Take the first step in building a brighter future.
Join Us on a Service Trip
Upcoming Trip Dates
Click on a date to register.
- Adults – $45
- Students – $25
- Children (under 12) – $15
Cancellation policy: If you must cancel within 72 hours of the trip, please consider your payment a donation of $25 to cover the losses incurred.
Please be sure to wear modest clothing (no cut-off shorts and low-cut tops), as you will be interacting with children and teens.
Trip meeting locations vary depending on the trip destination. Please see your trip confirmation email for details.
We ask that volunteers expect to be on the trip from 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Although all trips might not last until 6:30, there are variables out of our control such as border lines, etc.
Emergency contact: Joe Brandi – (858) 729-3173 (in Mexico)
After meeting at the location designated in your confirmation email, as a group we carpool to a secured parking lot at the Otay Mesa border. First time trip-goers must meet with us at the meet-up location. If you plan on driving yourself, we ask that you pay an additional parking fee of $10.00.
Each trip has optional featured donation items that are needed based on the circumstances. You will receive a list of specific items via email after you have signed up for a trip.
However, we always accept the following items:
- Non-perishable food
- Cleaning supplies
- Toiletry items
- Sports equipment
- First aid items
- Rolling suitcases
Due to Mexican trade laws, we are unable to bring used clothes, shoes, toys, etc.
What to pack:
- Passport (needs to be current and at least 6 months until it expires).
- Water bottle(s)
- Personal snacks
- Comfortable shoes (we will be walking approximately 1 mile before we are picked up by the bus transport).
- Any personal care items that you will need for the entire day
- Donation items (see donation section below for more information)
Please note: If you have special dietary needs or allergies, please bring your own lunch. Our orphanages subsist entirely on the generosity of donors and cannot accommodate dietary needs or make special lunches. Most unopened and commercially packed food is okay to bring across the border. For more details on what you can and can’t bring across to Mexico, please contact US Customs and Border Protection for the most updated information.
If you have special dietary needs or food allergies, please bring your own lunch. Our orphanages subsist entirely on the generosity of donors and cannot accommodate dietary needs or make special lunches. Most unopened and commercially packed food is okay to bring across the border. For more details on what you can and can’t bring across to Mexico, please contact US Customs and Border Protection for the most updated information.
JOY. SADNESS. HAPPINESS. HUGS.
From start to finish, you will be exposed to the realities of an abandoned child’s experience. Although you may be covered with dust and sweat by the end, you will also be filled with love and compassion!
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. We are taken by chartered buses and/or vans to the orphanage. At the orphanage, we have lunch, do an art project, and play sports with the children.
Most children are seeking positive attention, so even if you don’t speak Spanish, be proactive and engage children in activities. Translators will assist you, and the activity leaders appreciate any assistance you can provide with unloading donations, serving meals, and cleaning up. At the orphanage, we ask that you stay with the group at all times and never be alone with a child. Please do not hand a child your phone or candy that has not been approved by the trip leader.
Finally, please be aware that border lines can be long and range between 30-90 minutes on the return home.
According to the UN, in the Northern Baja area of Mexico, 6,000 children live on the streets or under dangerous/abusive situations, and thousands more live in extreme poverty. Mexico does not have a foster care or welfare system; therefore, private orphanages are the norm. These homes rely entirely on individual donations, usually from the U.S. or Canada. Since 2010, Unity 4 Orphans has been traveling to Baja Mexico twice a month with volunteers.
Nicaragua is the poorest country in Central America and second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. In March 2016, we began an official partnership with Centros Emerge. With our help, they were able to add another feeding day for the children and start an English program. We also helped Hogar de Fe to start the building project of a transition room for the older orphans…and this is just the beginning!