I really wanted to volunteer with an organization that actually needed 'hands on the ground'. I do feel that the work I've been doing here is necessary and important. I'm finishing up week 3 of my 10 week stint in Granada with La Esperanza and while there are challenges, it has been a wonderful experience so far. I spend my days tutoring 1st graders in reading, writing, and math and while the going can be slow, nothing beats the hugs and the smiles. Above all these kids need self esteem, and working with them every day really does give you the opportunity to see that evolve.
I will also say that I am impressed with the quality of the other volunteers here. With so many (we have nearly 40 at the moment!), you'd think you'd run across more bad eggs. But really everyone here is wonderful, the housing is basic but nice, and the community fairly vibrant and supportive. Granada is a great place to base out of for weekend travel, but it's also a city that stands up pretty well on its own.
I would definitely recommend La Esperanza to others looking for a fulfilling long-term, low-cost volunteer placement!