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Youth Support Volunteer Project in Puerto Rico - San Juan

Youth Support Volunteer Project in Puerto Rico - San Juan

Purpose
Provide a safe space for marginalized youth
Start dates
Programs start every Monday
Duration
Choose from 1-12 weeks
Volunteer hours
Up to 5 hours a day
Age
Volunteers aged 18+ and families
Accommodation
Dormitory-style hostel
Program fees
From £516 for 1 week
What's included
Find out here
Apply for free
'Who is going' users image
Who is going?
Group video calls

Once you have secured your place, join regular video calls to meet your Program Manager and other volunteers before your trip.

This program is ideal for:

Volunteers interested in helping young people who are often from disadvantaged communities. No experience is required as you’ll be supported by the local team and placement staff.

Project details

Eager to be a Youth Support volunteer in Puerto Rico? International Volunteer HQ’s Youth Support project enables volunteers to assist in community centres, daycare centres and after school programs. Volunteers gain youth work experience by providing personalised attention, mentoring and educational support to young people and opening their minds to new cultures and possibilities.

What to expect and how you'll make an impact

The future of Puerto Rico lies in the hands of its young people - and youth-focused initiatives are doing great work across the island to build and harness the potential of the country’s next generation. Despite being under-resourced, they cater to a large number of young people each day, so rely heavily on the support of volunteers.

As a Youth Support volunteer, you’ll be helping these initiatives to provide a variety of opportunities for children and young people, enabling them to thrive. The Youth Support project in Puerto Rico takes place in community centres and after-school programs. Volunteer work is led by local placement staff and your tasks each day will vary depending on your specific placement, but often include:

  • Providing personalized attention to young people
  • Mentoring
  • Educational support with homework
  • Tutoring young people
  • Assistance with running games and sports
  • Workshop activities such as yoga or music
  • General daily operations
  • Cooking and cleaning
Contributes to United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal #1: No Poverty

Contributes to United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal #1: No Poverty

More than 10% of the world’s population live in extreme poverty, struggling to fulfil the most basic needs like health, education, and access to water and sanitation, to name a few. Growth must be inclusive to achieve sustainable development and an economy that benefits all.

Why do Youth Support volunteering in San Juan with IVHQ?

When you volunteer with young people in Puerto Rico you’ll be adding value to the local community, while also developing personally and professionally by:

  • Providing extracurricular opportunities for young people
  • Helping students develop life skills in a safe place
  • Developing your communication skills
  • Gaining youth work experience
  • Immersing yourself in Puerto Rican culture
  • Exploring Puerto Rico’s stunning beaches

Volunteer requirements

  • Volunteers under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian to participate in this program
  • This program requires all volunteers to be over the age of 14, even when accompanied by a parent or guardian
  • All volunteers aged 14+ are required to provide a criminal background check to IVHQ prior to departure. Those aged 14-17, if unable to obtain a criminal background check, can provide two character reference letters instead
  • All volunteers are required to have adequate volunteer travel insurance
  • All volunteers must speak fluent English.
Are you eligible to volunteer?

Submit a free application so we can confirm your eligibility and check availability for your preferred dates.

Apply for free

Not sure which program to join?

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'Who is going' users image
Who is going?
Group video calls

Once you have secured your place, join regular video calls to meet your Program Manager and other volunteers before your trip.

What recent volunteers said about their IVHQ experience

KM
Kameshia Mays
29 May 2024

I feel as if I gained more insight about the country I was volunteering in. The more you know about a country and its citizens the more respect and appreciation you tend to gain. My advice would be to always come opened minded and make the best of your experience.

...
SH
Samantha Hochstetler
26 Apr 2024

From this experience I have gained so much confidence in myself and loved getting out of my shell in a new routine. For others who might be hesitant about joining I would say do it!! there's only good things that can come out of an amazing experience, don't be scared, have funnnnn!!!!!

...
LH
Linda Hochstetler
11 Apr 2024

My primary goal for volunteering abroad was to introduce my daughter to other cultures and the joys of giving back by volunteering. I've always wanted to go to Puerto Rico and personally know people from there originally. The ability to "live like a local" was an amazing experience and I never want to travel any other way again. My advice to anyone thinking of joining the Puerto Rico Youth Support program is that they should not let any fears hold them back. Puerto Rico is super safe and the children at the program will make everything worth your time and effort.

