Serving in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico
Support Puerto Rican Children
The beautiful island of Puerto Rico is a commonwealth of the United States, a common destination for Americans seeking beach vacations with a Latin twist. But beyond the seaside hotels is a community asking for your help – students looking to sharpen their English skills, orphaned and vulnerable children needing psycho-social support, and community buildings in need of tender loving care. Lend your hands and heart to the efforts. In just one or two weeks, you can make a difference and form lasting bonds with the people of Puerto Rico.
Community Partner & Work Projects
Our host in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico is For Such a Time as This, a non-profit created in the wake of Hurricane Maria in 2017, that provides emergency disaster relief as well as regular aid to community members through a homeless feeding program and other community outreach. On a volunteer program in Puerto Rico you will have the opportunity to provide service with our host organization or one of our other community partner sites.
Our community partners in Aguadilla include:
Hogar de Niños Regazo de Paz — An orphanage that has over a dozen children. The children come from traumatic family circumstances or families that cannot afford to take care of them. About half of the children are two years old or younger and the remaining half are two to eight years old.
Asociación Probienestar Barrio Marias de Aguada — A food bank and thrift store that serves the mountainous community in Aguadilla and Aguada.
University of Puerto Rico Aguadilla — A public university campus founded in 1972 with and enrollment of 2,700 students.
Rincón Municipal Language camp — This project takes place in the mountainous region of Jaguey, on the border of Rincon and Aguada. This project is facilitated by the municipality of Rincon. Conversational English sessions are offered to people of all ages.
Volunteers on the Aguadilla service program are pioneers that will help develop the program and establish a strong foundation for future programs. Flexibility is critical. Work projects may include:
Teach Conversational English to Students and Adults –English is the language of commerce, tourism and opportunity – a critical skill for young Puerto Ricans. No teaching experience required, just a desire to visit with local people.
Provide Psycho-Social Support –Play with and care for infants and toddlers at a local children’s center. Your love provides critical nourishment to the most vulnerable members of the community.
Light Labor – Assist with the maintenance and rehabilitation of community buildings that serve area children, when requested by our local partners.
Food Preparation and Distribution – Prepare nutritious meals with a local non-profit that serves mountainous communities.
Grant Writing –The community’s agencies need your help researching and writing grants to fund life-saving projects.
Our community partners in Puerto Rico require all adult volunteers to provide a current police background check and clearance through the national sex offender registry prior to volunteering. These background checks must be current, and not obtained until two months prior to your program start date. More details and instructions will be provided after registering for a program.
Service Program Logistics
All programs are led by a trained team leader experienced in managing diverse groups of people. In cooperation with the community leaders, your team leader will facilitate your team’s orientation, assist you in becoming fully engaged in the work project, and manage all project-related logistical issues.
Three meals a day are included in your service program contribution. Volunteers eat meals in the guesthouses dining area or at the worksite and the team leader purchases food locally for meals to be prepared in the center’s kitchen. Breakfast is self-serve at the shared kitchen space in the lodging and typically includes eggs, cereal, toast, coffee, and juice. Lunch is packed and taken bag style to the work sites. Typically, lunches include sandwiches and other basic lunch items and snacks. Evening meals are prepared by a local cook at the lodging facility and served family style. Vegan and other restrictive diets cannot be accommodated, but you can bring or purchase your own food. Bottled water is always available.
Puerto Rico cuisine, known as cucina criolla is a celebration of flavors, blending indigenous African, Spanish and American influences. Dishes are colorful and full of spices such as bay, oregano and cilantro. Rice and beans are a presence on nearly every table. Traditional dishes volunteers may have a chance to try include: mofongo (mashed plantains with pork or chicken, seasoned with garlic and spices), tostones (fried green plantains), pasteles (similar to tamales stuffed with chicken, vegetables or fish), and arroz con gandules (rice with pigeon peas and spices).
Standard lodging is in an air-conditioned guest house just a few minutes from downtown Aguadilla. Accommodations in the apartment-style guest house are simple but safe and comfortable. Volunteers will be in double- or triple-occupancy rooms with a shared bathroom and shower. Multi-occupancy rooms are available for families and groups. The facility has a game area with a swimming pool, foosball table, and billiards, as well as a basketball hoop, hammocks, and a beautiful view overlooking the Caribbean Sea.
For those that prefer single accommodations or a more hotel-like setting, volunteers can make reservations and pay for their lodging at one of two nearby hotels: Parador El Faro or Hotel Villa Forin. Contact your volunteer coordinator for additional details.
All onsite transportation is included in your service program contribution. You will meet your team leader and other team members at the Luis Munoz Marin International Airport in San Juan (SJU) and be driven to our lodging in a passenger van. You will also be taken back to the airport in the same way on the final day of your program. Transportation to the work sites varies from mere steps away to about 20 to 45 minutes by passenger van.
The Rafael Hernandez Airport in Aguadilla (airport code BQN) is a joint civil-military airport only a short drive from the lodging in Aguadilla. Commercial airline flights are continuously being added to this airport, and if you prefer to fly into Aguadilla, we can provide more details after you register for the program.
Note: transportation for free-time activities is not included.
Accurately assess your functional mobility. Our work assignments and partner communities require varying levels of physical stamina and mobility. After you register, you will be asked about your physical capabilities relating to your mobility. Please answer the questions honestly.
Required Mobility for Puerto Rico: Somewhat mobile – Walk 0.5 mile, climb two flights of stairs, walk on uneven terrain, and get on and off buses and trains with assistance.
You’ll have ample free time in the evenings and on the weekends before and after the program to enjoy area cultural and natural attractions. All free-time activities are your responsibility. Some options in Aguadilla include the famous Crash Boat and Survival Beaches, the old Aguadilla lighthouse ruins, the Gozalandia waterfall and the Aguadilla museum of art. Farther afield, the city of San Juan is an historical goldmine with an abundance of shops and restaurants. Puerto Rico is home to the only rainforest in the United States – El Yunque National Forest. Please note that a rental car is required to visit most of these attractions.
Service Program Contribution
Global Volunteer’s service program contribution covers all lodging, three meals a day, in-country team transportation, emergency medical evacuation insurance, all preparatory materials, onsite orientation, a full-time team leader, and administration costs. The Aguadilla service program contribution is $1,485 with standard lodging for one week.
Please ask your volunteer coordinator about referral credits as well as discounts for students, companions, groups, and alumni volunteers. We encourage you to use Global Volunteers’ online fundraising tool where you can create a personalized webpage to request partially tax-deductible donations from family and friends to help cover your service program contribution. Airfare and free-time activity expenses are your responsibility. The service program contribution and airfare are tax-deductible for U.S. taxpayers.