Volunteer in Jamaica With Children and in the Community

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About

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.

Questions & Answers

Reviews

94%
based on 93 reviews
  • Impact 9.2
  • Support 9.6
  • Fun 8.5
  • Value 9
  • Safety 9.7
Showing 76 - 90 of 93
Default avatar
Marie
9/10

Student service learning trip to Jamaica

I had an amazing time in Jamaica with this program. We had a ton of fun doing day trips to places like Blue Mountain and Hellshire Beach. However, the time we spend working with the children at Mannings Hill Primary school was just as much fun. It was wonderful to see how excited the children were to see the volunteers come in, and the cultural exchange was great. We didn't have much direction going into the schools which was challenging, but we found ways to serve them regardless. I absolutely loved my time in Jamaica because the people were so welcoming and helpful.

How can this program be improved?
I would definitely like a more concrete plan to work with in the schools so that I knew I was making a difference. It was a little frustrating because I wanted to work hard and help, but I felt like I was mostly just entertaining the students about half of the time.
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Anne
9/10

Retired Educator Volunteers

I spent two weeks at Smokey Manor just outside Kingston, Jamaica. My friend and I chose this guest house because the host seemed very genuine in the on-line video. When we arrived we were warmly greeted at the airport and for the next two weeks chauffeured back and forth to the school where we volunteered. We also enjoyed several trips to tourist attractions that were planned by Jamaica Volunteer Programs. Host Maureen checked on us daily and was interested in our successes and compassionate with our difficulties.

We quickly discovered the differences between schools in Jamaica and schools in Canada. In Jamaica, the classroom noise level is much higher; the educational resources are extremely sparse; and prayers and devotions are very much a part of the school day.

I had the opportunity to give eleven presentations on a children's book I wrote, called, "The Boy Who Was Bullied" which tells the story of Canadian John Peters Humphrey, who wrote the draft copy of the "United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights". The Grades 4-7 students quickly identified with young John Humphrey who was bullied as a child and were fascinated to learn that young John moved beyond the childhood bullying to spend his adult life working for human rights around the world.

The students were curious about us. One Grade 5 student asked, "Please, Miss, is your blood dark?" I replied by asking him if he cut his finger what colour would his blood be, and he answered, "red". I told him that if I cut my finger, my blood would be red as well.

One skit I did with the students was based on one of the articles of the "Universal Declaration of Human Rights" - "All human beings are born free and equal, regardless of skin colour". I played the part of the "white-skinned" person who was not included in the football game because I did not have black skin like everyone else. That gave me, for the first time in my life, a chance to play the part of the minority. One of my lines was, "I was born with white skin and although I look different from you, I have hopes and feelings just like all of you." The skit ends with one of the students saying, "Alright, you can play with us. The colour of your skin doesn't matter." These daily interactions with students were the highlight of my trip!

At Smokey Manor we were surrounded by young people in their early twenties and my friend and I are over 65. This was not a problem although sometimes they stayed up too late and could have been quieter. I enjoyed their vitality and their passion for being involved in a service project. At the same time, they were fascinated with the fact that my friend and I had met at university fifty years ago and have remained good friends ever since. We all have an interest in helping others and enjoying an adventure at the same time.

I highly recommend coming to Jamaica through the Jamaica Volunteers Program. Be prepared for the friendly nature of Jamaicans and leave some of your Canadian expectations behind - like an unlimited supply of water for long luxurious baths and showers!

How can this program be improved?
I would have preferred to have had a direct connection with the school before I arrived in Jamaica.
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Patty
10/10

Volunteer Teacher

As a "mature" volunteer, my overall teaching experience here in Kingston was fabulous. The primary and junior high school I was placed at was welcoming and the teachers/administrators were supportive. They were very appreciative of my work with the children. I am so happy I chose the Jamaica Volunteer Programs. My stay with Maureen Wright-Evans, owner of her beautiful Smokey Manor house on top of the hill was absolutely wonderful in every respect....stunning views, authentic Jamaican food, everyone was so warm and friendly here. I truly felt like part of the family. The tours Maureen provides were magnificent as they enable you to experience the true beauty and interesting culture of this amazing country. Do go on as many as you can! I highly recommend this program - you will be well taken care of here!

How can this program be improved?
I had no time to visit the local market...so much to see, so much to do in two weeks.
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Katrine
8/10

Volunteers in medicine

Through participating in health fairs, visiting different clinics and meeting patients we have gained practical skills and learned about the challenges that Jamaica is facing. We are happy about our placement.

