Amizade volunteers have the opportunity to learn Jamaica’s history and culture; explore the beauty of Jamaica’s urban, rural, and coastal areas; and serve with the Association of Clubs (AOC), a well-established community organization.

Petersfield, Jamaica

Jamaica flagLocation | Rural Jamaica
Support | Community Initiatives in Jamaica
Service Opportunities | Construction and maintenance, teaching in schools, architectural design, running a summer camp, and much more
Cultural and Recreational Highlights | Cooking nights, game nights, visiting a local beach, visiting a tourist beach, Roaring River, visiting a sugar factory, and much more

Program Overview


Jamaica is known for its beach resorts, tropical beauty, and warm, friendly atmosphere, yet the majority of this enchanting island is not visited by tourists. The small and very safe community of Petersfield, located in the heart of Jamaica’s sugarcane industry, offers volunteers a glimpse into a more authentic Jamaican culture than the flashy Montego Bay destinations.

Volunteers in Petersfield participate first-hand in the life of a rural community. Working with a local community organization gives volunteers a chance to contribute their skills while absorbing the stories and strength of people working to build a better future for their community.

Amizade volunteers have the opportunity to learn about local history and culture; explore the beauty of Jamaica’s urban, rural, and coastal areas; and serve with the Association of Clubs (AOC), a well-established community organization. Volunteers tutor local students, provide computer instruction, and participate in construction, maintenance and repair initiatives, and much more. Volunteers do not need prior experience in tutoring or construction as all projects are supervised by a very knowledgeable site director.
Amizade volunteers in Petersfield stay with local families in homestays, designed to give an opportunity for both further cultural learning and deeper personal relationships.

Lodging Incredible homestays Food  Lots of fresh fruit, rice, juice, chicken, and fish

Flights Very quick from the US | Visa  No

Communication wifi at AOC community center | Closest Airport Montego Bay

Our Community Partner

The Association of Clubs (AOC) | Because tourism dominates the Jamaican economy, traditional sugar-farming communities such as Petersfield must prepare theircitizens to act to ensure the economic sustainability of the community. The AOC was founded with this goal of individual and community empowerment in mind. Amizade first partnered with the AOC in 2001 and continues to connect enthusiastic volunteers to this unique grassroots organization.

Jam2The mission of the AOC is to help communities establish self-reliant organizations linked with others, so that ordinary people can have a much greater part in building the community and the country. The Association of clubs is a community-based organization organized to develop and secure the implementation of strategies and policies which address the principal social and economic problems facing the community. They network with other development oriented organizations in order to stimulate community action and self-reliance.

The organization is the joint efforts of eight community-based organizations. These communities are strategically situated around the sugar belt where most people depend on the sugar industry and tend to fall in the lower socio-economic bracket.

By cooperating with the AOC’s already effective and existing programs, Amizade volunteers learn about community organizing while contributing their skills to the effort. Amizade volunteers have helped make a difference on the following AOC projects:

  • Youth Empowerment Summer Camp – teaching computer classes, serving as camp counselors, and tutoring.
  • Videography Program – creating video as a tool for educating the community, raising funds, and inspiring people to action.
  • Building Revitalization – contributing to a community park, painting the local post office, and restoring homes and community buildings.
  • Assisting Teachers in School Education Programs – assisting teachers in the classroom and individually tutoring students.

Volunteers with an interest in community development, technology, health, education, construction, youth, business initiatives, and more will find plenty of opportunities to lend a hand and learn from this vibrant community.


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The Basics:

Suggested Readings:

Local News Sources:

Stay Engaged! 

WVU in Jamaica: Arriving in Petersfield

Jamaica is very overwhelming upon arrival. Everything is very fast paced. People are talking very quickly, moving rapidly, and all I can do is stand and stare at how beautiful everything is. There is so much green everywhere. The water looks so blue and so tempting.

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The 2014 Winter Olympics: Sochi Edition

The 22nd Winter Olympics got started Friday in Sochi, Russia, the first Olympics held in the Russian Federation since the breakup of the USSR in 1991. During the games, there will be 98 events in 15 different winter sports, with 12 new competitions, including: biathlon mixed relay, women’s ski jumping, mixed-team figure skating, mixed-team luge, half-pipe skiing, ski and snowboard slopestyle and snowboard parallel slalom.

