Abriendo Mentes relies on our dedicated team of volunteers, interns, and staff members to achieve our mission and vision in the communities where we work. We believe that committed, hard working individuals who are truly passionate about education and community development can make an enormous impact in the lives of our students. Find out how you can join the AM team...

2018 PROGRAM SCHEDULE

Session 1, 2018: January 22-May 18, 2018 
Session 2, 2018: May 21–August 17, 2018 
Session 3, 2018: August 20–December 14, 2018

CURRENT OPPORTUNITIES

LONG TERM

Adult English Teacher

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POSITION DESCRIPTION

The Adult English Teacher is responsible for planning and implementing all adult English classes in Potrero, Costa Rica.  Classes are taught week days in the evenings at the beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels. The ideal candidate will have experience planning and implementing English classes for adults and have understanding and empathy for working in underprivileged communities. 

POSITION RESPONSIBILITIES
  • Plan and implement all adult English classes/activities
  • Schedule classes and notify students of any schedule changes
  • Track attendance
  • Record lesson plans in AM Adult English documents and develop the curriculum
  • Carry out English evaluations in all classes once per session
  • Maintain clean and well-organized classroom and Adult English office space
  • Track materials and notify Site Director of any additional resources needed
  • Maintain strong communication with students and supervisors
REQUIREMENTS
  • ESL Certified or ESL teaching experience (6 months +)
  • Experience living or working abroad, preferably in Latin America
  • Native English speaker with intermediate Spanish
  • Commitment of 3 months minimum, 6 months preferred
  • Criminal background check
SKILLS AND KNOWLEDGE
  • Flexible and adaptable
  • Creative
  • Approachable and personable
  • Resourceful
  • Upbeat and positive
  • Highly organized
  • Experience working with adult education preferred
  • Experience with lesson planning preferred
CHALLENGES
  • Living and working in a rural, isolated town
  • Working with another culture and language
REPORTS TO

Potrero Site Director

LOCATION(S)

Playa Potrero, Guanacaste, Costa Rica.

STart date

There is an immediate opening for this position. Volunteers must commit to a minimum of 3 months. Preference will be given to those who can commit to 6 months or longer.

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Local Volunteers

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POSITION DESCRIPTION

Here at Abriendo Mentes, we welcome local residents (including Costa Ricans and members of the ex-pat community) to join us as long term volunteers. There are many ways to support our work as local volunteer including:

  • Assisting in our Youth ESL classes.
  • Teaching/assisting in our computer classes.
  • Assisting youth art classes.
  • Helping with youth sports teams (swim, soccer and surf).
  • Drivers for events and field trips.
  • Event helpers.
  • Fundraising.
  • Fun Friday volunteers (weekly extra-curricular activity hosted in Potrero).
REQUIREMENTS
  • Criminal Background Check.

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Sports and Exercise Coordinator

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POSITION DESCRIPTION

The Sports and Exercise Coordinator is responsible for planning and implementing sports and exercise activities for children ages 6-12 in Potrero and Brasilito. The Sports and Exercise Coordinator will champion healthy lifestyles, encouraging disenfranchised youth to see the positive benefits of exercise on physical and mental health. Abriendo Mentes aims to use sports activities to instil behavioural values such as a sense of fair play, sportsmanship, teamwork and pride in achievement.