How can this program be improved?
The contact and information flow could have been better before we arrived in Jamaica.
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
SarahB
10/10

Sweet Jamaica

My trip to Jamaica was one of the most amazing experiences in my life. I've never traveled to a place that was actually more beautiful than the pictures. The magnificent green mountains took my breath away. Smokey Manor was even nicer than expected, and the warmth of the Evans family quickly made it feel like home. I've heard many bad things about safety for tourists in Jamaica, but I never felt unsafe at all during my trip. The Evans family took care of me as if I was one of their own.

I was fortunate to get to volunteer at the Alpha Boys Home, SOS Childrens Village and a home for the elderly. It was rewarding to meet Jamaicans in such a wide spectrum of ages. I especially enjoyed working at Alpha because the boys were so happy just to sit and talk with us and learn about each other. Also, the history of Alpha School band and how it has made an impact on Jamaican music and music worldwide was really fascinating. Since returning home, I've decided to sponsor 2 of the boys I met there. Receiving their letters always brightens my day.

As far as the tours, I went to Hellshire Beach, Dunn's River Falls and Bob Marley's house. The falls were an amazing once in a lifetime experience that everyone visiting Jamaica should see. I enjoyed the beach because unlike most beaches in other parts of Jamaica it was not filled with tourists, mostly just locals enjoying their holiday. I loved drinking fresh coconut water and chewing on sugar cane while I soaked up the sun. Bob Marley's house was a moving and emotional experience for me because I am such a fan of him and his music. It was wonderful for me to just sit in his favorite spot under the mango tree, knowing he had done the same so many times before.

Jamaica is such an amazing place. When you think about all the music and other culture that is known throughout the world came from such a small country. Jamaica is smaller than the metro area of the city I live in, but the impact it has made on the world is huge. I feel like everyone should get a chance to visit the real Jamaica, outside the typical tourist resorts. Jamaica Volunteer Programs is the best way to do this and give back at the same time. I'm already planning my next trip, and I can't wait to get back to see all the wonderful people of Jamaica.

How can this program be improved?
It's hard to think about anything I would change about the experience. I wasn't a big fan of eating goat, but at least I can say I've tried it now. One recommendation I would have is to include the return trip to the airport in the cost of the package. It was a little confusing to myself and others why this was not part of the package. Overall it was a truly wonderful trip.
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Rosie
9/10

Jamaica Volunteer Experience

As a leader of the VISION program at the University of St. Thomas, I collaborated with the Jamaica Volunteer Program long before we stepped foot in the beautiful mountains of Kingston. I have to say, from start to finish, Maureen and the rest of the Evans' family and staff have worked relentlessly with our group to deliver the best, most complex and culturally enriching experience of our lives.

Some of the most memorable moments during our two week stay at Smokey Manor happened when we put down the itinerary and set our clocks to island time! The Evans' family always helped us feel at ease, pushing us to set our busy lives aside and enjoy life stories and adventures from the land they call home.

The Evans' family never failed to accomodate our every need. From scheduled itinerary stops to sporadic trips to the Devon House ice cream shop, the family did an excellent job managing our time to fit in as many new experiences as possible.

Overall, I commend the Evans' family for its leadership, passion, and mission during our stay and throughout the entire Jamaica Volunteer Program. I would highly recommend this experience to anyone looking to escape from their comfort zone, try authentic Jamaican jerk chicken, serve as a volunteer to those in need, and experience the beauty of this vibrant family and the greater community of Kingston.

How can this program be improved?
Because we were a preliminary group, I figured we were bound to hit a few bumps in the road. Based on our experience, I would suggestion stronger communication between the sight contact and volunteers so day-to-day planning is understood the same by all. Also, for future travelers, I would recommend bringing plenty of snacks, because meals sizes are often on the conservative side. Finally, I would suggest that both groups communicate any and all trip costs /before/ departing for Jamaica as many participants on our trip were left with little to no extra spending money.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Caitlin
10/10

Two Weeks to Last a Lifetime

Traveling to Kingston, Jamaica to spent two weeks with my university group in Smokey Vale at the Evan's family's beautiful Smokey Manor has been the most memorable experience to date. I came to Jamaica as a student in the VISION program from the University of St. Thomas from St. Paul, Minnesota (USA). I cannot believe the opportunities I have been presented with, and Maureen (our program director) encouraged us to experience every aspect that we could. When we went to the Charleston Maroon Tour to learn about the history of the Jamaican Maroon slaves who combated the British, Maureen would not let me leave the Buff Bay River without experiencing the cool water of the river. "You can't leave Jamaica without it!" She was right and that was one of the coolest tours we had here! Okay, all of the tours were cool.

