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BLUE Missions

About

BLUE Missions is a clean water charity and non-profit organization headquartered in Miami, FL, dedicated to ending the global water crisis. Our mission is to connect communities to clean water and improved sanitation while cultivating a generation of global citizens through service driven travel. We are creating opportunities for people to find their purpose by volunteering abroad. Through powerful development work, authentic immersion experiences, and a 100% giving model, our beneficiaries, staff, volunteers, and donors are given the opportunity to discover their potential to make an impact.

Volunteer Abroad in the Dominican Republic and Hike a Mountain!

Ready to put your endurance to the test while helping to fundraise for clean water? Join us to Hike Pico Duarte, the Tallest Mountain in the Caribbean. You'll hike for 3 days with other volunteers, climb over 10,000 ft of elevation above sea level, and trek over 26 miles! At the end of our trek, we'll visit a community that has been given the gift of clean water and bond with the local families.

Founded
2010
Headquarters

5701 Sunset Drive, Suite 128
South Miami, FL 33143
United States

Reviews

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Daniela
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

If you're looking for an exciting way to get out of your comfort zone and give back at the same time, then BLUE Mission's Pico Duarte trek is the trip for YOU! When I decided I was going to trek the tallest peak in the Caribbean, I have to admit i was a little intimidated but, I had no idea that it would be such a memorable experience. I had the opportunity to connect with others who trekked with me as well as other people from all over the world who came to hike this incredible mountain. Along with the exhilarating feeling of reaching the mountain's peak, I was extremely happy that I was able to connect people with access to clean water by participating in this trip. Don't pass up on the opportunity to challenge yourself and help others. There is no greater feeling.

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Jill
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My sister challenged me to do this trip. I registered and was immediately embraced by the BLUE community thru a welcome meeting, training plan, meet-ups for training, as well as shopping and packing tips. The staff take care of you every step of the way. The trip is challenging but the reward of succeeding at it is amazing. I was so proud of myself and the people who trekked in front of and along side of me. This is an experience like no other. The friendships you form along the way are powerful. More importantly, walking the path that so many Dominicans make prompter me to realize I need and want to help people less fortunate. The water crisis is real and we must do our part to ensure everyone has access to clean water. Support BLUE for all that they do!

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Linda
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

This was such an amazing experience with such an amazing group of people. Pico Duarte, the journey and the people (both BLUE leaders and other participants) made this such an amazing experience. The trip was so well-planned from the moment I decided to do this, through the fundraising and trip preparation, during the trip and after. It seemed like every detail was taken care of - all I needed to do was let my friends know I was doing the trip, show up and then enjoy the hike. The BLUE group took all the stress out of it. Yes, it was physically challenging. I was not in great shape when I decided to do this. But the BLUE emails, facebook posts and instagram posts and the people on the trip carried me through. And I'm so glad they did! As I said an amazing experience. I will do it again and I highly recommend it to anyone of all ages.

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
Train more. I want to do this again and I feel if I had felt more confident with the physical challenge, I would have enjoyed the experience more than I did.
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Amanda
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

This experience was a serious game-changer for me! From the moment you sign up you are met with so much support and encouragement! The trip itself was amazing, our leaders were so informative and supportive and the guides on the mountain were so friendly and helpful. I felt very safe the entire time. The hike is beautiful and yes it is a little difficult but as long as you train beforehand it is do-able! I personally recommend packing electrolytes and some altitude sickness medication just in case! Also getting to visit some of the places where BlueMissions makes its impact was so rewarding and meeting the people who are directly affected by the water crisis was very humbling. I am eternally grateful for this experience and would recommend it to anyone!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Train! And make sure you bring some altitude sickness medication, just in case!
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Lucia
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The most incredible community of people who give you realistic preparation (even for beginners!) and support you before, throughout, and after your trek. Trekking Pico Duarte has been one of the most impactful experiences of my life because it was done in community. It’s not a regular trek where you typically don’t get the opportunity to do service as well. You get to trek the beautiful mountains of the Dominicans Republic in service of people who trek daily for water. If you ever wondered what the walk for water for many around the world may look like, now is your chance to make those steps count. The trek for clean water is one of the most beautiful exercises in reflection, empathy, and hard work. Trekking Pico Duarte was the most amazing way to start my New Year and I promise you won’t regret it!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Don’t be afraid of the distance or if you can’t keep up with a certain pace! BLUE does an amazing job of making sure everyone treks and their own pace. You got this!

