Volunteer in Jamaica for the experience of a lifetime. There are Opportunities to make a difference, life changing experiences, and thrilling adventures. It is your chance to touch, feel and see the 'Real Jamaica.'
New and Exciting Ways to Volunteer
Yes! We offer a variety of NEW AND EXCITING WAYS TO volunteer. You can teach in schools, be a Sports Coach, work in an orphanage, work with a building maintenance team, or help in a Community based Organization. These programs are suitable for students in college, high school, university, youth looking for work experience, individuals, and families seeking to bond and work together.
As you grow and develop during your volunteering trip you will feel like a bird which has just learned to fly as you will do things you'd never imagine yourself capable of.
The taste of real Jamaican culture03/25/2015How could this program be improved?
Honestly, i really enjoyed everything we did. My only suggestion would be to stay longer (we only had 3 days and then had to move on to our next destination as part of a school trip).
Isabelle Di Nallo03/25/2015How could this program be improved?
The only suggestions I could think of would be to purchase a hammock. You have a lovely home, but as we saw at the Bob Marley House, every good view of the mountains needs an equally as comfy hammock to relax with.
School Trip03/21/2015How could this program be improved?
Considering that our group only had one week, and that that travel time within the country is time-consuming, are there closer schools to establish relationships with in order to maximize the group's time?
Service Trip in Jamaica03/19/2015How could this program be improved?
I wish we had more flexibility with the excursions, had more dessert options, more money was donated to the orphanage/schools, and more events were planned for the evenings. I also wish the excursion costs were included in the upfront cost because it was too easy to run out of money, and it would make it a lot easier to manage our money. More activity examples for the orphanage and school would also be convenient.
University of Cincinnati Program Review03/19/2015How could this program be improved?
One thing I would do is include all the costs of the excursions in the general fee for the trip. I felt like I was coming out of pocket a lot while down here. I would have preferred paying the money beforehand, instead of coming and using money that I could have used on souvenirs.
Why did you pick this program?
Eliza: The University of Cincinnati's "Serve Beyond Cincinnati" student organization partners with both domestic and international organizations to volunteer and make the world a better place. We were placed with Jamaica Volunteer Programs to assist with working in an orphanage and primary school. I love children and service so I felt this was a perfect match for me...AND I WAS RIGHT! I loved the children so much!
What do you tell your friends who are thinking about going abroad?
Eliza: I encourage every single one of my friends to go abroad! In undergrad I studied in France and now this most recent trip has solidified my love for traveling. Even if one of my friends goes to an English speaking country I encourage them to go! I tell them traveling doesn't mean going to somewhere you don't know the language. Traveling is to experience a new culture, try something out of your comfort zone, and open your eyes to what the entire world has to offer.
What is the most important thing you learned abroad?
Eliza: The most important thing I learned abroad is openness and awareness of other cultures. I'm originally from a small rural Ohio town where there was barely any diversity. Being exposed to other cultures truly opened my eyes to the beauty of the world. But it also reminded me to count my blessings each day and to never take anything for granted.
What's your favorite story to tell about your time abroad?
Eliza: My favorite experience was the first day at the orphanage. We arrived in the morning while the children were eating breakfast. We were waiting at a picnic table outside and marveling in the fact that the children only had a swing set in a concrete playground. The orphanage was exactly how you see it in movies, but living the experience was a whole different ball game.
Once the children finished eating we heard a woman tell them to go outside so we prepared to meet them. But as soon as they saw us they ran to us, climbed all in our laps, grabbed crayons off the table, and it was absolute chaos!!! These children had no idea who we were but they loved us immediately. We were complete strangers in their lives but they could not stop talking to us, getting us to play games, and demanding attention. It struck me as profoundly beautiful that children with no possessions or toys or anything to call their own could love so immensely.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
About the provider
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.