Other than the Maroon tour where we learned how to dance, eat, and use herbs like the Maroons, we also ventured to various parts of Jamaica to see the various sides of the island. We met a Rastafarian man who taught us about his alternative use of herbs, did building maintenance at the Ozanam Home for the Aged, volunteered to teach at Manning's Hill Primary School, renovated a library at Salvation Army's orphanage, and entertained or tutored children at Salvation Army and SOS Children's Village orphanages. I feel so lucky to have contributed to these various programs and places, and I think that I have also been entirely impacted myself.

Realizing how much we have at home in comparison to some of the rags that the children of the orphanage have is still flabbergasting to me after spending two weeks in and out of my comfort zone in Jamaica. I feel so lucky to have been been able to help, and I hope that we have left a little insight on the culture of USA along with learning SO MUCH about Jamaica!

Our home was wonderful to come home to at night with the Evans family. It was made even better (if at all possible) with the hospitality of Louise and Jerry, our housekeepers and cooks for our two week stay. We ate like kings and queens learning about so many different Jamaican dishes. Maureen welcomed us with open arms into her house, literally as she hugged us as we stepped off the bus. She never failed to make us smile, and we were so happy to see her in her element when speaking to people and especially in her own home church. She was clapping and praising God as we found so different from churches back home in the States. We loved it! Omar was our paparazzi and inside man for our duration of the stay, and we felt safe with him with us for the tours and the service experiences. Marlin was great to unwind with at the end of the day, and he had a lot of fun with us I think too :). Audley was the best driver in Kingston and we loved to be able to have our car rides with him every morning and afternoon. Maureen and Audley have a beatiful home with amazing kids, and we could not have asked for a better stay.

Thank you so much to the Evans family and Jamaica Volunteer Programs! We couldn't have had a better experience, and we love you for it!

How can this program be improved?
With a group bigger than 10, sometimes it was hard to feel like we were getting enough food. Breakfast was often smaller than we were used to and we would sometimes be hungry afterwards.

Also, we would have benefited from knowing all of the tour costs before arriving in Jamaica so that we could have budgeted how much money to bring with us. We often had costs that came up unexpectedly, including lunch that we did not know was not provided. Having ALL program costs for the trip included in the program fee would have alleviated a lot of stress on the trip.
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
nate.tysk
9/10

Jamaican Volunteer Experience

This program was ideal for my group of 11 looking to not only experience the wonderful land that Jamaica is but also the diverse culture that Jamaica holds. The leaders of this program are organized, flexible, and most of all excited to share true Jamaica. Our experiences throughout our 2 week stay (in our amazing accommodations with a breathtaking view) varied from teaching at elementary schools, playing with children at orphanages, living a day in the life as a Maroon, soaking up the Jamaican sun on the beach, and much much more. This experience provided an intimate insight to Jamaica that can only come from a family run business like this as well as providing a literal taste of Jamaica in the meals prepared. Even though I only spent 2 weeks in Jamaica I can say with no doubt that I got the most valuable experience I could have gotten by utilizing this program. If I had the opportunity to do it all over again I would say yes in a heartbeat!

How can this program be improved?
It's difficult to think of negatives to the program, but I would encourage any group or individual to think critically about exactly what outcomes you are looking for so the program can be adjusted and refined for your group. To make this experience as fruitful as it can be you should have a clear intention of where you would like to end up after the experience. The coordinators are very accommodating in making this the best experience possible if you have specific goals.
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Nielsen0140
10/10

Jamaica Volunteer Program Review

Every day we were met with a new experience in Jamaica through the Jamaica Volunteer Program. Our host, the Evans family, was extremely gracious to drive our group all across Jamaica to volunteer and experience the local culture. They answered all of our questions, met our every need, and ensured that we were completely immersed into the culture. We could not have asked for more!

Our first volunteer experience was at the Manning's Hill Primary School. Our team helped tutor first, second, and third graders there and assisted with after-school activities. We learned much about the Jamaican school system and were able to interact with Jamaican children, exchanging bits and pieces of our culture with one another. The experience was exactly what our group was hoping to have.

After volunteering at the primary school, our team traveled to the SOS Children Home in St. Andrew. There we interacted with the energetic and sweet children who lived there. The following week we visited another orphanage run by the Salvation Army in St. Andrew. Our team assisted the site in cleaning and reorganizing their library while also sharing in fun activities with the children.

Throughout our entire two-week stay, we were greeted with a delicious breakfast prepared for us before we left for the volunteer site. The food consisted of ingredients grown locally and the dishes were all traditional Jamaican foods-- allowing our team to experience real Jamaican cuisine. After breakfast, the Evans family kindly ensured that we arrived at our work site safely and on time. Our team then worked at the site for much of the day until we were driven back to Smokey Manor for a delicious, home-cooked meal. One night we were even able to cook with the Evans family and prepare a Jamaican meal on our own. It was quite a treat for us and we thoroughly enjoyed cooking and eating a traditional Jamaican meal.

