The primary objective of both the short- and long-term volunteer programs at the San Lucas Parish is to make available to the volunteer a cross-cultural learning experience. We do not come to "help" but to "learn" and "walk with" the people of San Lucas. Through working alongside Guatemalans, volunteers and locals unite cultures to work in a culture of service. The ultimate goal is learning through sharing, and active accompaniment of the Guatemalan people in their daily lives.
Many high school, university, church, community, and youth groups come to the San Lucas Parish to volunteer at parish projects. In addition, individuals often come on their own to volunteer for a week or two and learn more about the work at the San Lucas Mission. Likewise, individuals wishing to come for longer periods may apply to become part of the long-term volunteer program.
High School, university, church, and community groups often come to visit the San Lucas Mission to volunteer, learn about the efforts in San Lucas, and participate in the cross-cultural experience the parish offers. Groups may spend most of their time working at sites, but the focus of a short-term trip to the mission should be to learn, understand and appreciate the local culture.
Through working alongside Guatemalans, receiving talks from community members, and observing the goings-on of the area, group members can learn about the richness of Maya culture, the work of the parish, and life in Guatemala. Although a week or two may only offer a glimpse into a different world, there is much to be learned about the turbulent and complex history of Guatemala, the Maya people, and the community development efforts of the parish.
Work: Short-term volunteers, after receiving an orientation and a tour of the projects, usually participate in projects associated with construction, reforestation, coffee processing & picking, stove-building, and similar tasks. Groups with several hands offer invaluable manual labor for ongoing projects; much of the work is physically tiring but, depending on the time of year and specific need, less demanding work is also available.
Potential groups are encouraged to apply online.
The experience of a volunteer at the San Lucas parish is focused on learning. In working alongside Guatemalans and accompanying them in their daily activities, volunteers can learn about the richness of Mayan culture, the work of the parish, and life in Guatemala. If accepted, volunteers are encouaged to consider six months.
Volunteers come to be a part of parish projects, form relationships in the community, and learn about the community development efforts of the San Lucas Mission. In being a part of this cross-cultural exchange, it is hoped that volunteers grow in their faith, and become more open, aware, and educated global citizens.
Work: The average day for a long-term volunteer will vary during the course of his/her time at the parish. Volunteers are encouraged to take part in various projects headed by the Guatemalan directors, including but not limited to reforestation, construction, coffee processing & picking, and water projects. Involvement in projects is largely up to the volunteer, but he/she may also be asked to help with timely needs and extra work.
Health care and school work are also potential possibilities after becoming familiar with the culture, community, and program directors; they also require proficiency in Spanish.
Potential volunteers are encouraged to apply online.
There are many medical groups that come to visit the San Lucas Mission to volunteer, learn about the efforts in San Lucas, and participate in the cross-cultural experience the parish offers. Medical groups spend most of their time working in outlying communities. Through working alongside Guatemalans, receiving talks from community members, and observing the local culture, group members can learn about the efforts of the parish clinic and the rural healthcare program, as well as the situation of healthcare in Guatemala.
Medical volunteers, after receiving an orientation and a tour of the projects, typically accompany local health professionals into outlying communities. Volunteering in the Parish clinic is typically unavailable.
Interested groups are encouraged to apply online.
The position is for one year and one year only. First two months include mentoring and training in preparation for the school year, including education about the Parish, our projects and philosophy, the history and culture of Guatemala, Guatemalan education system, and development and cross-cultural work. This training period is mandatory. Volunteer teacher may have the opportunity to observe classes and will get to know school faculty and staff.
The school year begins in mid-January and runs through October. The volunteer teacher will be responsible for teaching English to approximately 250 students in nine (9) different classrooms in the Parish primary school. There are three (3) sections each of grades 4, 5, and 6. Each section requires a minimum of one 40-minute class weekly. The volunteer will design lesson plans and be responsible for independently teaching and managing classes of 25 students at a time.
Travel Information: Up-to-date information about traveling to and from Guatemala can be found at the Department of State’s Guatemalan Travel Information Page.