Serve and learn with Amizade in Puerto Rico
This program focuses on themes of land rights, environmental justice, Puerto Rico-US relationships, social change, democratic citizenship, leadership, and international development. This program will include re-building mangrove forests that were destroyed by Hurricane Maria. In addition, there may be other clean up or rebuilding activities related to communities near the forests. Participants will spend the week based in and around San Juan meeting with local community and professional leaders; serve with local organizations on the frontline of community development; and explore the country and culture through field trips and community events – including with hikes through El Yunque and visits to Old San Juan.
Amizade and Caras have been collaborating since 2013 on service-learning programming. Many years before, Caras was founded as a volunteer-run organization focused on community development in three marginalized communities on the outskirts of San Juan. Over the years, Caras has become a respected partner in these communities and considered an ally in the defense of land, environmental, and educational rights.
Location: San Juan, Puerto Rico
Service Opportunities: Mangrove restoration; building and space maintenance
Culture and Recreational Highlights: Visit El Yunque National Forest, Visit National Park El Morro, Tour of Old San Juan, local fisher cooperative boat tour.
HOW TO PLAN A PROGRAM
We pride ourselves in creating mutually empowering and safe global service-learning programs. This means that when you develop an experience with Amizade, you’re building a responsible, intentional, and community driven service-learning program. Programs typically have three phases: (1) pre-immersion, (2) immersion, and (3) re-entry. Amizade works with you in all three phases to develop your program, including to build curriculum, itineraries, budgets, evaluation, follow-up, and sustainability.
The first step in building your program is to have a chat with us. We’re a people-powered organization, which means a little less tech and a little more human conversation. Send us an email, give us a ring or fill out this form to initiate the start of your journey.
Once we’re all feeling good about a potential collaboration and have a clear, co-created vision, Amizade and its partners submit a proposal to you. The proposal will include an overview of what you might be engaging in, a draft itinerary, health and safety information, and a transparent line-item budget.
After the proposal is agreed on, we send over a digital contract. This includes important legal and financial considerations. After a signed contract and a non-refundable $1,000 deposit are submitted, we can officially lock in your dates and begin the process of preparing for your program.
This phase includes pre-departure orientations (we mandate at least one with our staff), learning about the process of travel, culture, service, and the community you are visiting. This is also when family and community sensitization takes place, as well as any relevant coursework. Often this is when we see group bonding start, comfort zones being extended, and new challenges (as well as some nerves and excitement).
This is the travel phase. Community engagement, reflective practice, academic inquiry, and exploration all should be taking place at this time. All of our programs are a mixture of service, workshops, and cultural and recreational activities. Participants will step out of their comfort zones, try new things, engage complex issues, be introduced to new networks and ideas, and bond. Often this can be a very disrupting, inspiring, and transformational experience.
After a transformative experience, we sometimes can fall right back into the grind of life when we return home. It can be tough, isolating, and confusing. Re-entry is perhaps the most important phase for determining what kind of neighbor – the very person – you become. It’s also the easiest to ignore. In this phase, there should be serious reflection, advocacy, support systems, and/or a plan for community engagement, or social action. Depending on the design and funding of your program, Amizade can help create a plan and opportunities for participants.
Since 1994 we have been thought leaders and pioneers in developing best practices in responsible global service-learning, study abroad, and solidarity-building volunteering experiences. We work with:
Universities (faculty-led, alternative break, and semester abroad)
Community and Religious Groups
CARAS CON CAUSA
Caras is an innovative organization nonprofit organization that coordinates educational projects to promote environmental development in partnership with communities in Puerto Rico.
PUERTO RICO TEAM
Caras Volunteer Coordinator
Find a sample itinerary of activities for groups in Puerto Rico.