Programs

Displaying 1 - 2 of 2
BLUE Missions
Volunteer in Dominican Republic | Pico Duarte: Trek for Clean Water
Dominican Republic
10 •7 reviews

Realize your passion for outdoor fitness. At the same time, make a...

BLUE Missions
Water & Sanitation Projects in Dominican Republic
Dominican Republic

Journey to the mountain towns of the Dominican Republic and live...

Alumni Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with verified alumni.

Lucia Reyes

Lucia is a junior at Spring Hill College majoring in Business. She joined the BLUE Missions family in 2015 and has served with them to help bring water and sanitation to rural communities in the Dominican Republic since.

Why did you choose this program?

The BLUE in BLUE Missions stands for building love and uniting everyone. I loved this program and BLUE because it was obvious the BLUE team and their programs reflect this message. They empowered me from the second I signed up to do something bigger than me, no matter how young or inexperienced I was.

I was able to fundraise for my first trip easily thanks to them. They were intentional about preparing me for the process and I learned about my role in the “cycle of service”. It made me realize that a service immersion non profit like BLUE was the only way I would feel empowered to do Pico Duarte. It was the program for me that would challenge me to do something I never had thought of before.

What did your program provider assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

BLUE Missions was very hands-on, I did little to no organizing. They help you out with a fundraising kit, schedule your flight and hold prep meetings (they can Skype or FaceTime you in if you can’t make them). They sent over a packing list, had and updates on where I should be training wise via email. They are easily accessible and answered any questions I needed.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

I highly recommend sticking to the training schedule they provide; it will be tough, but worth it! I trained minimally but focused a lot on cardio and I was okay. Don’t be afraid! It doesn’t matter if you run marathons every weekend or are a beginner like me: the beauty of the hike is that you can go at your own pace. Feel the fear and do it anyways!

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

It depends on what part of the hike you’re on, but BLUE gives you a detailed outline on their site. During the hike, we would have an early start, hike throughout the trail with a local guide and your group, see the most breath taking views, pause for light lunch or snack, and end at a camp site where you can reflect, eat, and prepare for the next day to come.

We were encouraged to reflect during the hike, which enhanced the journey for me tremendously, and you have ample opportunity throughout the day. You also get to visit a community BLUE has brought clean water and/or sanitation to, so you can see how your contribution has come to life in a community. It’s incredible and by far one of my favorite days on the trip because I was able to meet community members and immerse myself in their lives, their culture.

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

My biggest fear going on Pico Duarte was the physical demand of the trip as well as the fundraising component. BLUE Missions has the most dedicated team that squashed those fears for me with their support and reassurance. I had never done a hike of this caliber or thought I’d ever be able to do one. With their training guide, as well as awesome leaders who motivated me, I was able to go on an incredible hike with an amazing group of women.

Why BLUE Missions and not another hike?

This programm opened my mind to the possibilities we have to serve others. I never thought something as simple as a hike could provide families with clean water and sanitation. If you love adventure and would seek out a trip like this anyways, I think it’s an incredible exercise in understanding what the walk for water looks like for so many people.

If you never thought you could do something like this, look into this hike. If I could do it so can you. It challenged me to think bigger than me and when I came back from the trip, I was motivated to see how other facets of my life could be fused with service and I obtained an service internship in Bologna Italy, where I studied abroad this past semester. Grab a friend and sign up; you won’t regret it.

Staff Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with program leaders.

