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Volunteer with Casa de los Ángeles in San Miguel de Allende

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A collage of day care children and volunteers.
Day care children and volunteers. Photo courtesy of Casa de los Ángeles.

Casa de los Ángeles was originally founded as a free day care center for children whose mothers work in San Miguel de Allende. It has since grown to include medical care for families, a food bank, and scholarship opportunities, as well as serving as a health clinic and a transitional shelter for poor families. At the time of this writing, the organization served 95 children.

[pullquote align=right]Occasionally volunteers have the opportunity to help with other projects taking place during their stay, such as construction, painting, or fundraising events.[/pullquote]Volunteers are assigned to particular areas at the day care: in the classroom, in the kitchen or babies’ room, working one-on-one with a disabled child, or working with older children who come before or after school.

Responsibilities include playing with the children, teaching arts and crafts, feeding babies and changing their clothes, and organizing field trips. Occasionally volunteers have the opportunity to help with other projects taking place during their stay, such as construction, painting, or fundraising events. Volunteers are asked to work full-time; however, there is flexibility to work mornings (9:30am-12:30pm) or afternoons (1:30pm-3:30pm) only with a long-term commitment.

A volunteer hugs a child at Photo courtesy of Casa de los Ángeles day care.
Volunteers come from around the world like Luca (Rome, Italy) to help with the children. Photo courtesy of Casa de los Ángeles.

Casa de los Ángeles is located in the beautiful city of San Miguel de Allende, in central Mexico. Tourists flock here for the centuries-old buildings of the well-preserved historic center, which, together with the nearby Sanctuary of Atotonilco, have been declared a World Heritage Site.

The beauty of the town, its mild climate, and its low crime rates also attract a significant number of U.S. and Canadian retirees. There are plenty of cafés and restaurants, not to mention Spanish-language schools, where volunteers can spend their free time.

A volunteer hugs a child at Photo courtesy of Casa de los Ángeles day care.
Volunteers come from around the world like Jordon (Oregon, US) to help with the children. Photo courtesy of Casa de los Ángeles.

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Casa de los Ángeles

San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
tel. 52/415-154-0720
http://www.casadelosangeles.org

Application Process: Send an email to request an application form. Volunteers under age 18 must be accompanied by a parent or chaperone. Families with children old enough to help volunteer are welcome.

Cost: US$50 application fee. Accommodations are US$160/week or US$500/month (some meals included), and part of the accommodation fee benefits the program. Volunteers can also make their own living arrangements.

Casa de los Ángeles can arrange a pickup from the León airport for US$75 (up to three people).

Placement Length: Placement length is flexible. While volunteers who can stay a few weeks or more are especially appreciated, other volunteer placements have ranged from a few days to one year.

Language Requirements: Spanish skills are beneficial but not required. Casa de los Ángeles has hosted many English-only volunteers in the past and can help connect volunteers with Spanish classes and tutors.

Housing: Volunteers stay in a lovely 12-bed guesthouse (with a kitchen and wireless Internet) close to the city center and about one mile from the day care. (Beds in the guesthouse can fill up in advance, so best to apply early!) Breakfast and lunch are provided to volunteers at the day care on weekdays.

Operating Since: 2000

Number of Volunteers: approximately 150 in 2012

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Excerpted from the First Edition of Moon Volunteer Vacations in Latin America.

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