...
EH
Evyonne Hawkins
19 Jul 2023

The first bit of advice is be flexible. Not all things will be as you expect it to be but the experience can be great if you go with few expectations. I was a little nervous because I do not speak the language, but working with the kids taught me the basics of what I need to know to be able to perform my tasks.

...
MR
Mary Rossi
23 Mar 2023

Working with the children in Puerto Rico was amazing! This was an absolutely wonderful week and I'm very glad I got to experience it and make a difference. It's worth your time and you will not regret your decision. The other volunteers are friendly and everyone wants to work together.

...
EP
Emily Pashouwer
14 Jul 2022

It was so important for me to be able to connect with the children and to learn about the culture of Puerto Rico from the locals. If I would have decided to travel to Puerto Rico without volunteering with IVHQ, I would have missed out on the experiences with the local children and adults. It is a beautiful thing to be able to experience life as a local would in order to understand what is important to each individual and the society based on individual and cultural values. At least from my experience, I was greeted by wonderful volunteers as soon as I got to my destination. With the support of the other volunteers, I never felt alone or like I was incapable of doing everything I wanted to do during the experience. This is the perfect opportunity to get out of the culture you are used to and go explore a new one with locals proudly sharing their culture with you. If you want to grow as an independent person, volunteer abroad.

...

To read all reviews, visit our reviews page.

Academic course credit

Academic course credit through International Volunteer HQ and Intern Abroad HQ.

Academic course credit

Gain course credit from your college or university and meet your academic requirements when completing a volunteer abroad program with International Volunteer HQ!

Learn about course credit

Location

Volunteer Abroad in Puerto Rico with IVHQ

Location

The IVHQ Puerto Rico volunteer program is based in and around the region of the island’s coastal capital of San Juan, renowned for its beautiful beaches and vivid history. ​Set on the outer edge of the Caribbean, San Juan has long been an important international port and remains so to this day. As a result it is also a hub for industry, finance, culture and tourism.

The city is also home to around 80 percent of Puerto Rico’s population, and took a serious hit when Hurricane Maria ripped through the region in 2017.

While huge recovery efforts have returned much of the city to a habitable state, there are still many people and parts of the region feeling the longer-term effects of the crisis. Volunteers can have a meaningful impact on these communities by choosing to give their time and energy to projects which aim to give people a hand up in the ways they most need it.

Arrival and orientation

The Puerto Rico volunteer program begins every Monday. You need to arrive in San Juan for pickup on the Sunday before your chosen start date.

After you have registered for the program, please book your flights to arrive at Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport (SJU). Your airport pick-up is included in your Program Fee if you arrive on the Sunday before your program starts. The pick-up window is from 8:00 AM to 9:00 PM so please ensure to arrive during this period.

When you arrive, you will be greeted at the airport by a member of the local team and transported to the volunteer accommodation, which is a 20-minute drive away. Your accommodation is covered by your Program Fee and includes the Sunday night prior to your program orientation.

If you are travelling in Puerto Rico prior to your volunteer program, we can arrange for you to be picked up from a meeting point in San Juan on the Sunday before your program start date. Alternatively, you can choose to make your own way to the volunteer accommodation.

On the first Monday of your program, orientation is hosted by our local team in San Juan and runs for a half day. Orientation covers everything you need to know for your volunteer program in Puerto Rico – introduction to Puerto Rico, Puerto Rican customs, rules and expectations, safety, travel opportunities in Puerto Rico, introduction to your project and placement. The orientation will also give you a chance to meet other volunteers and swap contact details for weekend travel and socialising.

Volunteer schedule example

Weekdays

A volunteer day is subject to change depending on your specific project and your placement. ​A typical daily schedule​ might be as follows:

9:00 AM Volunteer work begins
12:00 PM Lunch breaks can vary depending on the working schedule, but all volunteers get time to have their own lunch and relax. After lunch you will have free time to explore the area, do some shopping or plan for your next day’s work. If your project calls for it, you may be involved in more afternoon volunteer activities.
Evening: Volunteers have free time to spend as they wish. You’ll definitely want to head out to local restaurants for dinner, though volunteers who prefer to cook for themselves do have access to the hostel kitchen.

Weekends

During the weekends, volunteers have spare time to relax or ​explore San Juan and other parts of Puerto Rico.

We recommend taking a walking tour of Old San Juan to absorb its vibrancy and colonial history, taking a trip to the tropical rainforest for hiking and waterfalls or enjoying the white sand beaches and soaking in the turquoise waters of the Caribbean.

