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Volunteer and Work with Children in Mexico

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience


  • Program Administration


  • Living Situation


  • Community Impact


  • Health and Safety


  • Social Life


Volunteering in Mérida - an incredible month

I volunteered in Mérida for 4 weeks on the childcare program, and I do not exaggerate when I say I had the best month of my life. I now have best friends scattered all over the world and an incredible connection to a group of teenage boys in Mexico that I will have for the rest of my life. Each day for four weeks I woke up with a purpose, feeling needed, excited to go to placement, and surrounded by people I love.

Mérida is a beautiful, slow-paced and safe city, all the people are so nice and welcoming. All the volunteers are cool, like-minded, laid back and interesting. We had come from Australia, Germany, England, Ireland, Scotland, Israel, Morocco, Mexico, and the US. The weather is hot as hell. Literally it is 90 degrees every day with humidity that makes it feel like 110. Everyone was in a constant state of sweat all the time, but it's cool cause we were all sweating together. I am 100% convinced that all food in Mexico is better than in the US. I'm constantly amazed by how incredible every single meal tasted.

Orientation at Institute of Modern Spanish, like all of the pre-trip support from IVHQ, was outstanding. Very informative and thorough. My first two weeks I volunteered at a summer camp in a small Mayan town called Xcuyún, which doesn't have access to the national and State summer programs so that's why IMS created it. We drove about 15 minutes outside the city every morning to hang with the kids from 9:00-12:00. They were age 4-12, and unsurprisingly so adorable and fun. We basically played indoor games (aka crafts) and outdoor games (DuckDuckGoose, sharks and minnows, etc) each day. The volunteers were responsible for planning the activities and providing/purchasing any materials for that.

I loved the volunteer house (though I also enjoy living simply and having people around all the time). The volunteer office is just around the corner, and in between the volunteer house and the office is a gym which I joined for the month. We're also only a 20 minute walk from a big mall and a 30 minute bus ride from el centro. It's a pretty great setup.

On the weekends and some afternoons we explored Yucatan! I did Chichen Itza, cenotes, Celestun, Playa del Carmen, the Mayan museum, a bike adventure in Mérida, the Sunday markets in el centro, etc.

In the second half of my month, my volunteer placement changed. I worked another summer camp from 9:00-1:00 with teenagers who had come from a background of physical and sexual abuse. One of the most impactful discoveries I made on this trip is that it is not just people who lack money that need help. There are also people who lack love, or attention, or support, and they need that gap filled just as much as poor individuals.

So that’s my trip to Mexico; a very brief summary for a very amazing and life changing experience. It was very hard to leave and I certainly hope I return. This was my third volunteer trip with IVHQ and they are 3 for 3 – they are always always outstanding.

  • International Volunteer HQ responded to this review October 06, 2016 at 8:04 PM

    Hi Marissa, What a great review! Thanks for taking the time or write such an excellent and in-depth summary from your time in Mexico – we are sure that this will be really helpful to our future Mexico volunteers. We are so grateful to have you join us for your third volunteer program and your compassion shines through in the way you write about your volunteer placements. Thanks for inspiring us and we hope to have you join us for a fourth trip next year!