International Volunteer Program
About the Program
International Volunteers are essential members of the NPH family. Our volunteers serve alongside the local staff, and provide services that are hard to find in Latin America. All volunteers hold a job during the day and spend time each evening and weekend with children. Our volunteers come from all around the world, and live in community at our NPH homes. We accept single volunteers, married couples and families. Click here for a program fact sheet (PDF).
We try to match the skills and interests of volunteers with what NPH wants and needs. All current volunteer opportunities are listed at https://www.nph.org/volunteer-openings/.
Here are some common volunteer jobs and areas in which volunteers serve:
Volunteers serve as Communication Officers, Project Coordinators and in our Sponsorship program. Administrative volunteers work with the home and the network of global fundraising offices to communicate with donors and the public about NPH.
Volunteer Coordinators help support the current volunteers and screen and place pending volunteers. Visitor Coordinators assist visitors from around the world who come to see and experience NPH first hand.
Volunteers lead and coordinate programs such as women’s empowerment, men’s empowerment, youth leadership, life skills and community support projects.
We often have unique volunteer opportunities that may not be listed on the website. These can include architect, environmental educator, swim instructor, activities coordinator, catechist, pharmacist, etc.
Please use the link provided to submit your application. You may save your work and return to the application as many times as needed before submitting it.
After your application has been submitted, NPH USA will review it and contact you about next steps. You should hear back from our staff within 2 weeks of submitting the application. The entire process can take 2 – 4 months.
Volunteers generally start in either January or July, and applications are due by July 1 for a January start date and January 1 for a July start date. We often have openings after the application due date, so we encourage you to apply even if you have missed the deadline.
“It is a difficult and sometimes frustrating job, but extremely rewarding. Every day is an adventure. The children are amazing, and they are always quick to greet me with a smile and a hug.”
|– Lisette Etcherling
If you have any questions, please contact our International Volunteer Coordinator, Jennifer Abercrombie Foster, at 888-201-8880 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Are you a former volunteer? We want to hear from you!
NPH does not charge volunteers to apply or serve and there is no fundraising commitment.
Volunteers receive room and board, as well as access to basic medical care and a monthly stipend ($50 – $100 U.S., depending on the country).
Volunteers must pay for their transportation to and from the country where they serve, but NPH staff will meet you at the airport/bus station.
Volunteers with weak language skills must receive/pay for additional language training prior to beginning service.
NPH USA pays for the IMG Patriot Plan for international insurance. See details below.
“My year of service with NPH (Guatemala) has changed me for the better. Never have I been called to love so unconditionally. I learned to measure my success at the end of the day not necessarily by how much I got done but rather by how patient, positive, and kind I was.”
|– Jessica Heintz
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What makes a successful volunteer?
Successful volunteers are cooperative, flexible and very patient. They have a strong work ethic and are able to adapt to a different cultural environment, including working with people from around the world. They are respectful of their host country and its culture, and have a positive attitude to share with the children.
Is there an age requirement?
The minimum age for volunteers is 21.
Do I need to speak Spanish/French?
Volunteers with a strong command of the local language(s) are better able to serve the children and are given priority. We ask that you are either proficient in the language and/or will make a commitment to attend a language school before you begin volunteering.
What is the time commitment?
The minimum volunteer commitment is 13 months. We require the commitment because it allows time for the volunteers and the children to form lasting relationships – longer commitments are encouraged.
“No one told me that one of the hardest parts about NPH would be leaving to continue with your life at the end of your year.”
|– Rachel Norman
Do you accept short-term volunteers?
Unfortunately we do not accept short term volunteers.
When should I apply?
Most homes have volunteers begin in either January or July. For a January start date, please submit an application by July 1. For a July start date, please submit an application by January 1. Even if the deadline has passed, you are encouraged to apply.
It is best to apply early, since there are limited opportunities!
Where do volunteers live?
Volunteers receive room and board at the NPH home. Housing varies by country and ranges from apartments to dormitory-style rooms with fellow volunteers.
Is volunteering safe?
As with any international travel, risks are involved and it is important to be aware of your surroundings and the local situation. NPH strives to provide a safe and secure environment for the children, staff, and volunteers. Each home has safety guidelines that volunteers must follow.
“After a year of service, my greatest memories and strongest connections are with the kids, and it is these relationships that give me a lasting bond with NPH.”
|– Dan Peck
Can I speak with a former volunteer?
Yes! Please contact us and we will put you in touch with a current or recently-returned volunteer from the country you are considering. Talking with a former volunteer can help answer your questions and assist you in deciding if NPH is right for you.
Who pays for a volunteer’s health insurance?
NPH USA covers the costs of the IMG Patriot plan for all US volunteers. The plan includes a $250 deductible, and a $100,000 annual limit, as well as international emergency care with a $500,000 limit for medical evacuation and up to $50,000 for emergency reunion.
What happens after I apply?
All applicants apply online at https://www.nph.org/volunteer/. Within two weeks our staff will contact you regarding your application. If you qualify, we will arrange for a phone/skype interview. During the interview we will ask you many questions, assess your language skills, discuss possible placements, answer any questions that you may have about serving with NPH, and discuss the next steps in the selection process. After the interview we will check your references. The process is long and will require patience on your part.
For more information, please contact our International Volunteer Coordinator, Jennifer Abercrombie Foster, at 888.201.8880 or e-mail email@example.com.
“The “snapshots” of my life as a volunteer will stay with me forever, as I continue to process them and view them from new angles. The skills I have developed will also stay with me, not the least of them patience, independence, self-motivation, quick problem solving and Spanish fluency. What I am most excited to carry with me, however, is the open-endedness of how these will continue to affect me as I grow and move forward in my life. It has been a unique experience, and one that I will be learning from forever.”
|– Andrea Mulhausen