POSITION RESPONSIBILITIES
  • Manage the administration and delivery of all physical education initiatives coordinated by Abriendo Mentes.
  • Develop and deliver a sustainable program of activities to encourage women and girls to participate in physical activity.
  • Work closely with the Communications Coordinator to schedule activities and advertise to the community.
  • Coordinate sports and exercise volunteers to assist in the successful delivery of programming.
  • Record activity plans and update Abriendo Mentes records.
  • Track resource and program needs and notify the Site Director of requirements.
  • Support the Community Development Coordinator in planning and delivery of weekly health and nutrition workshops (optional).
  • Others activities as required by the Site Director and relevant to Sports and Exercise activities.
REQUIREMENTS
  • Advanced Spanish language skills
  • Proven track record of sporting achievement.
  • Experience and/or qualifications in a related field such as sports, fitness, nutrition, coaching.
  • Experience working with school age children.
  • Enthusiastic and passionate about fitness and the benefits of leading a healthy lifestyle.
  • Able to commit for at least 3 months (preference to those who can commit to 6 months or longer).
  • Experience delivering sports activities to ‘at risk’ youth.
SKILLS AND KNOWLEDGE
  • Flexible and adaptable
  • Creative
  • Approachable and personable
  • Resourceful
  • Upbeat and positive
  • Organized
CHALLENGES
  • Living and working in rural Costa Rica
  • Living and working with a community facing many economic and social challenges
  • Working with another culture and language
  • Flexible working hours to deliver programing at the times the community needs it.
REPORTS TO

Site Director of Potrero and Brasilito

LOCATION(S)

Playa Potrero and Brasilito, Guanacaste, Costa Rica.

START DATE

There is an immediate opening for this position.

*Please note, this is a volunteer position. Abriendo Mentes is not able to provide a stipend at this time.

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Youth Classroom Aide - multiple openings

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POSITION DESCRIPTION

The Classroom Aide is a support position to the English Teacher and/or Computer Teacher in after-school English and computer classes for preschool and 6th grade students. Classroom Aides work directly with the Teachers in Potrero or Brasilito, Guanacaste, Costa Rica and assist with the preparation and delivery of classes, as well as classroom management. The ideal candidate for this position is a friendly, positive and energetic person who takes pride in doing their job well; has experience with and a love of working with children who have learning and behaviour challenges; is creative and adaptable and has endless patience.

POSITION RESPONSIBILITIES
  • Attend all assigned English and Computer classes Monday-Friday.
  • Participate in ‘Fun Friday’, ‘Reading Time’, and ‘Homework Help’  activities with other volunteers.
  • Help prepare activities prior to class and clean up after class.  
  • Maintain an engaged presence in the classroom at all times.
  • Assist with test review sessions as scheduled.
  • Assist with lesson planning and trauma informed educational ‘Brain Breaks’ as requested.
  • Help maintain a clean and organized classroom and Youth English office space
  • Attend weekly all-staff meetings.
  • Assist with other tasks as assigned by the Site Directors or Country Director.
  • Attend and be on time for all classes, youth activities, and meetings.
REQUIREMENTS
  • Commitment of 3-6 months minimum highly desirable
  • Energetic and personable
  • Experience with trauma informed education an asset.
  • Experience working in a diverse classroom environment with mixed ages and varying levels an asset.
  • Cultural sensitivity and ability to work well with a team of international volunteers.
  • Experience living or working abroad in a rural community in the Global South, preferably in Latin America, an asset.
SKILLS AND KNOWLEDGE
  • Friendly, Kind and Compassionate
  • Creative and resourceful
  • Adaptable and flexible
  • Approachable and personable
  • Organized, reliable and dependable
  • Ability to work well with others
  • Able to multitask and work in a fast-paced environment
  • Experience with school-age children preferred
  • Intermediate Spanish language skills (minimum)
  • Positive attitude, Strong motivator

 

 

CHALLENGES
  • Living and working in a rural, isolated town.
  • Working with another culture in a bilingual setting.
REPORTS TO

Youth English Teacher and Program Coordinator and Site Director

LOCATION(S)

Playa Potrero, Guanacaste, Costa Rica.

Playa Potrero or Playa Brasilito, Guanacaste, Costa Rica.

START DATE

May 14, 2018

July 1, 2018

*Please note, this is a volunteer position. Abriendo Mentes is not able to provide a living stipend at this time.

