The Emiliani Project is seeking volunteers to join us on our first group mission trip to Medellin, Colombia, April 6th to 27th. We will be organizing a variety of mission activities to help with the construction of our new orphanage and work with the children we support. Mission volunteers are welcome to join the group for all, or just part of the date range. This trip will offer a once in a lifetime experience to work directly with at-risk children; and to see first-hand what it is like to do charity work in a foreign country. Here are some answers to some likely upfront questions. Please contact us if you want to learn more.
What will I be doing on the trip?
Construction. We have three buildings at the site of our new orphanage that are in need of renovation. We will also be breaking ground on the new construction to include building two new classrooms that will be used by our kids. Volunteers will we able to participate in some or all of our construction activities under the supervision of our construction team. You can be a part of the solution for these kids.
Working with orphans. The Emiliani Project currently supports more than 150 orphaned and abandoned children in the Medellin area. Volunteers will have the opportunity to spend time with the kids, help orphanage staff with their duties, assist in day care and classrooms, and just spend time having fun with the kids. We plan to organize BBQs and dances on the weekends! These kids have few, if any, family. They are in need of a lot of love and attention.
Working with schools. Our charity partner in Medellin, Fundacion Gente Unida, operates five schools in the city for at-risk children. Volunteers will be able to tour the schools, help out in classrooms and even teach classes. Many of these kids have never seen an American in real life. These kids are deprived of most things that you or I take for granted, so the experience of meeting and working with you is one they will remember for a lifetime.
Do I need to have certain skills?
No. There is absolutely no experience needed to help. The Emiliani Project team will work with you to find the right activities for you. The trip will be planned and supervised by our team, so that your experience will be both safe and rewarding.
Will it be safe?
Yes. This mission trip will be guided by two Emiliani Project board members: Mr. Jordan Reece and Mr. Chuck Navarrete; as well as our entire support team in Colombia. We will oversee all of the above activities. If you decide to do other things, we’ll help you plan them, so we’re sure you’re safe.
Do we travel as a group? Pay travel costs as a group?
No. First, we will make a list of all volunteers interested in going. Then, volunteers will be invited to get together as a group before we go to talk about the trip and work out the details in person. For those not able to attend in southern California, we will work with you individually to coordinate your travel plans. The Emiliani Project team will provide you with recommended airlines and travel information to assist you with your planning. We will educate you on everything you need to know, from visa/immigrations/customs information to what to pack. We will even coordinate your in country transportation. Each volunteer will be responsible for paying for his/her own personal travel expenses.
Where will I stay in Colombia?
It’s up to you. There are basically three options: 1. Hotel/hostel in Medellin (at your own expense). 2. Free accommodation at the construction site (we have a newly renovated building complete with clean beds, showers, kitchen, washer/dryer). This location is 30km south of Medellin. 3. Free accommodation at the orphanage (ideal if you want to work with the kids 24/7). This location is 30km north of Medellin. All sites are safe for all. You can do a combination of all if you choose.
Do I have to travel during the April 6th to 27th dates?
No. Volunteers all have different constraints and not everyone will be in Medellin at the same time. The Emiliani Project staff will be available any time during the April 6th to 27th window. However, if you wish to arrive before or leave after these dates, we can work with you to coordinate safe volunteer time with our Colombian partners.
Who is paying for the construction?
Donors. Volunteers will only pay for airfare, food and any hotels or tourist activities. The Emiliani Project will begin a fundraising campaign between now and April to raise the money needed for renovation and construction activities. We will encourage all of our volunteers to help us find donors to make pledges toward the construction, but it is not mandatory to participate in fundraising.
Can I also see the sites?
Of course. We have a complete list of tourist activities that we can provide you. And, we know many trusted, English-speaking local guides that can help you plan safe and exciting sightseeing trips.
Where do I start if I have more questions or want to volunteer?
Contact Chuck Navarrete at: [email protected] or (760) 470-0425. Mr. Navarrete can answer your questions and/or add you to our volunteer group list. Also, visit our Medellin Travel Guide page for basic information on getting to Medellin, Colombia.