Volunteering abroad gives you an opportunity to teach children, support wildlife or marine conservation or animal rescue, participate in construction work, or provide support to staff within childcare centers, Volunteer Inn Mexico has volunteer opportunities to suit all interests and many skill sets.

Volunteers working with childcare and youth mentorship programs provide much needed love and attention to children and adolescents from varying backgrounds. Many charity organizations in Mexico lack paid staff and funding or local volunteers. Our volunteers provide children and adolescents with individualized attention, love and kindness. Speaking Spanish is helpful, but not a requirement for these programs. Communication barriers are virtually non-existent between the children/adolescents and volunteers. They always find a way to communicate.
Volunteers working with children provide much-needed support to childcare organizations in Merida, as well as assistance with seasonal programs the Institute of Modern Spanish hosts in small communities outside of the city. Our volunteers work with a wide variety of programs, including shelters serving children from difficult circumstances, free nurseries for single mothers, and after-school and summer-activity programs. Childcare programs work with children between the ages of 3 and 12. Volunteers plan small-group activities to activate children’s mental development, creativity and physical coordination. These activities can include handicrafts, songs, games and free play. Childcare volunteers must be willing to spend time planning activities using the limited resources available in these placements.

While child care programs focus on early childhood development, our mentorship program offers volunteers an opportunity to work with adolescents in group homes. Volunteers serve as a role model for the adolescents, teach them valuable skills, and help them understand behavioral expectations in society. Volunteers assist with daily tasks and/or provide specialized classes of their choice. Teaching English is highly recommended for this project, as it helps the teenagers develop professional skills needed for entry into the workforce.

If volunteers have additional skills or hobbies, such as dance, music, photography, sports or art, they are welcomed to offer these types workshops as well. Volunteers in this program work with in either a boy’s shelter or a girl’s shelter where youth are vulnerable. The teenagers in these programs find volunteers trustworthy and worth looking up to. They share their experiences, learn about other cultures and broaden their horizons. Volunteers also help them in the process of learning how to act and present themselves in the world. The goal is, when they leave the shelter, they will have the confidence and knowledge to do the best they can in their future endeavors.

For people with disabilities and the elderly living in Mexico, life remains a challenge. Abuse and neglect are common. Publicly funded institutions fall short of meeting all needs. Private institutions and NGOs provide care and support to make up for the lack of institutional oversight and funding. Volunteers aid these organizations by bringing energy, love and dedication to help local staff in local caregiving projects.

Volunteers in caregiving projects work in shelters and clinics for the elderly and/or for the physically and mentally disabled. Our programs make up for lack of staff to give individual support to the residents and patients. Volunteers assist local staff with daily activities invigorating residents’ and patients’ mental and physical health. Volunteers are welcome to bring their own workshops and creative ideas to the projects. Additionally, volunteers assist with feeding patients and helping with physical therapy, and most importantly, giving residents and patients the love and attention they need.

Our Special Needs Project in Mérida welcomes volunteers with open arms. Volunteers work alongside local staff in a structured learning center and/or in residencies for adolescents and adults with physical and/or mental disabilities. Some residents are institutionalized because they have been abandoned by their families. The work with this project includes helping teachers with daily operations and classroom maintenance, going on outings with residents, or overseeing simple activities with small groups of students.

This home. Pastoral de Amor, is run by a religious order and volunteer work can involve assisting with fundraising efforts to benefit the residents. These residential sites are funded solely by donations.

Volunteers should come with open hearts, patience and creativity. They are invited to bring their own workshops for the residents - in music, dance, and art, for example. Volunteer Inn Merida hopes to assist limited institutional staff and personnel with assistance - from education and mental development - to physical therapy and creative arts. Volunteers support specialized attention residents need and often lack. Volunteer tasks include helping with daily operations, preparing food, serving meals and cleaning. Many residents require physical therapy that is given on-site and take classes in basic skills.

Elderly care programs coming soon to Volunteer Inn Mérida! Contact us for more details.

The English language is widely used in all economic sectors in Mexico. Employees are expected to know English in technology, tourism, business, communications, humanities, sciences, and social services. English language proficiency is one of the most important school subjects for Latin American students. Unfortunately, many schools and educational programs have little to no English lessons in their curriculum. Students need charismatic English teachers to not only teach them, but to spark their interest in the language, and inspire them to learn and continue their studies in the future.