Our team was able to experience a wide variety of sites and activities during our stay. The Evans family ensured us that we would experience the real Jamaica-- and we definitely did! Learning about the Maroons, climbing Dunn's River Falls, and spending a day at Hellshire Beach were just a few of the exciting activities and sites our team was able to participate in.

From the moment we stepped down in Jamaica, the Evans family was extremely kind, warm, and welcoming to our team. We shared laughs and exchanged information regarding our respective countries and cultures, giving our group a better understanding of the people and country that we were visiting. We were even able to take a walk with Maureen, the founder of the Jamaica Volunteer Program, and tour the neighborhood-- learning much about the neighborhood and surrounding cities. Furthermore, her two sons who still live in Jamaica freely answered all of our questions and were eager to serve our group in every way. It was quite a pleasure and privilege to get to know them both.

Our group was extremely satisfied with our experience through the Jamaica Volunteer Program and would recommend the program to anyone interested in volunteering or participating in service learning in Jamaica. The program is very flexible and creative in their approach--ensuring an experience that will surely satisfy your desire to experience the real Jamaica. We could not have asked for a better experience and are sad to leave!

How can this program be improved?
Our team had to adjust to "Jamaican Time" a little bit, but became quite comfortable with it at the end of our stay. Our wake-up times and such changed occasionally but is to be expected with varying circumstances. There were no major problems during our stay
Yes, I recommend this program
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Anna
8/10

Jamaica Volunteer Program Review

Being a volunteer in Jamaica has been a life changing experience. I volunteered at a school and orphanage as well as took day trips to popular sites in Jamaica such as Dunn's River Falls and much more. The atmosphere is very friendly and family oriented. Going home, I have many experiences to remember fondly as well as information about a new country. Great experience.

How can this program be improved?
If I had to change one thing, it would be to have more evening programs available.
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
My
10/10

VISION- Volunteer: My Life Changing Experience

From being on this trip, I can pleasantly say I've had one of the best experiences of my life and that wouldn't have been possible without the support, help, and accommodations from the Evans family. From very first day of the airplane when we were greeted with the smiles and hugs and lots of love from Mrs. Evans to the continuous hugs we received from the people and children we served, being here was truly a rewarding experience.

For me specifically, being able to complete the adventure of Dunn River Falls and experiencing the exciting and uplifting way to show praises to the Lord at the Pentecostal Church, I truly had the most amazing time in Jamaica because I was able to serve wonderful people and children who will never leave my heart and I was able to challenge myself and experience things I never in a million years thought I would.

How can this program be improved?
For me specifically, the only thing I would change is to have a more detailed itinerary of our daily activities. To some this wont pose as a problem but for me who is kind of a control freak, knowing everything about what my day consist of is somewhat important.
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
AlexandriaM
9/10

A Jamaican Adventure

My experience with this program has been wonderful. The Evans family is extremely helpful and loved showing us around, providing us with information, speding time with our group if we wanted/needed and of course fed us wonderful food. The service part of the trip was very rewarding. We worked at Mannings Hill Primary School, the SOS Orphanage, an old folks home and The Salvation Army Orphanage. We worked on a wide range of tasks including: helping children with homework, teaching children lessons, playing games with the kids, painting, yard work, speding time with residents and cleaning out/organizing a library. It was 2 weeks full of a variety of tasks and it was great to experience it all.

I would say the best part about the trip was the Evans family. They are extremely welcoming and helpful. I felt very safe and extremely happy that I had locals with me to help show me the ropes around Jamaica so I didn't feel so "touristy" and felt like a true Jamaican. I could tell that the goal of the family was to ensure that we truly had an amazing experience and learned everything that we possibly could in the two short weeks that we were here. This was my first volunteer trip abroad and I am so happy I got to spend it with my school group and the Evans family in Jamaica.

I would recommend this program to anyone who wants to see the real Jamaica, volunteer at some wonderful places and who wants some good, authentic Jamaican food.

