We at the Olancho Aid Foundation believe education is a decisive tool for addressing issues of poverty that affect the daily lives of Honduran citizens. Our schools empower students to instigate social change by imparting quality education and encouraging open-minded thinking. Volunteers are essential to this mission as they bring diverse perspectives and skills to our classrooms. Each day, students learn about the world and their role in it. There is nothing more rewarding than being a part of that journey.
We seek volunteers who share our passion and wish to be a part of this mission. If you have a desire to teach, have a love for children, and are motivated by Christian values, we invite you to learn more about volunteering with the Olancho Aid Foundation.
Our primary need is for full-time teachers in our bilingual school system, which is comprised of both an elementary and secondary school. Volunteer teachers in the elementary school may work with students from pre-K to 6th grade and can expect to teach one class of students in several different subject areas, such as math, reading, and science. Volunteer teachers in our bilingual high school work with students from 7th to 12th grade and can expect to teach one general subject across several grade levels. We do our best to match a volunteer’s preferences with his or her final assignment, though volunteers should approach their assignments with flexibility.
Responsibilities as a teacher across all grade levels include preparing and giving lessons, evaluating student performance, and participating in school-wide activities. All classes taught by foreign volunteers are given in English, and volunteers are not expected to make accommodations within their lesson plans for the language barrier.
We accept volunteers for shorter time commitments in our schools as needed. Short-term volunteers may fill full-time teaching positions or they may be accepted to serve in other capacities depending on their specific abilities. Ultimate acceptance is dependent on the skills of the applicant, the current needs of the schools, and available housing. Applicants should communicate with the volunteer coordinator to understand how they could best be of service to our mission.
The Olancho Aid English Immersion Day Camp is an opportunity for students attending bilingual schools to maintain their levels of English through the summer vacation. We seek enthusiastic volunteers to serve as camp counselors who will lead activities for students at the elementary grade levels with a focus in sports, dance, art, and academics.
Though the primary need is for volunteers in our school system, we are open to individuals who can serve the Foundation in areas outside of education. We especially seek skilled professionals who may offer expertise in specific areas of non-profit management such as law, accounting, marketing, or engineering. These positions are considered on a case-by-case basis. Ultimate acceptance is dependent on the skills of the applicant, the current needs of the Foundation, and available housing. Applicants should communicate with the volunteer coordinator to understand how they could best be of service to our mission.
Service Abroad FAQ’s
OAF has had volunteers ranging from single college students to married couples and experienced professionals. Most of our volunteers are recent college graduates, both from education backgrounds and other areas of study.
Olancho Aid is a Catholic organization that attracts and welcomes volunteers from a variety of backgrounds including non-Catholics. Please keep in mind that as a volunteer for a Catholic Foundation, we expect all to carry themselves accordingly in our schools and the Juticalpa community.
We have had volunteers are from all over the U.S., as well as Canada and Spain. The greatest need is for native English speakers to teach in our bilingual schools.
On average, we welcome between 7-10 long-term volunteers yearly. Short-term volunteers are accepted based on qualifications and available housing. We have accommodations available for 7-10 summer camp volunteers.
During the interview process, we will assess an applicant’s experience and level of comfort working with various age groups. Once the interview process is complete and a volunteer is offered a position, our school principals take into consideration both the individual’s strengths and the needs of the school when determining placements for the school year.
Applicants from other fields will be considered on a case-by-case basis. We will compare the skills an applicant can offer with the Foundation’s current needs. In the past, we have had volunteers work in the main office in marketing, accounting, development, and recruitment.
We also have 8-12 mission teams from schools, churches, and social groups that visit for 7-10 days to serve in various capacities. See Mission Teams for more information.
Short term, long term, and summer camp volunteers utilize a large home near the center of Juticalpa. The house has running water, electricity, indoor plumbing, wireless internet and furnishings. It also has 2 kitchens and 4 bathrooms.