Nicole Aguirre

Job Title
Program Director
Nicole Aguirre is the Program Director for the non-profit organization BLUE Missions. In 2009, at the age of 16, Nicole participated on her first service trip to the Dominican Republic to construct a gravity driven water system in the community of Palma Herrada. She credits this experience to be extremely life changing and would lead her to find her passion of working with rural communities and students to make water and sanitation a reality for thousands of people throughout Latin America. In 2015, Nicole became the first full time US employee for BLUE Missions. Today, she focuses on the coordination and logistics for the organization's service trips and adventure treks. She has participated on over 35 service trips, leading over 700 high school and university students to construct water and sanitation projects in rural communities of the Dominican Republic.

What is your favorite travel memory?

At the top of my bucket list since I was a child was going on a safari in Africa. I had the opportunity to make my way to South Africa after graduating college a few years ago. Sitting on a safari truck and driving around Kruger National Park while observing the Big 5 animals was incredible and definitely one of my favorite memories in my travels thus far.

How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

A few days after graduating from the University of Miami, I started working for BLUE Missions. I had graduated Pre-Med with a degree in Exercise Physiology, but it was the non-profit sector where my passion truly lied. At the time, BLUE Missions was still a grassroots organization with a handful of volunteers and partnerships. I became the first employee we would hire to take us to the next level.

Throughout the years, I have really grown into my position. I've become a better leader, role model, and mentor to our volunteers. Although I didn't have much experience in non-profits or how to grow an organization, I have learned that, when you are really fighting for something you believe in and others around you can see that and they join you, you can really accomplish your mission. I am excited to continue to guide us as we grow the number of water and sanitation projects we are building, as well as increase the number of volunteers that we take with us on these projects.

What is the best story you've heard from a return student?

I've worked with hundreds of participants throughout the years and their experiences and stories with our organization always give me goosebumps. BLUE Missions was started to create a generation of global citizens who will go out and tackle the problems that exist in our world. We have an intern who has volunteered with us every year since 2013.

She will be graduating this May from college and, before entering law school, she decided that she wanted to take a gap year and work with us in the field. As an organization, you know you are doing something right when your volunteers return back year after year. We are excited to work with her and see what new ideas she can bring to our team to make our projects and trip experiences better.

If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?

I believe that everyone, at least once in their lifetime, needs to go on an immersion service trip. Although I have been on all of the programs we offer multiple times, I would still choose to participate on one of our water or sanitation service trips. When you live with a community for 8 days and you wake up with the roosters, work alongside of the community members to construct their project, and spend evenings playing dominos and listening to bachata, you really get a new perspective on life. You quickly learn that the things that you have been stressing out about back at home shouldn't be your main priority and happiness doesn't come from having everything. Also, working together with the locals to assist in the construction of a community-led project is a great thing to be a part of. By the end of the trip, you are no longer a stranger. You are a part of the community and their families.

I would also recommend our Pico Duarte Trek. If you are an adventure junkie, love hiking or just being outdoors, this trek up Pico Duarte is the program for you.

What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?

BLUE Missions is unique in that, as part of our dual mission to connect rural communities to clean water and sanitation, it is also our mission to cultivate a generation of global citizens through serve driven travel. We are not just immersing our volunteers into a community for a few hours to learn from the locals. We are living and working hand in hand with these communities and our employees on the ground to make clean water and sanitation a reality in just 8 days. Our volunteers do not get bused in from hotels in the city: they sleep in the local schools or churches on cots and are part of the everyday hustle and bustle within the community.

At the end of every year, we gather all of our employees from the US and the Dominican Republic for a nice little vacation after a full year of hard work and success. Watching everyone spend time together and enjoy each others' company is always one of my favorite moments of the trip. Even though we may not live in the same city or country and we may not see each other every day, when we are united, it's a big family reunion that exudes so much love and passion for each other and for our organization.

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

The biggest factor is always staying true to yourself and being authentic. When everything you do is with the right intentions, transparent, sustainable, organized and purpose driven, you will succeed. You must be authentic and follow your mission every single day. The day that you get side tracked or do something that goes against your mission is the day you are not being true to your self and could cause rifts within your organization.