It’s a great idea to do your own research before you go to get an idea of what you may want to see and do once you are in Puerto Rico. Volunteers often get together once they’re in the country and organising travel and tours together.

Accommodation and WiFi

You will be accommodated with other volunteers in one of two public hostels in San Juan. The hostels also cater for independent travellers who book rooms from time to time. The hostels are centrally located in San Juan, close to beaches, shops, restaurants and amenities.

You should expect basic dormitory style accommodation. Rooms are mixed gender and you could share a room with up to 16 other volunteers. Bedrooms are comprised of bunk beds with bedding provided but you will need to bring your own towel.

You can also expect to share a communal bathroom with toilets and showers. It is the responsibility of the volunteer to ensure their room and shared bathroom is kept tidy, although there are staff who clean the accommodation throughout the week.

Free WiFi is available at the volunteer accommodation, as well as at many cafes and restaurants in the area. A local SIM card with data can also be used in unlocked phones.

Private room upgrades are also possible for an additional cost, subject to availability. The cost varies according to the season and the upgrade and can be arranged with the local team directly, once you are registered.

Meals

Meals are not included in this program, so you will need to arrange your own breakfast, lunch and dinner. The hostel has cooking facilities to prepare meals and there are nearby shops and restaurants to purchase food from.

Pricing

  • USD

Spots are limited. For a Registration Fee of just US$329 (approximately £271) you secure your spot and unlock all our preparation and training tools.

You don't need to worry about paying your Program Fee until you get closer to your start date.

Duration
Program Fee
Due 30 days before you start, or within 48 hours if you register inside of 30 days. Covers the cost of hosting you.
  • USD
1 week $625 Equivalent to $89/day
2 weeks $950 Equivalent to $68/day
3 weeks $1,245 Equivalent to $59/day
4 weeks $1,570 Equivalent to $56/day
5 weeks $1,893 Equivalent to $54/day
6 weeks $2,215 Equivalent to $53/day
8 weeks $2,813 Equivalent to $50/day
10 weeks $3,360 Equivalent to $48/day
12 weeks $3,955 Equivalent to $47/day
  • All programs attract a Registration Fee of US$329 (approximately £271) in addition to the Program Fee. This covers all pre-departure support services.
  • A 5% international banking fee is added at point of payment.
  • Recommended spending money: Volunteers in Puerto Rico generally find US$300 - US$400 per week to be sufficient for expenses, such as meals, and in-country tours.
  • Any cancellations or changes within 14 days of a volunteers start date is subject to a minimum 25% late change/cancellation fee
  • Airport pick-up
  • Accommodation
  • 24/7 in-country support
  • In-country program orientation
  • Pre-departure support from your Program Manager
  • Personalised preparation tools, guides and check lists
  • Access to IVHQ’s preferred insurance and flights partners
  • Certificate of International Volunteer Service

Learn more about what's included in your IVHQ Registration Fee and Program Fee.

  • Meals
  • Transport to and from your placement each day
  • Return to the airport when your program finishes
  • Flights
  • Visa (if required), travel insurance (mandatory), vaccinations, criminal background check.
  • Personal spending money for snacks, laundry, public transportation, drinks and leisure activities during your free time.

Check what's required to visit Puerto Rico

Safety and support

Safety and support with IVHQ

Safety and support

IVHQ follows best practice and industry-leading health and safety procedures, which are regularly reviewed and optimized as part of the B Corporation recertification.

  • All volunteers encouraged to complete our interactive pre-departure training.
  • All local teams trained on best practice volunteer management & First Aid.
  • All IVHQ programs are required to adhere to IVHQ's Risk Management Policy.
  • All volunteers have access to 24/7 in-country support from our local team.
Learn more about IVHQ's safety

Essential country information

Essential country information

Capital San Juan
Population 3.68 Million
Languages Spanish, English
Currency US Dollar (USD)
Time zone UTC-04:00

Weather and climate

Puerto Rico has a tropical climate with warm to hot temperatures throughout the year. The average top temperature each day is around 85°F (29°C). Easterly trade winds can cross the island year round. Puerto Rico’s rainy season is from April to November, and the dry season is from December to March. The temperature in San Juan, where our program is based, varies very little throughout the year and can be very humid.

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How to get started

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Pay the Registration Fee to secure your place and upgrade your MyIVHQ account
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