What We Learned in the Last Two Years
Two years ago today, on March 16, 2020, AMIGOS announced the full suspension of all volunteer programs for the first time in our history.
Our Gap Program volunteers in Uruguay and Ecuador were in-country. In a matter of hours, we arranged for their safe return home, just before international borders closed. I wrote an open letter to our community announcing the cancellation of AMIGOS Summer Programs. The future was uncertain. We all went home to work remotely, adopting Zoom for meetings and virtual team activities such as yoga and coffees. And we started to map out how AMIGOS would continue to impact students in a virtual environment.
It is unimaginable that two years have passed since that day.
After these incredibly trying years, I have a few reflections:
Our vision is more important than ever.
We seek a world where each person shares lifelong responsibility for our global community. In the face of COVID-19, global environmental challenges, and deepening divides in our country and the globe, we could not – and would not – stop our pursuit of this dream. Empowering all youth to learn across differences and engage civically continues to be paramount. And, we owe a debt of gratitude to each and every person and organization that leaned in to support us in this time.
Our mission can be accomplished in many ways.
One silver lining of the pandemic crisis is that our team imagined new ways to fulfill our mission. Without ever getting on an airplane to travel internationally, AMIGOS volunteers could meet virtually across borders, engage in meaningful community service, and test their own leadership. We now have a broader view of how we can make an impact for more young people and communities across the Americas.
Support from our community gives us wings.
AMIGOS has always been about people. Our team is dedicated to preparing the next generation of leaders. Your support throughout the pandemic has enabled us to remain innovative, agile, and strong. Without our community’s support of our day-in, day-out operations, we would not be where we are today. Our staff is so grateful to each and every one of you who has leaned into support AMIGOS and to ensure that our mission is carried out for decades more to come.
AMIGOS is resilient.
Despite the odds, we continue to offer transformational programs for young people throughout the Americas. This year we are running programs for students ages 13+ in Costa Rica, Panama, Nicaragua, Ecuador, Colombia, Paraguay, Uruguay, and the United States. We are powering back up and poised to reach more young people than ever as we look ahead. And there are still a few spots left on our 2022 summer programs!
All of this would not be possible without all of you. I feel enormous gratitude to everyone who has brought us here today:
Our AMIGOS Board of Directors.
Our local chapter leaders.
Our entire staff, past and present.
Our medical and mental health leadership team.
Our partners throughout the Americas.
Our Advisory Council.
Our friends and colleagues in global education.
And most importantly, our volunteers – the young people who take action and make a difference.
Thank you for ensuring that AMIGOS continues to build bridges and transform lives. We look forward to all that is ahead in 2022 and beyond.
President & CEO