For volunteers making an 11-month commitment, OAF provides about $350/month (depending on the exchange rate). This amount is plenty to live in Juticalpa and volunteers use it to purchase food, pay a small monthly utility bill and miscellaneous other expenses such as toiletries, clothes, taxis, etc. Some live frugally and have enough extra to travel or save.
Volunteers making a 4 to 10-month commitment will be given a stipend to cover the living costs mentioned above. Summer camp volunteers are provided with a small weekly stipend that should cover meals during their time in Honduras.
Safety of our volunteers is of highest priority to Olancho Aid. We require all volunteers to sign a safety agreement that details specific policies and procedures both for living in Juticalpa and travel outside of the region. The current political and social climate in Juticalpa has made crime a minimal concern for our volunteers. However, our leadership keeps a close watch on community happenings and security precautions will be implemented as necessary.
Honduras is a low-income country with a high crime rate. Drug and gang related violence are a concern in large cities like Tegucigalpa, La Ceiba, and San Pedro Sula. Increased police and military presence have been in place in Juticalpa for the last several years to combat drug trafficking in the region.
Like in many cities, crimes of opportunity may be the biggest safety concern for our volunteers. We ask volunteers to be aware of their surroundings, to avoid unnecessary risk, and be mindful of possessions they carry with them or leave in the home. Walking around during the day is generally safe, especially in the city itself. More desolate areas should be approached with caution. Volunteers should not walk alone in the evenings.
There is a public hospital in Juticalpa as well as many private medical clinics.
Please check with your insurance provider to find out if you are covered abroad. Olancho Aid will provide assistance and coverage for minor illness and injury that can be treated at local private clinics. We require volunteers to purchase an international travel policy that includes coverage in the case of emergency evacuation.
Olancho Aid recommends consulting your physician as well as the Centers for Disease Control website at least THREE MONTHS PRIOR to traveling to Honduras to get current recommendations for immunizations and preventative medications.
The closest airport to Juticalpa is Tegucigalpa Toncontin Airport. Tegucigalpa is about 3 hours away by car or bus. Major airlines to consider are Continental, Delta and American Airlines. Purchasing round trip flights are recommended as proof of return is required when boarding. When booking your ticket to Honduras, we request that you choose a flight arriving before 4 PM.
For teaching, fluency in Spanish is not considered necessary, as it is expected that you will be speaking as much English as possible in the classroom. However, it is highly recommended that you acquaint yourself with basic phrases and verbs in order to communicate with other Spanish-speakers at school and in the community.
Juticalpa is located in central Honduras, in a valley of the Sierra de Agalta Mountains. Central-southern Honduras is characteristically warmer and drier than the tropical north. The rainy season extends from May to November and is referred to as “winter” by Hondurans, temperatures may dip to around 50F in the early mornings, but generally a high of about 80F is reached by midday. March, April and May are the hottest months of year, with temperatures that can reach highs around 105F.
Yes! We offer second year placements for volunteers who excel during their first year.
OAF long-term volunteers are usually eligible to have the student’s loans deferred. It is the responsibility of the volunteer to go through the proper channels with their lender to request a loan deferment.
Juticalpa does not have a large tourist industry, so visitors tend to be noticed in the community. Foreign women, especially, draw the attention of male Olanchanos who are very generous with piropos (flirtatious catcalls, kissy faces, or hissing noises). The best way to combat such attention is to ignore it, or simply acknowledge them with an “adios.” It is rare for male attention to go past catcalls into anything threatening. Most female volunteers would characterize it as merely annoying.
Honduras as a country does not actively promote tolerance for the LGBT community. While OAF as a foundation has a non-discrimination policy for all employees and volunteers, the small community of Juticalpa can be hostile towards openly LGBT persons. Olancho Aid takes every precaution to keep all its volunteers safe, however volunteers should be aware of discriminatory attitudes in the Honduran society as a whole.