Volunteer Abroad

Good Neighbors is committed to working in partnership with local community members on long-term, comprehensive community development projects--this enables us to engage volunteers in the most effective, short-term service projects possible. We work with colleges, high schools, youth groups, and faith-based organizations to create meaningful, hands-on volunteer experiences that are educational, eye-opening, and life-changing.

Volunteer Program

Program Details

1. Build Cookstoves for Families in Need

Volunteers will visit two different community development projects, in either the region of Acatenango or Solola, to build cookstoves for families in need. Donors will witness the negative effects that old stoves have on a family’s environment and respiratory health, and experience the incredible difference a new cookstove makes. Alongside professional builders and Good Neighbors Guatemala staff, volunteers will participate in every aspect of building the cookstoves, from laying the brick to working with cement in order to complete a few cookstoves each day.

Good Neighbors encourages volunteers to get to know the families they meet while building the cookstoves, and to take note of the tremendous need that is met by their generous donation of time and money. While visiting a family’s cookstove, volunteers are able to connect with the recipient family, as well as members of the surrounding community. At times, donors end up spending an entire day with the family, getting acquainted with their day-to-day life, playing with children, and forming a unique bond with them.

2. Visit Our Community Development Projects (CDPs)

Volunteers will get the opportunity to tour a number of our Community Development Projects in Guatemala; possible sites include the CDPs in Loma Blanca and Patzicia, where Good Neighbors has built schools, health clinics, playgrounds, libraries, computer centers, and more. Volunteers will see first-hand how Good Neighbors Guatemala operates, and meet the children and families who are benefiting from these programs. This is an excellent chance to see how donors’ money is invested into communities and the tremendous change in quality of life it brings.

Trip Costs

$2,000 – cost per person including:

  • Donation of one cookstove (valued at $400)
  • All travel costs, including plane fare, ground travel, and lodging
  • All meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner)
  • Detailed, planned itinerary to visit community projects and tourist destinations, led by an experienced Good Neighbors staff member

Local Partner

Good Neighbors Guatemala (www.goodneighbors.org.gt)

Length

7-10 days (depending on travel time)

Leisure activities

One day will be allotted for tourist activities. On past trips, volunteers have visited Antigua, a popular tourist location about 35 miles from Guatemala City. Examples of tourist activities include touring coffee plantations, horseback riding, and zip lining. Volunteers will also be able to rest and/or shop for souvenirs during this day. (Volunteers are responsible for paying for any gifts or souvenirs they choose to purchase during this time.)

Safety

Safety is our first priority. Good Neighbors always observes travel warnings issued by the U.S. State Department, even if it means cancelling a trip. All volunteers will attend an orientation with our staff so they are well-prepared before traveling. We also provide comfortable and clean accommodations in safe areas for all participants.

Program Details

1. Build Cookstoves for Families in Need

For 1-2 days of this weeklong trip, volunteers will visit two different community development projects, in either the region of Acatenango or Solola, to build cookstoves for families in need. Donors will witness the negative effects that old stoves have on a family’s environment and respiratory health, and experience the incredible difference a new cookstove makes. Alongside professional builders and Good Neighbors Guatemala staff, volunteers will participate in every aspect of building the cookstoves, from laying the brick to working with cement in order to complete a few cookstoves each day.

Good Neighbors encourages volunteers to get to know the families they meet while building the cookstoves, and to take note of the tremendous need that is met by their generous donation of time and money. While visiting a family’s cookstove, volunteers are able to connect with the recipient family, as well as members of the surrounding community. At times, donors end up spending an entire day with the family, getting acquainted with their day-to-day life, playing with children, and forming a unique bond with them.

2. Volunteering Special Skills

An important and unique part of this trip will be the opportunity for volunteers to offer their special skills and services to communities in need. Volunteers will visit various community development projects--including schools, health clinics, libraries, playgrounds, and more--and our staff will arrange in advance how each volunteer can serve that community during their trip. Volunteers may have special skills related to their profession or that are simply hobbies (i.e. doctors, teachers, musicians, etc.) who can offer their services in support of the communities they visit. Please do not hesitate to notify us of any particular skills, talents or abilities that you or members of your group may possess so we can customize a trip that can help in these areas. Even the most seemingly trivial abilities may meet a huge need for a community in Guatemala. Past examples include dentists who have offered their pro-bono services at health clinics, and the Ainos Ensemble orchestral group who performed two musical pieces for an elementary school.