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SHORT TERM

General Volunteer

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POSITION DESCRIPTION

Short term general volunteers will work in both Abriendo Mentes’ programming sites in Potrero or Brasilito, Costa Rica in a variety of capacities. All volunteers will be live and primarily serve in the Potrero location, with some travel to the Brasilito location. A short term volunteer placement lasts for a duration of 2-8 weeks and acceptance is based on the needs of Abriendo Mentes at the time applicant is able to come. Short term volunteers can expect to volunteer 4-5 hours per day (including some evenings and weekends). You will be assigned tasks each week by the site directors and Country Director. Energetic individuals who are willing to step in wherever needed are ideal for this position. Below is a list of tasks and activities you may be asked to assist with:

POSITION RESPONSIBILITIES
  • Youth Classroom Assistant: Attend English classes Monday-Thursday afternoons and assist the lead teacher with classroom activities.
  • Help plan and lead extra-curricular activities for youth or Fun Friday activities.
  • Volunteer at local food bank.
  • Attend and help with community engagement activities: Beach/town clean ups, movie nights, garage sales, etc.
  • Office assistant: Inputting data, creating flyers, etc.
  • Other tasks as assigned by the Country Director.
REQUIREMENTS
  • Commitment of 2-8 weeks.
  • Energetic and personable.
SKILLS AND KNOWLEDGE
  • Positive attitude.
  • Independent.
  • Dependable.
  • Some Spanish skills preferred.
CHALLENGES
  • Living and working in a rural, isolated town.
  • Working with another culture in a bilingual setting.
REPORTS TO

Country Director.

LOCATION(S)

Playa Potrero and Playa Brasilito, Guanacaste, Costa Rica.

START DATE

We are currently seeking volunteers to join our team in 2016. Short term volunteer positions are only available for periods of 2-8 weeks. Please indicate your ideal arrival and departure dates in your application.

MONETARY CONTRIBUTION

To cover administrative and program costs, Abriendo Mentes requires all short term volunteers to make a monetary contribution of $200 USD. This is a tax deductible donation allowed to the fullest extent of US law. We encourage all short term volunteers to fundraise themselves to cover this contribution.

ACCOMMODATION OPTIONS

Short term volunteers can choose to stay in a homestay organized by Abriendo Mentes with a local family. This costs $15 per day and includes breakfast and dinner. We can also share a list of options for local villas, hotels and B&B’s.

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Volunteering for Professionals

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POSITION DESCRIPTION

Do you have professional expertise in a specific field that you believe could benefit our work here at Abriendo Mentes? We are always open to discussing special projects where volunteers can utilize their knowledge and professional skills, allowing them to make a measurable impact in their field of work. Special Projects Volunteers must make a minimum commitment of one month.

Examples of the type of work you could do
  • Monitoring and Evaluation.
  • Photography and Videography.
  • Fundraising.
  • Curriculum Development.
  • Finances and Accounting.
  • Graphic Design.
  • Marketing.
  • Business Development.
  • Organizational Management.
REPORTS TO

Country Director.

LOCATION(S)

Playa Potrero and Playa Brasilito, Guanacaste, Costa Rica.

START DATE

We are currently seeking volunteers to join our team in 2016. Short term volunteer positions are only available for periods of 2-8 weeks. Please indicate your ideal arrival and departure dates in your application.

MONETARY CONTRIBUTION

To cover administrative and program costs, Abriendo Mentes requires all short term volunteers to make a monetary contribution of $200 USD. This is a tax deductible donation allowed to the fullest extent of US law. We encourage all short term volunteers to fundraise themselves to cover this contribution.

ACCOMMODATION OPTIONS

Short term volunteers can choose to stay in a homestay organized by Abriendo Mentes with a local family. This costs $15 per day and includes breakfast and dinner. We can also share a list of options for local villas, hotels and B&B’s.

APPLY NOW!

INTERNSHIP

Communications Coordinator

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POSITION DESCRIPTION

The Communications Coordinator will work closely with the Country Director in the management, creation, distribution, and evaluation of all organizational media content, and assist with fundraising efforts. The position is writing-intensive and the intern will be expected to help write and edit information for the website, newsletter, social media sites, and local Costa Rican publications. The ideal candidate also has experience designing social media images and maintaining graphics for a WordPress website. Preference will be given to candidates with their own copy of Adobe Creative Cloud to work from. The intern will gain experience in operations of a nonprofit organization as well.

