My experience at Casa de Los Angeles Community Centre was fantastic. It really opened my eyes to the work that people can do for others, and how sharing knowledge, skills and love is so important. I was only there for a short time, however, it was truly enriching. The founder, Donna, is a very inspirational women, full of wisdom and love. At the time, there was a great group of volunteers from America and Australia, and we were able to spend time together and get to know each other and learn from our experiences.
The day care centre has many classrooms, all different ages. During my time, I assisted the teachers in classes, learning activities and at meal times. Meal times were my favourite, as it was a chance to bond with the staff and children. They are so adorable, you will fall in love as soon as you meet them! The school itself is so well maintained and colourful just like the staff. They are lovely and open their arms to volunteers.
The volunteer house is so great! It has a great open kitchen and a large living area which is colourful and clean and has everything you need. There is a large open outdoor area where you can play ball or sun bake with a book.
San Miguel is a bright, captivating city full of culture. I was there in November and there were two fiestas in two weeks! Amazing. A great way to taste the local culture!
I would recommend basic and if possible intermediate Spanish language skills to ensure your time is valuable to both the staff and children. I would also recommend bringing small stationary and gifts from your country of origin to share with the children.
I was there in 2012, so I am sure things have changed. However, I would suggest more educational programs of different topics - for example, healthy eating. As a dietitian, I feel this would be important and it would be great as there is a kitchen on site. It would be a good opportunity for staff to be involved in healthy eating practices and teach the older children this too to share with their families.
As there are volunteers from all different professional / education backgrounds, I am sure there would be other valuable programs volunteers could run. It would empower the volunteer even more, and it would expand the skills and knowledge of the organisation