Volunteer Information

Volunteer with Esperanza

Esperanza International works with our partner, Fundación Esperanza de México (FEM), to provide international service experiences for our volunteer groups in Tijuana, México. FEM hosts groups of volunteers to help build homes and work on other projects in the under-served communities of Tijuana. Volunteer groups work for three to ten days in an immersion experience of Mexican culture, socio-economic development, and leadership building.

Plan a service experience for your group or for yourself! We offer opportunities for groups and for individuals.

For Organized Groups

3 TO 10 DAYS

We work with organized groups from high schools, colleges, churches and more to provide a unique international service experience that develops the global citizenship of group members. Working directly with our partner, FEM, volunteers work hand-in-hand with Mexican families to build homes. In addition, groups have the opportunity to learn more about the local culture through after-work activities such as experiencing a local cultural event, visiting other non-profit human service organizations, and more.

“Esperanza means being inspired by watching women meet to create communities for their families and children and plan for their future.”
–Kathy, Group Leader

For Individuals

3 TO 10 DAYS

Independent volunteer trips are one of the best ways that interested individuals can volunteer with Esperanza International. These mixed- groups incorporate volunteers from different locations, experience-levels and backgrounds. Contact the group leaders (below) directly if you have interest in participating in the trips and they will provide information about prices and logistics.

“I was caught completely off guard by the great disparity between media portrayal of Tijuana and actually experiencing it.”
–Rodney, independent volunteer

Upcoming Independent Groups

Become a Long-Term Volunteer

To apply for a Long-Term Volunteer position, send cover letter & resume to

Felicia Islas, Program Director
  felicia.islas@esperanzaint.org
  (619)887-5102

We offer long-term volunteer positions (six months to one year) in which volunteers live and work in Tijuana. Long-term volunteers assist in coordinating volunteer groups and families in home building through FEM’s community program. The ability to speak Spanish is required since one of the functions is to help with communication between the volunteers and the families. Other responsibilities include construction duties, organizing and accompanying the volunteer groups in a variety of activities that enrich their experience in Tijuana, and administrative tasks. Serving as a long-term volunteer is an opportunity to immerse yourself in the culture of Tijuana and better understand the complex issues surrounding the border region, develop leadership skills, work towards social justice, and exemplify global citizenship.

Meet Gladys-She'll be with us from June-September 2019

My name is Gladys Hilerio and I’m a computer engineering major at Santa Clara University. When I volunteered for the first time when I was 16 years old with Esperanza it changed my life. The people that I got to meet and the communities I got to know in Tijuana helped me realize that I have a duty to do my part in whatever way I can to help create social change. Thanks to the Jean Donovan Fellowship that I was awarded by my university, I decided to take the leap and really figure out what it is I want to dedicate my life to and how I can really make change in Tijuana and with issues surrounding immigration. I want to be able to use my degree and my coding skills to help make technology a big part of that change. I am so excited to be working with Esperanza for the next 3 months!

Meet Evan

Howdy,

My Name is Evan Absolor and I am currently a long-term volunteer for Fundación Esperanza De Mexico, Tijuana. I will be volunteering for 6 months from February-August 2019. This is my 7th time with Esperanza, coming down first in 2013 with Sacred Heart, Enumclaw, led by my former youth leader and friend Kelsey Harrington. I came down four times with Sacred Heart and twice with friend groups, all but one was led by her. I fell in love with Tijuana and this organization on that first trip. It was extremely eye opening and heart breaking, but in a good way. My first trip down was my first service trip, I didn’t know much about the program, and in my mind, I came down to build homes; and that was pretty much the extent of my pre-experience thoughts. I was pleasantly and unexpectedly surprised to find that this program is more than that, it’s about building community and helping those who want to better themselves, the lives of their families, and neighbors. For me this trip has always been the same as a vacation, good weather, good food, and good people. But more rewarding, the gratuity that the families have is overwhelming, what seems like nothing but a few hours of work, is huge for the families, it helps completely change their homes and life styles. It’s not just the houses, but the security it provides and the longevity of the homes which allows them to focus on the next step in bettering their lives. I truly believe that you get way more out of this program than you give, for me not only am I doing a good thing, but this program is helping make me a better person. Every day I spend here I am growing. I love having groups come down, each with their own unique cultures and reasons for being here, I love to share about myself and to hear from them, every different perspective widens my mind. Groups bring me energy and keep me motivated on tough days or when I’m a little low on sleep. I have always thought of myself as someone who is very fortunate and I blessed, being here allows me to strip away many material items and live a life of simplicity; allowing me to realize what is truly important and how much I truly do have and to be thankful for everything. The funny thing is that this life of simplicity is actually the one I prefer, I think when I’m in the US I have so much going on and there are so many distractions that I often forget to enjoy life in the moment. I’m thankful Esperanza has given me this opportunity to give back and receive more blessings and knowledge through this process. Hope to see you all down here! (: