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What is a typical trip like?
For a glimpse of a typical day on a volunteer trip, please watch our Service Trip Highlights video. From start to finish, you will be exposed to the realities of an abandoned child’s experience and we encourage you to come with a flexible spirit. We walk almost a mile with donations across the border, so it is necessary you are physically able to make this part of the journey. From the border we are taken by chartered bus to the orphanage. Once there we spend time doing activities with the kids and enjoy lunch together. Most children are seeking positive attention, so even if you don’t speak Spanish, be proactive and engage children in activities. Although you may be covered with dust and sweat by the end, you will also be filled with love and compassion!
Is food provided on the trip?
We share a meal at the orphanage, which is partially what the registration fee goes toward. We regret that we are unable to accommodate special dietary needs or food allergies. If either of these situations apply to you or someone in your party, please plan to bring your own food in a portable cooler. Kindly note that we are unable to provide a trip credit or discount even if you chose to provide your own food.
I have food allergies or special dietary needs. Will I be able to eat the food provided at the orphanage?
Since the orphanage typically prepares a meal for the children and our volunteers, we are unable to accommodate the special dietary needs of our guests. Please plan to bring your own food in a portable cooler if refrigeration is needed. Kindly note that we are unable to provide a trip credit or discount even if you bring your own lunch.
Are there any safety risks?
We believe that our day trips are no riskier than taking a family vacation to Mexico, however each volunteer must assess the potential risks for themselves.
Where do we meet?
We will meet up at 5137 Foothill Blvd, San Diego, CA 92109 in the Pacific Beach area. We meet at 8:00 AM for a briefing, pack and load, then carpool together to the border crossing. We return to the same location at the end of the trip.
What happens if it rains?
If it rains, our trip will still be on! The only time we will cancel is if the roads to the orphanage are damaged or become unsafe. We bring games and activities with us so on rainy days we can interact with the children indoors.
What should I bring with me on a day trip?
The most important item is your passport! You can also bring a small bag for your personal items, a water bottle, any medications or snacks you’ll need throughout the day, and a small amount of cash in case we have time to get tacos or churros.
What should I wear on a volunteer service trip?
Comfortable shoes are a must! Beyond that, wear comfortable clothing suitable for playing with children and helping around the orphanage. We ask that you dress modestly (avoid short shorts and crop tops) as we will be guests in a traditionally conservative culture. We do recommend dressing in light layers as Mexico is often warmer than San Diego. You will be outside most of the day, so bring sunblock, sunglasses, and a hat.
How much does the volunteer trip to Mexico cost?
We aim to keep our trips affordable for our volunteers, while ensuring we cover costs for the day (including transportation, lunch and supplies). Current pricing is $50 for adults, $40 for college students, $30 for youth, and $25 for children. These are subject to change, please register for an upcoming trip to verify trip-specific pricing.
Is there anything I should bring to donate?
Your registration details will include a list of suggested donation items you may wish to bless the orphanage with. In addition, we also post current donation needs on our social media accounts. Due to Mexican trade laws, we are unable to bring used clothes, shoes, toys, etc. However, we always accept the following items: Non-perishable food; Cleaning Supplies, Personal Care Toiletries, Art & Craft supplies; Rolling Suitcases.
Why is there a trip participation fee, and will I be able to write off the fee on my taxes?
Your trip participation fee covers goods (supplies and lunch) and services (transportation and visa processing). This amount is not technically a donation, and therefore is not tax deductible.
Do you offer trips for churches or workplace groups?
Definitely! Our volunteer service trips are an excellent team building activity for professional teammates, and a natural extension of your church’s mission. Please reach out to our leadership by sending an email to [email protected] and we will gladly set up a time for an initial conversation to explore how we can help you accomplish your goal of serving together.
Do you offer trips for children?
We do not offer service trips exclusively for children, but children and teens are welcome to participate with a parent or adult leader. We regularly host church youth groups, scouting troops, and other youth organizations. We welcome an opportunity to host your underage group for a day trip and invite you to reach out to our team by sending an email to [email protected].
Is this trip appropriate to bring my baby/child/teen on?
Yes! We highly recommend you include your older children and teens! Our day trips to Tijuana are an excellent way for children and teens to learn to serve others and the day is often a hugely enriching experience for families. We typically recommend that children be at least six years old to benefit from the trip, but even younger children are welcome to join with a parent.
How long are the day trips?
The day trips are a full day, from 8:00 AM to approximately 6:30 PM. Keep in mind that there are variables out of our control such as border lines that may affect our trip’s end time.
What if I need to cancel my service trip registration?
Should you need to cancel, please notify our team as soon as possible by sending an email to [email protected] to reach out to our team. While trip registration fees are non-refundable, we will issue you a coupon code valid for 60 days that will allow you to register for a future trip at no cost.
Nicaragua is the poorest country in Central America and second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Since 2016, we provide a zero-cost English as a Second Language (ESL) program in the rural village of Miramar, where over 60 students, ages 9-19, are enrolled each year, advancing through 12 levels of ESL instruction. We believe that learning English presents a pathway to better jobs and more secure futures, breaking the cycle of poverty. We also employ a licensed child psychologist who travels to the community each week to counsel our students and their families.