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Visiting Schools in Jamaica

Amizade volunteer visit with students in Jamaica

While in Jamaica on an Amizade Global Service-Learning program with John Carroll University, we had the privilege of visiting schools and witnessing firsthand the triumphs and trials of the education system. There is no way to describe the range of emotions and observations I experienced in my short yet eye-opening ten hours I spent with the students but it is safe to say that my experience in these schools rekindled my passion for education and social justice that I will take with me for the rest of my life.

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My Family in Jamaica

Amizade Volunteers from Plymouth State in Jamaica

The anticipation was overflowing into the cabin of the airplane. I looked around and took note of where the nine young women on my trip were sitting. As if the expressions on their faces weren’t telling enough, I could just feel their excitement surfacing, as Jamaica came into focus through the tiny windows.

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Grace’s Service-Learning Adventure: Part 6

And now I’m off – on a another plane this time across the Caribbean, to the familiar town of Petersfield, Jamaica. Having visited Petersfield for 5 days this previous May, it felt strangely like going home as we drove across the country from Kingston to the western parish of Westmoreland.

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Amizade’s Partnership in Jamaica is Honored!

We are so proud of our partnership in Petersfield and of the great work done by our site director in Jamaica, Matthias Brown. We are not the only ones recognizing the great work of Mr. Brown and the AOC, in August, the AOC was recognized for their great work with the prestigious Michael Manley Award for Community Self-Reliance! This is the second time the AOC has received this honor. Mr. Brown was also recognized for his outstanding contributions to nation building through service this October with the Badge of Honor for Meritorious Service. Congratulations to Mr. Brown, the AOC, and the community of Petersfield!

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IUP in Jamaica: I am a traveler

As this trip comes to a close, I would like to take some time to share with all of you what I have learned from this amazing experience. I have done a lot in the little time that I had here in Jamaica. From jumping off of a forty foot cliff into a seemingly bottomless ocean to living with four of the greatest kids I could ever meet. But only one of those reasons was why I came here, the people.

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IUP in Jamaica: Roaring Rivers and Summer Camp

Hi all! Yesterday we experienced our second full day of the AOC Summer Camp and we’re all starting to get into the swing of things. We love the kids here so much and they never fail to welcome us as soon as we arrive for the day. There are three groups of kids separated into kiddies, juniors, and seniors so we’ve all been experiencing each group as much as we can and they’re all very happy to have us. For part of the day they have a lesson and complete school work based upon the lesson, then we break for lunch which usually consists of delicious curry chicken and rice, and the rest of the day is fun and games.

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Preparing classrooms for a new year of school in Jamaica

Bring on the paint! 13 of us IUP students plus Galloway’s teachers and other community members split up between two classrooms to start painting the walls with fresh yellowish/cream paint. As we were dipping our paint brushes into the buckets of paint and splattering the walls and ourselves we realized how hard we were all working as a group, counting on one another for help.

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Day three in Jamaica. I’m in love.

Today is day three in Jamaica. I’m in love. We arrived at the airport in Montego Bay and were greeted by Mr. Brown and his entourage. Going through customs and retrieving our luggage went smoothly. It wasn’t until we stepped outside of the airport that it truly felt like we were in Jamaica. I’d call it ‘organized chaos.’ “Taxis” (aka beat up cars) were zipping through to pick people up, blasting their reggae music.

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Roaring River Park in Petersfield, Jamaica

One of the many sites Amizade volunteers visit in Petersfield, Jamaica is Roaring River Park – home to beautiful scenery and swimming holes, rich in culture and history, and the site of world-renowned limestone caverns.

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Healthy and Safety

As you or your loved one prepares to serve with Amizade in Jamaica, you can rest comfortably with the knowledge that Amizade has an exceptionally strong safety record and ability to respond to any emerging challenges. We have safely partnered in Jamaica since 2001. For the most up-to-date health, safety, and security briefings, please review the following: