OUR MISSION: Para el Mundo provides meaningful service-learning opportunities in South America to underserved American high school students in the fields of education and medical aid. By fostering informative relationships with local universities, industry experts, and college/graduate-level interns, Para el Mundo works to create sustainable programs and safe environments for students to develop new skills while working in developing countries.
BELIEFS and VISION: “The world in which you were born is just one model of reality. Other cultures are not failed attempts at being you; they are unique manifestations of the human spirit.” ―Wade Davis
We believe that exposing public school students from struggling urban schools to other cultures and allowing them to selflessly give back to these developing communities will help immensely in building their character, expanding their worldview, and preparing them for a successful future. By using university students to solidify our programs and analyze our own success, we will also offer invaluable hands-on learning opportunities to interns interested in careers in public health, non-profit management and international relations.
We believe that we can support our high school and university-level volunteers as they create sustainable programs in each developing community where we work, which will then be turned over to the people indigenous to these areas. We hope to make our services obsolete, as we transition the responsibilities of operating Para el Mundo’s projects to local local workers seeking meaningful employment.
We believe that our volunteers will learn a great deal from these experiences and from their interactions with other cultural ideas, but we also know that they will help educate others, both in their native country and the country they work in. When our volunteers return from their service-learning trip, they will be given the opportunity to be ambassadors for the program, at which time they’ll visit other universities and high schools to inform students of the opportunity.
LONG TERM GOALS: Presently, Para el Mundo USA is working solely with students in New Orleans, LA, connecting them with opportunities in Mancora, Peru. Interns from Tulane University are working to systemize existing programs in Mancora in order to prepare them for the arrival of volunteers from Tulane and other universities in January of 2012. These interns will solidify programming in Mancora to prepare the programs for high school students from New Orleans. These interns in Peru will also serve as mentors to these students that are traveling to Peru for two weeks in June.
When all of these volunteers are finished with their service-learning, they will be trained in the Para el Mundo Ambassador Program. Through this program, they will get the opportunity to inform other public high school students and universities about the opportunities available in educational and medical service-learning through Para el Mundo.
Based on the success of this principal year of volunteer programming, we hope to expand to other cities’ public schools and universities next year. After two successful years of programming in Mancora, Peru, we will also expand our options for volunteers to other countries. We will only offer programs in Latin American countries because we want to focus on developing volunteers’ Spanish language skills, as well.
Finally, we hope to offer high school students who have completed the two-week program the opportunity to return as college students to act as mentors to upcoming volunteers. When they come back as college students, they will have to work in a different developing community in Latin America because their projects will have been handed off to locals in that community and be locally sustainable at that point.