Amigos de las Américas

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Amigos de las Americas
FounderGuy Bevil Jr.
Location
Area served
Latin America
Key people
Sara Nathan, President and CEO
Volunteers
Over 28,000
Formerly called
Amigos de Honduras

Amigos de las Américas (or AMIGOS) is a nonprofit organization based in Houston, Texas with 25 chapters across the USA. The Vision of AMIGOS is "A world where each young person becomes a life-long catalyst for social change." AMIGOS works towards this vision by inspiring and building young leaders through collaborative community development and immersion in cross-cultural experiences.

History[edit]

AMIGOS was founded in 1965 when 29-year-old Guy Bevil Jr., youth pastor at River Oaks Baptist Church in Houston led a team of 181 teenagers and young adults into Honduras to administer polio vaccinations. The group took donations of supplies, recruited 36 doctors, and practiced administering vaccines in Houston. Many participants made the 1,500-mile trip by truck in order to ship the supplies into rural Honduras. The first summer in Honduras, volunteers inoculated over half a million people.

Upon their arrival home, Bevil and his group founded Amigos de Honduras, which grew to be Amigos de las Américas within the next year. Over half of the original participants applied to return the next summer. For the following two decades, AMIGOS focused primarily on administering vaccinations.[1]

Amigos Logo .jpg

AMIGOS has expanded to many different countries including Brazil, Costa Rica, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Uruguay, The Dominican Republic, Mexico, and Peru, though some countries do not currently have active projects.

Other founders recognized by AMIGOS are H. Kirby Atwood, Sr., Searcy Bracewell, Raymond Cook, Ed Frank, Jr., Carlos R. Hamilton, MD, Victor Huvelle, Mariann and John Marshall, Ed Morris, and Wilson J. Pais.

Today[edit]

Amigos de las Américas is a non-religious, non-governmental, non-profit organization based out of Houston, Texas. AMIGOS offers summer and gap programs for young people ages 13-25. After extensive training in the US, participants travel to Latin America where they live for anywhere between two weeks to nine months with a host family in a small community.

Participants are partnered with one or two other participants to carrying out health, education, and environmental programs, ranging from latrine construction to formation of youth groups to teaching environmental sustainability and dental hygiene. The programs are carried out in partnership with partner agencies, which have included Save the Children, Plan International and the governments of the various countries above. Asset-based community development is at the core of AMIGOS projects.

Each year, roughly 600 young people take part in AMIGOS various Latin American programs. Over 28,000 people have participated in the program since it began.

Program organization[edit]

The National Office of AMIGOS is still located in Houston and employs a small staff year-round to manage the programs. Sara Nathan is the President and CEO.

AMIGOS encourages returning project participants to take leadership roles within the organization. Each project (generally organized geographically and thematically) is led by a Project Director, who is aided by an Associate Project Director. Senior Project Supervisors and Project Supervisors oversee individual community projects and act as liaisons between Project Leadership Teams and participants in community. Alumni can also stay active by joining a local chapter board.

Chapters[edit]

State City
Arizona Phoenix
Tucson
California East Bay
Marin
Peninsula
Sacramento
San Diego
Santa Clara
San Francisco
Colorado Denver
DC Washington
Illinois Chicago North
Urban Chicago
Kansas/Missouri Kansas City
Massachusetts Boston
Minnesota Minneapolis/St. Paul
New Mexico Albuquerque
New York New York City
Ohio Kent
Oregon Portland
Texas Austin
Houston
Utah Salt Lake City
Washington Seattle
Wisconsin Madison

References[edit]

External links[edit]