Our 53rd summer in communities throughout Latin America has come to a close, and it’s been a whirlwind! More than 550 participants spent their summer with AMIGOS on 10 different projects in Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, and Mexico. Local youth participated in AMIGOS programs alongside students from the US in each country, though we are particularly proud of our project in Pérez Zeledón, Costa Rica, where half the participants were from the US and the other half came from local communities.
Here is a status report reflecting on our goals, accomplishments, and vision for the future.
We aim to increase the sustainability of our programs by establishing a year-round presence on the ground. Here’s how:
- We have permanent staff based in Nicaragua, Colombia, and Ecuador, who help manage our summer and gap programs.
- This year, we’re opening a gap program in Cuenca, Ecuador! This builds upon our success with our other gap program in Leon, Nicaragua. Both American Gap Association-accredited programs run through the academic year.
- Establishing strong local partnerships with trusted organizations like Plan International allows AMIGOS to contribute to community projects identified by local citizens, and ensures these projects will be maintained and built upon throughout the years.
We are committed to building relationships with entities that help us further our mission.
- Tufts University provides accepted students an opportunity to participate in a year of full-time service on an AMIGOS gap year as part of their 1+4 Bridge-Year Service Learning program before they begin their academic studies
- We provide a customized service learning experience for participants in American University’s Community-Based Research Scholars program
- Our partnerships with Summer Search and KIPP NYC include financial aid and specialized in-country trainings in order to broaden the AMIGOS experience to under-resourced families.
- We’re actively searching for new partners who share our vision of a world with more Amigos!
- We are committed to keeping our programs accessible to anyone who wishes to participate; last year, we increased the amount of financial aid distributed by 80%, the average award by 27%, and the number of recipients by 36%.
- Our Adelante Benefit in San Francisco last fall and the inaugural Breakfast to Benefit AMIGOS in Houston this October were initiated in order to raise funds for financial assistance and AMIGOS programs.
- Our Youth Ambassadors program, fully funded by the US State Department, provides leadership training, professional development, and cultural exchange for youth from the US and South America.
We believe that AMIGOS is the most transformative cultural immersion and youth leadership program for young people. We look forward to building on over 50 years of experience in order to expand our programs for as many young leaders as possible.
If it’s been a while since you heard from AMIGOS, update your information with us to stay in the loop!