Although experience teaching English is not a requirement of these placements, teachers must be patient and willing to work with others. The volunteer must create weekly lesson plans to keep the students on track with their studies and attend a weekly meeting with an experienced TEFOL-certified staff member to review the upcoming week’s lesson plan and reflect on the past week’s lessons. Basic Spanish is helpful to communicate with the children and take disciplinary action when needed.

Volunteers can expect to work in-and-around Merida with public schools, non-profit English language-learning programs, and after-school tutoring programs for low-income communities.

Because Merida is located in a warm climate, classes at public schools are generally taught early in the morning. Some after-school programs are a few days a week in the late afternoons and evenings. During summer holidays volunteer teachers participate in summer programs hosted in libraries located throughout Merida and in our English language summer camp at the Institute of Modern Spanish with adolescents from local shelters.

These programs normally don’t have learning materials for the volunteer to work with, but our sister school, To fill in the gap, the Institute of Modern English, our sister school, has a library of teaching material available to be copied and used. Volunteers build lessons based on the learning needs of the class and lesson plans left by previous volunteer teachers. Volunteers also collaborate with each other to prepare materials, create activities and play language-learning games with the students.

Volunteers work with public schools, non-profit English language-learning programs, and after-school tutoring programs for low-income communities in the Bacalar Municipality.

These programs normally don’t have learning materials for the volunteer to work with. To fill in the gap, our sister school, the Institute of Modern English, has a library of teaching material available to be copied and used. Volunteers build lessons based on the learning needs of the class and lesson plans left by previous volunteer teachers. Volunteers also collaborate with each other to prepare materials, create activities and play language-learning games with the students.

Volunteer Inn implements a program of global significance, carried out on a local scale. Volunteers work with Interlocking concerns - those related to global climate change, deforestation, ocean acidification, diminishing biodiversity, environmental degradation, and depletion of fresh water reserves. Each initiative depends on research, remediation and educational efforts carried out on a locality.

In our environmental conservation placements, volunteers will work with prominent institutions and agencies concerned with a unique range of issues in the region. Volunteers work closely with local staff and students. Depending on the local problems, volunteers will work on programs as diverse as reforestation, maintaining nurseries or growing endangered local plantlife for the purpose of reintroducing species into the local ecosystem. Volunteers will collect and analyze organic material, take water samples, monitor local flora and fauna populations, and participate in educational programs aimed at raising consciousness of environmental conservation in the local community.

The Maya Agriculture and Native Construction project provides volunteers a one-of-a-kind opportunity to live and work in the beginning stages of a sustainable organic farm and ecological center. The center is located on the banks of the second largest freshwater lagoon in Mexico. Volunteers will learn about permaculture, ecological construction, environmental conservation, and sustainable living. If you volunteer, you will assist with a thoughtful project in an area threatened by climate change and ecological burdens of tourism. Volunteers will receive supervision and direction with 24-hour support and guidance. Our local team has years of experience in volunteerism, horticulture and construction in the Yucatan Peninsula. In brief, you’ll be in good hands.

Maya agriculture work includes establishing forest paths, labeling natives plants, building irrigation systems, sowing and sorting seeds, monitoring wildlife around the lagoon, digging and replanting indigenous plant species, and developing plant beds in forest clearings by using methods of composting. The Native Construction project will focus on building permanent structures to house a research center and accommodate future volunteers. Volunteers will work side-by-side with local Mayans using ancient indigenous technologies and native building methods - using mostly natural materials such as wood, palm leaves, and mud.

Volunteers will live in tents on the picturesque banks of the Bacalar Lagoon [see map]. The campsite is rustic and includes a small kitchen to prepare meals, outdoor bathrooms, and a dock with access to the lagoon for swimming and bathing. The project site has access to the main road.

In their free time, volunteers will be able to explore the local town of Bacalar, which has a population of 12,000. Bacalar is an increasingly popular destination - located adjacent to the Maya Riviera, 30 minutes from the city of Chetumal, which sits on the border between Belize and Mexico and has a mall and movie theater. Bacalar is about one hour from Mahahual, a very beautiful beach town on the edge of the Caribbean Sea. Volunteers can take advantage of the center’s location on the Lagoon to swim in the fresh waters of the lagoon, go on trips to local freshwater cenotes and smaller Mayan ruins, and, hopefully, practicing their Spanish with the local community.

We use the term “Maya Agriculture” to describe a process of food production encompassing the following principles:

  • The application of ecology to the design and management of sustainable agroecosystems.

