Read what AMIGOS alumni have to say about the program:
AMIGOS has been an integral part of my personal growth. In my college application essays I wrote about the challenges I overcame when planning CBIPs and tackling cultural differences in order to connect with my community in a meaningful way. I think colleges really liked that I had committed myself to a nonprofit not just for a year, but for three full years as a participant, veteran participant, and training staff member! I believe my AMIGOS commitment helped me get into Yale.
As a current Peace Corps Volunteer in Colombia, I work on community driven projects relating to economic development and entrepreneurship. I participated in AMIGOS as a high school and college student, and am very grateful for such immersive, transformational experiences. Not only did they set me on the path to becoming a Peace Corps Volunteer, they strengthened the language and cultural communication skills that have allowed me to serve. For any young person interested in lifelong service, travel, and leadership – you can’t go wrong with AMIGOS.
I developed the ability to relate to people at all different levels in life and society – age, class, profession, education. Now, I work with executives and hospital leaders to help them be effective leaders in their departments, which involves careful coaching that is oriented toward knowing what they want as leaders and helping them bring about this change. Teaching, coaching, and facilitating are critical skills in the work I do every day.
AMIGOS has played a pivotal role in my life, with the impact showing up in my daily personal and professional life. I’m married to an AMIGOS alumna. My closest friends today are from my active AMIGOS days. Professionally, AMIGOS really taught me I could do anything I set my mind to, even when at first it seems I don’t know where to start. I continue to renew my commitment to making this world a better place for all of us by supporting AMIGOS. I am now a monthly donor for the fifth straight year!JOE
I had never met a more ecstatic group of people than when I met my host family in San Bernardo. Their 20 year-old daughter saw us walking up to the house and immediately started yelling,”They’re here!” My host dad went on and on about how even though they may lack money, they are rich in cariño (care/love) and they can offer the volunteers something that is very hard to find in this world, which islove. It was so great to see that AMIGOS has this kind of effect, where people can’t wait for the next year to come around, and my host dad pointed out the importance of the cultural exchange in both directions between the family and the participants. It just made me so happy to see that AMIGOS is really achieving what it set out to do.MAIJA
Of all the experiences I had during my gap year in Nicaragua, living with a host family was the most valuable. Learning to adapt and live with other people is such a a good life skill, and I feel confident that I’ll be able to handle any roommate that I might have in college. My Spanish has also vastly improved by all the time I’ve spent with my host brothers. It truly feels like I belong to another family, and it can be easy to forget that I haven’t known them my entire life. I’m fortunate to have gotten to know each and every member of my host family, and I’m sure that the bonds I’ve made with them will not break.MATEO
I would not be exaggerating by saying that my experience with AMIGOS was both fantastic and life-changing. Based on my experience in Central America, I pursued a career path in economic development and went on to spend two years in the Peace Corps and get a Ph.D in development economics (and returned to Latin America for my doctoral research).
As a participant, I lived with a host family in a small community and organized and implemented a sustainable community project. I never would have encountered these challenges in any other context, and I felt the responsibility keenly. I learned to be responsible, punctual and take the initiative when things needed to get done.
Through AMIGOS, I became aware of the world outside the United States, and saw my life through a different lens. The friendships I made and the experience I had of two incredible Latin American cultures are gifts that will last a lifetime.KILLIAN
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Read what the parents of AMIGOS participants say about their experience:
Both our children left Houston as fun-loving, typical teenagers and returned from their AMIGOS experience with new-found confidence and maturity and a real sense of what life is like beyond our community. In fact, Stuart had been so impressed by the AMIGOS experience that he has been to the field for four summers; and this is Lauren’s second time, with service this summer as a supervisor in the DR. We are proud of them and appreciate the opportunity that AMIGOS offers Houston youth. The AMIGOS experience is a “family-changing” experience!
His host family called him the day after he got home. At first I couldn’t imagine why they would do that. Then it occurred to me that they were also now family. They miss him, too. It made me wish I knew them. It made me cry. I read somewhere, and always agreed, that a child can never have too many people who love him.
I wanted you to know that I am an extremely proud father tonight. Whitney who was an Amigo in Michoacan last summer was voted by the senior class of her high school (which is one of the most outstanding high schools in San Diego County) as the person most likely to turn out like Mother Theresa. AMIGOS definitely helped shape Whitney over the last year and I can’t think of a much greater honor by her peers than to be recognized this way.
As a parent, I felt very well prepared for my daughter’s absence. It was hard and we missed her, but I also had peace that she was well cared for and that there were systems in place to help her if needed. The staff at AMIGOS do a great job of preparing you for them being gone. The best gift you can give your child is believing that they can do this.
Seth is loving Georgetown and continues to stay involved with community service activities on campus. He’s majoring in Global Health and possibly minoring in Spanish. He did a program with the Georgetown Center for Social Justice, First Year Orientation to Community Involvement, and hopes to continue to work with some of the organizations they were introduced to in the D.C. area. AMIGOS played a huge role in his interest in community service and social justice issues.
My son gained phenomenal confidence in his ability to make a difference in the lives of the people in the community and was humbled by what he did. He became a part of that community and he felt great ownership and pride in what he was able to accomplish. The AMIGOS experience is a thread that continues influence his life choices. He majored in Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, and International Affairs in College. He is now in grad school to become a Family Nurse Practitioner and wants to work with Latinos.
Read what educators have to say about the value of AMIGOS:
As America’s top college consultant, I know that the college admissions essays that truly pop off the paper are ones that show emotional resilience, independence, and a departure from your comfort zone. AMIGOS provides that experience for teenagers.
-NEHA GUPTA, FOUNDER OF COLLEGE SHORTCUTS AND ELITE PRIVATE TUTORS
Being an AMIGOS participant demonstrates leadership, initiative, and a desire to contribute to the world. These are the very qualities that colleges are looking for throughout the application process.
-DR. EVA GARZA-NYER, OWNER OF COLLEGE ADVISORY FIRM “TEXAS COLLEGE ADVISOR”