North America is a beautiful continent that is home to the USA, Canada, Mexico and 21 other countries in the Caribbean Sea. From the fast paced, technologically advanced countries of the USA and Canada to the beautiful, tropical environments of Cuba, North America offers versatile environments in living styles, weather and governments.

North America’s countries face challenges just like any other continent. There are many programs available to help improve the lives of both humans and animals.

Conservation

With the increase of human population and its needs, many natural ecosystems have suffered. From loss of space and introduction of non native species, the United States has seen a dramatic decrease in the population of native species. Volunteers are needed for surveying land, tagging animals, park upkeep and educational promotions.To help out with conservation efforts there are many programs available. For example, Mexico's sea turtle conservation efforts include helping to run hatcheries, beach clean up and helping newborn sea turtles to the ocean after hatching.

Community Development

In the southern parts of North America several countries, including Costa Rica, El Salvador and Nicaragua, are in need of community development volunteers. Members of indigenous tribes and poorer villages are striving to become sustainable communities. Volunteers can help grass-root communities by educating them on agricultural methods, construction and fostering education for the younger generations. The Peace Corps website is a great resource tool to learn about the different areas you can help community development. For volunteers looking for shorter term opportunities, there are several organizations that can help coordinate a volunteer opportunity with local grassroots projects.

Teaching

Throughout the southern part of North America, there is a growing need for English teachers. By volunteering to teach English at a public school, orphanage or through an exchange program, individuals can help empower young students and adults. The chances for career success and stability are enhanced when citizens become bilingual. This allows them to communicate with people from other countries, attend universities in other countries and build global relationships between other businesses and foundations.

Many volunteer opportunities do not require a TEFL certificate. There are programs available with fees that include the cost of housing and daily needs during the duration. Otherwise, perhaps you will find an opportunity during your travels.

United States

The USA's wide landscape offers volunteers the ability to choose from volunteering with land or sea mammals. While your volunteer efforts might take place in the great wilderness, you could also find yourself in a city to help present data to a foundation. The USA is home to a diverse ethnic population in large cities. The southern states have been influenced by the Spanish and French cultures and you can enjoy hearing the Creole language in New Orleans.

Mexico

Mexico is the most populated Spanish speaking country in the world. It is known for its traditional songs and dances, such as the Jarabe Tapatio. With Mexico’s beautiful beaches you can enjoy the ocean and the beauty of Mexico that helped to establish many of its resorts. Mexican food is popular and can be found in several other countries at established restaurants. Holy Week takes place between Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday and schools and government offices close. The most famous Passion play during this week takes place in Iztapalapa in the east of Mexico City. Arriving before this major religious event will take preparation as many hotels quickly fill up.

Cuba

With the new travel bans recently lifted, Cuba has become a huge country of interest. With it's rich culture and delicious food, it's clear why people are excited to visit. Also, because it's borders have been shut for so long, there are plenty of volunteer opportunities that people can become involved in, including teaching English and community development.

Helpful Tips

The cost to volunteer in North America varies greatly between countries. The United States and Canada are expensive countries to live in comparison to Costa Rica or Guatemala. Costs for living in the USA or Canada can be kept to a minimum by adequately packing proper clothing, finding shared housing and learning to shop for items on sale.

Other countries might offer hostels, cheap hotels and careful preparation may include finding an apartment share. If you truly want to embrace a cheaper lifestyle and the culture, live life a local. The differences in costs of living between your home country and your volunteer destination should be researched before making a final decision.

Vaccinations and travel alerts will be different between the USA/Canada and other parts of North America. You can generally find recommended vaccinations and alerts on government websites.

Contributed by Heidi Cruz

Volunteer Programs in North America

Displaying 31 - 45 of 671 programs
Cross-Cultural Solutions
Cross-Cultural Solutions: Volunteer Abroad in Guatemala
Guatemala
9.65 •20 reviews

Guatemala has been one of the strongest economic performers in Latin...

Cross-Cultural Solutions
Cross-Cultural Solutions: Volunteer Abroad in Costa Rica
Costa Rica
9.3 •27 reviews

More than 1.1 million Costa Ricans live in poverty - that’s 1 in every...

Amigos de las Americas
Amigos de las Americas - Costa Rica: Palmares
Costa Rica
9.44 •16 reviews

It's the best of both worlds! Become part of a new community and live...

Amigos de las Americas
Amigos de las Americas - Discover AMIGOS: Costa Rica
Costa Rica
9.5 •2 reviews

Get a taste of Costa Rica and AMIGOS with this amazing opportunity to...