How can this program be improved?
There were some days where there was a lot of confusion about what was going on and what the plan was, but we were the trial group for a service learning program and I anticipate this will diminish quickly. Of course it was easy to go with the flow as well as the Evans family was with us the whole time.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Colleen
9/10

Mante

The truth is, it's hard for me to compare my experience in Jamaica with anything I've ever done. I woke up to the sun shining on the mountains for two weeks straight. I was living in a place where snow in January is as absurd as no cheese curds in Wisconsin. I truly lived in paradise, and I loved it.
I traveled with a service group from my University, and didn't quite know what I was getting myself into, but I was prepared for the ride of a lifetime. The Evans family made my stay in Jamaica feel just like home. The food is exquisite, the rooms are very hospitable, and the view from Smokey Manor takes your breath away. It was truly a blessing to be able to stay with the Evans family.
The main reason why I came to Jamaica was to do service. Jamaica Volunteer Programs definitely gave me that opportunity. We worked at a primary school in the hills, at two different orphanages and at a nursing home. I was pushed hard at all of the sites that we worked at, but I loved it. The kids received us all very well and we even got to teach lessons to the kids at the school. At the orphanage it was great to be able to be a kid again, run around and play games. Working at the nursing home was mainly physical labor, but we also had time to interact with the residents, which was a time that I will never forget.
While I was there, I also had the opportunity to explore the culture. I got to go to the beach, which in itself is a wonderful endeavor. Learning about the herbs, climbing a waterfall, swimming in a river, and learning traditional Jamaica dances were all typical encounters in Jamaica. The "excursions" that we went on were wonderful, but it's the everyday Jamaican life that I think I will remember the most. The people on the street, the vendors, the sunrises, the friendly faces, the crazy rides up into the mountains; these are things that will be imprinted in my mind forever.
This trip has changed my life for the better in so many ways. The faces of the children that I met will be on my heart forever. I thought I went on this trip to change lives. Maybe that happened. Only time will tell and only God knows. But this trip changed my life and because of that I am blessed.

How can this program be improved?
I loved this trip, but I would change a couple of things. The communication between the Evans family and our group seemed to be off. We didn't always know what time things were happening at, or what exactly we were supposed to do throughout the day. Part of not knowing what we were doing was exhilarating, but it would have been nice just to have a more concrete idea. I also thought I had to use more money while I was in Jamaica than was told to me. We had to pay for some lunches, which wouldn't have been a problem if I knew more before hand. Overall it was a great experience, but I would just change a couple of things.
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
AllisonGengler
10/10

A JAMAICAN ADVENTURE

Coming to Jamaica was a fabulous thing for me I was able to escape the rat race of the states and just get away. Our adventure here was filled with a great variety of volunteer opportunities, including helping out at a primary school with daily lesson plans and answering a variety of questions about America. The kids were all so kind and sweet and it was a great experience. We also visited two orphanages where we played with kids and helped them with homework. The days were long but the children's energy definitely was easy to feed off of. I truly did enjoy my time with this program and with the awesome Evans family. I can honestly say that I made a difference to at least a few people’s lives in Jamaica and i would definitely recommend this program to anyone no matter what age. I am a college student and have a lot of energy so I worked more with younger kids, but let’s say you don't have as much energy, there are various other places to volunteer. This program is for all ages so no worries

How can this program be improved?
We came in a bigger group and i felt that at certain meals there was not enough food for everyone to have enough energy for the day. Buying snacks was essential for us.
Also we felt communication about the additional costs of field trips and such was not communicated well enough and not all of us had enough money to afford all of those things. So it made it sort of confusing borrowing money and such.
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Tina
9/10

Land I Love

Jamaica Volunteer Programs is a well accommodating and diverse program. The program directors continuously catered to our needs by creating a programs specific to our goal of service learning and cultural exchange. Throughout the week, a variety of service sites as primary schools, orphanages and nursing homes provided insight to the community and people. Each week we were given a day off of service to immerse ourselves deeper into the beauties of Jamaican culture. From climbing the Duns River Waterfall to living a day as a historic Maroon, this program is full of adventure and spirit.
I especially enjoyed learning about natural medicine by a Rastafari Herb Man, rebuilding a library at an orphanage and of course, the food unique to this area.

I highly recommend this program to anyone who wants to learn about themselves and a new culture. You will receive the real taste of Jamaica through this program (it's wonderful!) The Volunteer Programs team is truly amazing and passionate about making a difference in their community. You will be welcomed with open arms!

How can this program be improved?
Well, I know we were the guinea pigs of this program but next time, include all trip costs in the package price. It was unexpected that we would have to pay extra for additional trips (we thought it was included in the total cost.) Also, communication of house rules, departure times, and day trip plans could be improved. We received different instructions from different family members which was confusing.
Yes, I recommend this program

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About Jamaica Volunteer Programs

We identify and offer programs where travellers can volunteer, intern or study abroad while immersing in the ‘Real’ Jamaican culture at affordable prices.

When you book with us you will be treated as if you are a relative visiting from overseas and...