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Volunteer in Jamaica With Jamaica Volunteer Programs
Allison Gengler is from St. Paul, Minnesota she is currently a freshman at the University of St. Thomas studying business. She has a passion for volunteering, and a fascination with learning about other cultures.
Highlights: The highlight of my trip was working with all the kids you can learn so much from an elementary aged child. They will tell you their favorite things about Jamaica what they know about America, what music they like. The kids had so much energy and we always knew they were going to bring a smile to our face everyday, It was the hardest part of the trip leaving those smiling kids faces after you had built relationships with them.
Morning: A typical morning in Jamaica was beautiful we would wake up at around 6:50, just early enough to run out of our rooms to catch the breath taking sunrise come out from behind the mountains. After watching this we would run back to our rooms get ready real quick and head down for a delicious breakfast. Our breakfasts consisted of fresh fruit, porridge and sometimes fish! You may think fish for breakfast is a little bit strange but once you're there you just embrace it and it tastes great.
After breakfast we loaded up in the van and headed to our work site. My favorite place we worked was at a Primary School, we arrived there and the kids would flock to us yelling our names and want us to walk with them to there class. In the group I traveled with their was 12 of us so we each got assigned our own classroom, I was with a vibrant and full of energy second grade class. I helped the students with homework and answered all of there out of the box questions about America! I taught them about seasons and about the differences in the culture, for example, how americans treat pets and animals compared to Jamaicans. They thought it was so fascinating. I taught them all day until school got out at 2:30.
Afternoon: At 2:30 we left when the kids left and we headed over to S.O.S. children's village an orphanage fairly close to the school, when we arrived again we were created by tons of bright smiling faces, these kids were so happy even with their current situation. We played soccer, danced, talked, and just spent time with all these awesome kids. We were able to make some great connections that we will never forget. We stayed at S.O.S. till around 5:30 then we headed back home to Smokey Manor for the night!
Evening: A typical evening in Jamaica was relaxing, we had very tiring days so it was very nice to get back to the manor and rest. We would arrive back and eat a scrumptious authentic Jamaican dinner and just hang out. The family we were staying with had two sons in their twenties so we were able to ask other people similar in age to us different cultural questions we would think of throughout our days work. We would also spend time as a group reflecting on the days work, and planning games and activities for the next day with the kids. We went to bed early most of the time, because we knew the kids expected us to be ready to go and full of energy and we wanted to deliver that!
Nathan Tysk is from St. Paul, Minnesota and currently works for the University of St. Thomas as well as attends classes for his masters degree in Educational Leadership. Nathan is a 24 year old male who loves travel, children, rock climbing, cooking, and sharing his faith in Yeshua.
GO: Why did you decide to volunteer with VISIONS in Jamaica?
Nathan: I was the staff advisory for a VISION trip comprised of 10 undergraduate students from a mid-western university looking to serve and learn from Jamaica and its wonderful residents. We we looking for a comprehensive program that would be flexible enough to allow us to focus on the desired values of service, simplicity, spirituality, community, cultural exchange, and justice issues as well as a program structured enough to provide a safe learning experience.
GO: Describe your day to day activities as a volunteer.
Nathan: Through this experience we had the opportunity to volunteer at two separate orphanages, a primary school, as well as a senior citizen home.
GO: What made this experience unique and special?
Nathan: Hands down, living with a true Jamaican family transformed this experience. To be able to have numerous direct contacts to ask questions of, learn about their lives, live where they live and eat traditional meals gave an insight into the culture that can only come from such a personal interaction.
GO: How has this experience impacted your future?
Nathan: I can boldly speak for the group when I say that all of us have a much clearer picture of what life is truly like in Jamaica. We may have only visited for 2 weeks, but the amount of quality time spent there investing and learning was extremely fruitful. Our days were busy and very enjoyable, but always learning and growing. Personally this trip has reinvigorated my heart to serve underprivileged youth in developing countries and here at home in America.
Further Information About This Program
About Jamaica Volunteer Programs
We are a volunteer travel company that offer packages to mainly colleges, universities, youth organizations and individuals who are looking to have an authentic Jamaican learning experience.
Our company's goal is to identify and offer volunteer programs in different locations around Jamaica at affordable prices where visitors to Jamaica can volunteer or Interns while immersing themselves into the culture
We partner with schools, orphanages and other Non- Profit organizations and make all the arrangements for volunteers to come to Jamaica. By doing this, we take the hassle out of volunteering and finding the right opportunities.