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AMIGOS volunteers are about to embark on a once-in-a-lifetime journey. In order for them to take full advantage of this experience, we are challenging volunteers to disconnect from their cell phones during their time in community.

Unplug from cell phones and connect more deeply in community with a new Challenge by Choice Initiative: Disconnect to Reconnect.

Volunteers who participate in this challenge will seal their cell phones in a designated envelope for the duration of their project. This envelope will then be checked each week by their Project Supervisor. Volunteers will still have access to their personalized emergency action plan, including access to a phone, should they need it.

Volunteers who complete the challenge will be eligible to receive a piece of exclusive Challenge by Choice swag and a special certificate!

So why accept the challenge?

This initiative seeks to facilitate a truly immersive experience. It helps volunteers achieve transformational outcomes while staying safe. Unplugging can also have a huge impact on someone’s everyday life!

Studies show that unplugging can lead to:
a deeper connection with people,
improved quality of life, and
even better sleep at night!

Read more about the Benefits of Unplugging here.

Why Scott Left His Phone at Home

When Marin Chapter’s Scott left for his project in Chimborazo, Ecuador 2018, his cell phone didn’t make the packing list. Below is an essay he wrote on why he chose to disconnect with technology during his AMIGOS experience.

Scott with his host father and AMIGOS partner

Don’t bring your phone on your trip.

AMIGOS is an incredible opportunity that I encourage you to take full advantage of this summer. Don’t let your phone get in the way.

Everyone recognizes that we have a problem with our phones and technology. Hours of our days are lost just scrolling around aimlessly online, but our phones hold just enough value that we can justify much of their overuse. They let you call parents or friends, send important emails, stay up to date with the news and so much more, but on your trip it will only hamper your experience. You don’t need to be in constant contact with family or friends back home.

The independence and self-reliance you get on your trip is what makes this opportunity so special and unique. 

For me, losing the phone was one of the most important decisions I made. Normally someone who might spend a couple of hours a day mindlessly on my phone, I was able to read twice as many books in the 7 weeks on my trip than I had read the entire past year.

It also made me face some of the more daunting aspects of the trip. Instead of having the phone to escape to, I had to constantly stay active. I would farm with my family, eat lunch with a different family across town, and then play soccer in the town center with a group of kids.

Though uncomfortable at first and hard to push myself to do, in retrospect, these were the best parts of my trip. Leaving my phone at home gave me the freedom to make my experience in Ecuador as great as it was.

I encourage you to accept the challenge.

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