  • A whole-systems approach to agriculture and food systems development based on traditional knowledge, alternative agriculture, and local food system experiences.

  • Linking ecology, culture, economics, and society to sustain agricultural production, healthy environments, and viable food and farming communities.

  • The Maya Agriculture Project provides volunteers with a unique opportunity to work on sustainable farming and reforestation within rural, contemporary Mayan communities. Volunteers should be prepared to work hard, get dirty and be flexible with the tasks they are assigned.

    This work is very rewarding and educational, but can be tiring - so volunteers should be in good physical shape. Day-to-day tasks can include maintaining gardens, sowing seeds, producing compost, harvesting and processing produce, building irrigation systems, labeling native plants and trees for educational purposes, building rudimentary structures, and replanting indigenous plant species. Volunteers seeking further interaction within the community may be able to participate in childcare, teaching English, or teaching any other craft in which they have competence. The growers on all placements go out of their way to provide recreational and educational opportunities to the volunteers, including outings to local cenotes (sinkholes), touring local landmarks, and attending local cultural events.

    ***Please note that this project has a minimum stay requirement of two weeks and a one-time surcharge of $65USD to cover the training and resources in this project.

    This program gives volunteers a unique opportunity to work with a variety of activities with the Yucatan’s most prominent research institutions. Volunteers work side-by-side with local staff, other volunteers and students from all over Latin America.

    Volunteers help maintain, to their full potential, plant nurseries, gardens and greenhouses dedicated to the reintroduction of endangered, indigenous plant species. Volunteers participate in fieldwork and laboratory work aimed at gathering data to assess the health of the Yucatan’s natural environment; and to assist with educational programs, conservation projects, and recreational activities for the community. These programs often lack sufficient grant funding or government financial support, so volunteers’ help is essential to fill the labor gap in their research and educational programs. The day-to-day work varies according to the needs of the institutions, the season of the year, the number of volunteers available, and the level of education and relevant experience the volunteers bring to the program. Please note that there is a two-week minimum requirement for Environmental Research placements.

    Construction and local infrastructure renovation provide much-needed assistance in the communities. Volunteers in this project work alongside local residents in construction projects to build new structures, improve civil infrastructure initiatives and renovate existing buildings. Most construction projects directly support the agencies and institutions where volunteers work. This includes shelters for children and adolescents, schools, NGO projects, community centers, and cultural centers. It may also include native construction projects, where volunteers build ecologically-friendly structures using organic materials to support our Maya Agriculture projects. The specific tasks of volunteers vary depending on the community needs, location, and the various phases of construction.
    Construction and local infrastructure renovation provide much-needed assistance in the communities that volunteers work in. Volunteers in this project work alongside locals in construction projects to build new structures, improve civil infrastructure initiatives and renovate existing buildings. Most construction projects directly support the placements where volunteers work, this includes shelters for children and adolescents, schools, NGO projects, community centers, and cultural centers. It also includes native construction projects, where volunteers build ecologically-friendly structures using organic materials to support our Maya Agriculture projects. The specific tasks of volunteers vary depending on the community needs, location, and the various phases of construction
    Although the attitude towards providing proper care to domestic animals is slowly changing in Mexico, there is still a major problem with cats and dogs being abandoned on the streets. The city of Mérida does not have the resources needed to take care of these animals. As a result animals are often euthanized. In response, a number of non-profit organizations have taken over the responsibility of rescuing these animals. The goal of these non-profit organizations is to find people to adopt pets. Volunteers work alongside the limited local staff to feed, refill water bowls, bathe, help with disease prevention, walk, and show love and attention to socialize the rescues for adoption. Volunteers also work to keep the grounds safe for the rescues– this may include raking leaves, cleaning cages, and helping with general the maintenance of the shelter.
    Local non-profit animal shelters in Mérida also focus on raising awareness of the ethical treatment of animals, bettering their conditions and reducing the levels of overpopulation of stray dogs and cats. These non-profits encourage people to take care of their pets through permanent campaigns of education and health and promote social values such as empathy and respect, and forge alliances with sensitive and responsible citizens to take action and make a real change. Volunteers may assist at fundraising events, school visits, and attractions where pamphlets can be distributed. In addition, these organizations provide free or low-cost mass spay/neuter clinics periodically throughout the year. Many helpers are needed when these clinics are offered.