How You Benefit
Make a lasting contribution. You can change a community forever by building a school or clinic, working on an ecotourism project or constructing a water system.
Make friends. Connect with your team and with people in a very different culture. You will develop friendships with loving and inspiring people who live through struggles you have known only in fiction. You’ll feel the bond of your common humanity with people so unlike yourself and realize you have a second home.
Develop your leadership skills. Work with a team, take initiative, solve problems with ingenuity rather than resources, learn to raise money, discover new strengths and interests. You’ll build something new and important from start to finish.
Experience day-to-day life with a rural Salvadoran family. While people born outside the circle of poverty live with none of the resources that most of us take for granted (e.g., lack of health care, access to education, material comforts), there are also rich cultural traditions, strong family connections and close friendships. Living and working with one of the loving and hardworking families in our partner villages provides a new sense of family, community and an appreciation for the privilege we enjoy by accident of birthplace.
Have fun! You’ll play, sing, hike, cook and eat meals together, and hear the amazing personal stories of your hosts.
Obtain Community Service Hours! High school students needing to accumulate community service hours can typically do it by participating on a trip. (Note: Community Service hours are pre-approved by Montgomery County Maryland and usually granted in other counties. Check with your county school system if that is one of your goals.)
What You Will Do
Typical delegations begin by seeing cultural sites and learning the history of El Salvador from people who live there.
During the next two weeks, you and a partner will live with a family in a poor, rural village and work alongside them on a community project, learning about them and yourself as you go.
We cook and eat together, and in the evening we sing, dance and listen to their personal survival stories.
Delegates bond with each other, their host families, and the community, adjust to a new lifestyle, appreciate hard work (really), and experience a simple life without the comforts that many of us take for granted.
How You Help
Your visit is an expression of respect and hope to people who so often remain “invisible” as they face the hardships of poverty.
Teams like yours have:
- Built schools
- Piped water to homes
- Planted trees
- Worked with children in educational programs
- Provided medical and dental services
- Trained teachers
- Worked with persons who have disabilities
The community benefits because they:
- Create a community resource that permanently enhances the lives of people
- Dare to dream about a better future
- Work together to plan a community or self-development project
- Practice self-leadership and community cooperation
- Experience the respect and caring of people from another culture