Trip Costs

$2,000 – cost per person including:

  • Donation of one cookstove (valued at $400)
  • All travel costs, including plane fare, ground travel, and lodging
  • All meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner)
  • Detailed, planned itinerary to visit community projects and tourist destinations, led by an experienced Good Neighbors staff member

Local Partner

Good Neighbors Guatemala (www.goodneighbors.org.gt)

Length

7-10 days (depending on travel time)

Leisure activities

One day will be allotted for tourist activities. On past trips, volunteers have visited Antigua, a popular tourist location about 35 miles from Guatemala City. Examples of tourist activities include touring coffee plantations, horseback riding, and zip lining. Volunteers will also be able to rest and/or shop for souvenirs during this day. (Volunteers are responsible for paying for any gifts or souvenirs they choose to purchase during this time.)

Safety

Safety is our first priority. Good Neighbors always observes travel warnings issued by the U.S. State Department, even if it means cancelling a trip. All volunteers will attend an orientation with our staff so they are well-prepared before traveling. We also provide comfortable and clean accommodations in safe areas for all participants.

Program Details

1. Time For Spiritual/Personal Growth

The Mission-Vision Program will consist of building cookstoves while also pursuing faith-based goals. This program is very similar in design to our traditional cookstoves-building trip, but Good Neighbors will work with faith-based organizations to customize time for groups to reflect on their experiences and the spiritual and personal growth that comes with what they’ve witnessed.

2. Build Cookstoves for Families in Need

Volunteers will visit two different community development projects, in either the region of Acatenango or Solola, to build cookstoves for families in need. Donors will witness the negative effects that old stoves have on a family’s environment and respiratory health, and experience the incredible difference a new cookstove makes. Alongside professional builders and Good Neighbors Guatemala staff, volunteers will participate in every aspect of building the cookstoves, from laying the brick to working with cement in order to complete a few cookstoves each day.

Good Neighbors encourages volunteers to get to know the families they meet while building the cookstoves, and to take note of the tremendous need that is met by their generous donation of time and money. While visiting a family’s cookstove, volunteers are able to connect with the recipient family, as well as members of the surrounding community. At times, donors end up spending an entire day with the family, getting acquainted with their day-to-day life, playing with children, and forming a unique bond with them.

Visit Our Community Development Projects (CDPs)

Volunteers will get the opportunity to tour a number of our Community Development Projects in Guatemala; possible sites include the CDPs in Loma Blanca and Patzicia, where Good Neighbors has built schools, health clinics, playgrounds, libraries, computer centers, and more. Volunteers will see first-hand how Good Neighbors Guatemala operates, and meet the children and families who are benefiting from these programs. This is an excellent chance to see how donors’ money is invested into communities and the tremendous change in quality of life it brings.

Trip Costs

$2,000 – cost per person including:

  • All travel costs including plane ticket, in between projects and accommodations
  • All meals and lodging
  • Designated Community Development Projects for a 7-day trip
  • Donation of one cookstove ($400)

Local Partner

Good Neighbors Guatemala (www.goodneighbors.org.gt)

Length

7-10 days (depending on travel time)

Leisure activities

One day will be allotted for tourist activities. Past volunteers visited Antigua, a famous tourist town located about 35 miles from Guatemala City. Examples of tourist activities include: a tour of the coffee plantations, horseback riding, and zip lining. During this one day of tourist activity, volunteers will also be able to rest and shop for souvenirs if they choose to do so.

Safety

Safety is our primary concern in everything we do. Good Neighbors always observes travel warnings issued by the U.S. State Department, even if it means canceling a program. We commend our volunteers who work and serve to improve the quality of life for children and families and although conditions are not luxurious, we work diligently to provide safe, comfortable and clean accommodations.