Amigos de las Americas
Amigos de las Americas - Discover AMIGOS - Panama
Panama
10 •3 reviews

Discover AMIGOS is a two-week group volunteer experience for ages 13...

Jamaica Volunteer Programs
Volunteering Abroad in Jamaica
Jamaica
9.44 •94 reviews

Jamaica is a diverse destination that is perfect for travelers and...

Global Volunteers
Volunteer on Blackfeet Reservation in Montana
United States of America
9.73 •11 reviews

In the high plains just east of Glacier National Park, live members of...

Amigos de las Americas
Amigos de las Americas - Costa Rica: Perez Zeledon
Costa Rica
9.5 •4 reviews

Spend the first half of your time abroad getting to know your host...

Plan My Gap Year
Plan My Gap Year - Volunteer in Costa Rica from $435
Costa Rica

PMGY offers 1-week to 3-month volunteering opportunities local suburb...

Love Volunteers
Volunteer in Childcare and Development with Love Volunteers - From just $199!
Africa
9.75 •4 reviews

Love children? Want to help develop and shape the next generation? We...

Love Volunteers
Make a REAL difference in Mexico - From just US$229!
Mexico
10 •3 reviews

Join Love Volunteers in Mexico for the volunteer experience of a...

Foundation for International Medical Relief of Children
Become a Global Health Volunteer in Costa Rica
Costa Rica
9.5 •12 reviews

FIMRC's Project Alajuelita, located about 30 minutes from the capital...

Foundation for International Medical Relief of Children
Become a Global Health Volunteer in the Dominican Republic
Dominican Republic
9.92 •12 reviews

Located only 12 km from the Haitian border, FIMRC’s Project...

Global Works
Puerto Rico Cultural Exchange and Service Adventure
Puerto Rico
9.67 •3 reviews

Roll up your sleeves this summer for a hands-on service trip and...

Global Works
Puerto Rico - Custom Group Travel & Volunteering
Puerto Rico
10 •3 reviews

Support Hurricane Maria Relief efforts in Puerto Rico! Partner with a...

New Programs in North America

Looking for something new? Check out these new volunteer programs being offered in North America
  • Global Works
    Puerto Rico Gap Program: Service & Adventure
    Puerto Rico
    New Program

    Join us on this short term gap program to Puerto Rico for 18-22 year...

  • Love Volunteers
    Make a REAL difference in the USA with Love Volunteers!
    United States of America

    Volunteer in the U S of A with Love Volunteers! Support marginalised...

  • Apoyo Guate
    Support Guatemalan Communities from afar!
    Guatemala

    Find out about local initiatives in Guatemala that are looking for...

  • Global Volunteers
    Volunteer on Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota
    United States of America
    10 •2 reviews

    Experience life in an American Indian community on the plains of South...

  • Global Volunteers
    Help Children Learn in Española, New Mexico
    United States of America

    Volunteer with this new program, started in 2020, to help elementary...

  • Change Volunter
    Turtle Beach Conservation, Costa Rica
    Costa Rica
    10 •1 review

    Volunteers help patrol the beach to deter poachers, prepare a world...

  • Hillside Health Care International
    Hillside Health Care International-Rehabilitation Director
    Belize

    Hillside Health Care International is a non-profit collaborative...

  • Global Work & Travel
    Sloth & Wildlife Rescue Sanctuary | The Ultimate Volunteer & Travel in Costa Rica
    Costa Rica
    10 •1 review

    Try and think of an animal cuter than a sloth… Can’t do it? We couldn...

  • The Camphill School
    Live-in Volunteer in Neurodiverse Boarding School Community
    United States of America

    The Camphill School, outside of Philadelphia, PA, offers volunteers an...

What People Are Saying

My daughter wanted a Spanish immersion program and the environmental sustainability focus of the Amigos PZ program caught her eye. As a parent, the 5 month training leading up to departure was key to...

Costa Rica Beach

It's been 5 months since I got back from Jalova, and don't I miss it! It was just nice being able to live with bare fundamentals...stuff like cold showers, vegetarian meals, unflush-able toilets...

Me putting my name on the wall in Jalova

I had the privilege to serve as a Project Supervisor alongside the rest of the summer staff team and I would describe this opportunity as a once in a lifetime experience. I built the most amazing...

  the community La Sierra displays the meaningful connections that we made with the Ticos.

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