will be leading service projects developed in consultation with the local residents, sustainable projects intended to benefit the people and community and to provide valuable educational experiences for our volunteers. The projects include topics like health and hygiene programs for kids, environmental sustainability, entrepreneurship, and human rights.
To learn more about the leadership benefits of becoming an AMIGOS volunteer with the East Bay Chapter of AMIGOS, sign up to attend an informational session in late September and early October by contacting our Recruitment Coordinator, Lucy Schaefer, at email@example.com.
East Bay Chapter Board of Directors
We are volunteers who support all efforts to prepare AMIGOS volunteers and their families for their in-country projects. Board members are either AMIGOS veterans themselves or parents of former volunteers who feel strongly about the program, and can answer your questions! Just click on the email address to send a message.
Dr. Andy Sorenson – Veteran Volunteer and Parent
Ray Chavez – Parent
Director of Administration (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Barb Wille – Parent
Dr. Jacqui Richter – Parent
Bob Schutt – Parent
Recruitment Coordinator (email@example.com)
Lucy Schaefer – Veteran (Volunteer, Training Staff, In-Country Staff)
Product Sales Director (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Thomas Spirgi – Parent
Letter Writing Director (email@example.com)
Stephanie Lipow – Parent
Training Leadership (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Lucy Schaefer- Veteran (Volunteer, Training Staff, In-Country Staff)
Karsen Paul – Veteran (Volunteer, Training Staff)