Program Details

Visit Community Development Projects (CDPs)

This part of the program will consist of visiting Good Neighbors’ Community Development Projects (CDPs) in Guatemala. Examples include the CDPs in Loma Blanca, Patzicia, Zacapa, etc. and will give donors the opportunity to tour schools and clinics built by Good Neighbors. The majority of students attending these schools are currently receiving assistance through Good Neighbors’ child sponsorship program; the health clinics provide services for sponsored children, their families, and community members for a low, income-sensitive fee. Staff from Good Neighbors Guatemala will guide donors along this invaluable tour to experience firsthand how their child sponsorship donations have been managed and appropriated.

If donors are trained medical doctors, dentists, teachers, or simply interested in volunteer work, we will provide a time within the visits at each CDP for donors to volunteer their assistance to that particular community. We can always customize and match specific donor skills to the needs of the community, whether in clinics or on home visits.

2. Visit Recipient Families

The purpose of this visit is for donors to personally meet the family who received the donated cookstoves, and to experience firsthand the transformation brought on by their donation. They will visit CDPs in either the Acatenango or Solola region, depending on where their donated cookstove is located. This is a very up-close and personal opportunity for donors; they will be able to witness both homes that still use old cookstoves and see the negative health effects of a toxic environment, while also seeing the improvements that a new cookstove brings. Donors will get to spend quality time with families, play with the children, and see how the communities live. Oftentimes, these encounters leave the greatest, most lasting impressions on our participants.

Trip Logistics and Costs

Projected cost per person - $2,300 - $2,500 – cost per person including:

  • All travel costs including plane ticket, in between projects and accommodations
  • All meals and lodging
  • Designated Community Development Projects for a 7-day trip
  • The price will also include a donation of 1 cookstove ($400)

Local Partner

Good Neighbors Guatemala (www.goodneighbors.org.gt)

Length

7-10 days (depending on travel time)

Leisure activities

Two days of free time will be allotted so participants can schedule a time for tourist activities. Participants will be housed in Antigua, a famous site near Guatemala City. There are a host of activities to enjoy including, shopping for souvenirs, visiting local cafes, touring coffee plantations, horseback riding and zip lining. Free time each day will end in the late afternoon leaving time for rest or more leisurely activities.

Safety

Safety is our primary concern in everything we do. Good Neighbors always observes travel warnings issued by the U.S. State Department, even if it means canceling a program. We commend our volunteers whose work and service helps to improve the quality of life for families in our global community, and although conditions are not luxurious, we work diligently to provide safe, comfortable and clean accommodations.

Learn more about Project Cookstoves

Our Policy

Good Neighbors USA provides a unique volunteer travel opportunity for just about anyone interested in educational travel. We offer volunteers the chance for a hands-on experience by personally contributing to important community projects, an unforgettable introduction to travel that makes a difference. The participants in the GNUSA volunteer abroad program experience community service while learning more about GNUSA’s approach to international development and sustainable solutions to poverty; including sessions with GNUSA staff and visits to GNUSA projects in the field. The Volunteer programs run from one week to 1 year.

GNUSA provides volunteer opportunities for the express benefit of participants. These volunteer opportunities provided by GNUSA offer participants work experience and training in specialized skills. The volunteer intends to donate services to the charity GNUSA, and said charity intends to accept the donation of volunteer services. These opportunities of donated services do not displace regular employees.

Application Submission Instructions

Please submit the completed application to Good Neighbors USA by email, fax, or post. Please do not send a partial application. All fields are required to be filled out accurately. Incomplete applications will not be processed. All applications must include:

  1. All pages of this initialed and signed application
  2. Attached parent or guardian statement if volunteer is under 18
  3. One letter of recommendation from a non-relative

Email address: volunteer@goodneighbors.org

Fax Number: 877.499.4565

Mailing Address: Good Neighbors USA, P.O.Box 86755, Los Angeles, CA 90086

All applications will be read and considered in the order that they are received. Please allow up to 48 business hours an e-mail response. In addition to this application, a brief telephone interview with the applicant is also required for approval. You must be approved before you may enroll. You may direct all questions regarding the application: Good Neighbors USA 1-877-499-9898.

Download the Volunteer Application


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