POSITION RESPONSIBILITIES
  • Develop and/or collect content for Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
  • Synthesize and edit information and photos for monthly newsletter
  • Attend weekly all-staff meeting and provide a communications update on Monday mornings
  • Record and distribute minutes from weekly all-staff meeting
  • Lead or assist with additional communications and campaigns as necessary
  • Lead weekly communications meeting with AM Staff and volunteers interested in communications
  • Create and distribute marketing materials for AM community events (posting flyers, sharing notices on social media, etc.)
  • Collect new volunteer headshot photos to be published on website and Facebook
  • Help in the development and implementation of fundraising campaigns, including but not limited to online campaigns, fundraising events, and local fundraising initiatives.
  • When needed, participate and help in Abriendo Mentes classes and activities (including by not limited to English and/or computer classes, Fun Friday activities, tutoring, special events.)
REQUIREMENTS
  • Excellent writing, editing, communication, and organizational skills
  • Minimum commitment of 3 months, 6 months preferred.
SKILLS AND KNOWLEDGE
  • Excellent writing, editing, communication, and organizational skills
  • Experience with WordPress
  • Design skills (Illustrator, Photoshop, Indesign, etc.)
  • Self-motivated
  • Able to work alone and as part of a team
  • Advanced Spanish skills preferred
  • Interest in nonprofits
CHALLENGES
  • Living and working in a rural, isolated town
  • Working with another culture and language
  • Interacting with a wide range of people both in person and through social media: AM staff and volunteers, community members, donors, etc.
REPORTS TO

Country Director

LOCATION(S)

Playa Potrero, Guanacaste, Costa Rica.

START DATE

We have an immediate opening for this position. 

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Community Development Intern
HOW TO APPLY

Please submit your resume and cover letter to Rachael at rachael@abriendomentes.org.

POSITION DESCRIPTION

The Community Development intern is an important team member at Abriendo Mentes. The Community Development intern's primary responsibilities include special project management, Monitoring and Evaluation, Community relations, assistance with special events and fundraisers, and general administrative and programmatic support to the Country Director and Potrero Site Director. This position reports directly to the Country Director, and assists the Potrero Site Director with the management of AM operations as needed.

POSITION RESPONSIBILITIES

Special Project Management

  • Managing the Shop (artisan goods and second hand store) as needed (depending on the availability of other interns/volunteers), with duties including not limited to: communicating with local artisans about receiving more inventory, paying local artisans, staffing the retail store front, soliciting, sorting and pricing donations for the second hand store, and finding volunteers to assist with all of the stated duties
  • Help to manage programming for local women, especially related to health and fitness, including our zumba program

Monitoring and Evaluation

  • Assist Potrero Project Director with the collection of data from other team leaders each month and update and maintain excel spreadsheet with organizational metrics..
  • Perform program analysis and evaluation as directed by the Country Director.

Program Coordination

  • Assist with the planning and coordination of AM programs, community events, etc.
  • Attend all AM committee meetings; maintain close communications with other AM interns and volunteer
  • Continue to develop existing programs and create the structure for new programs as directed by the Potrero Site Director
  • Assist with other projects related to development and/or communications as well as other programming needs as necessary

Volunteer Coordination 

  • Assist the Potrero Site Director with any needs related to the recruitment, training or supervision of volunteers or interns

Special Events and Fundraisers

  • Assist the Country Director with the planning, marketing, and execution of fundraisers and special events

General Program assistance

    The ideal candidate will be a very flexible individual who is able to serve the organization in a variety of capacities and is comfortable volunteering in all programs of AM, including but not limited to: English classes, computer classes, special events, field trips, fundraisers, ad hoc administrative projects, etc.
REQUIREMENTS
  • Bachelor’s Degree required.  Preferred degrees include: International Studies, Communications, Human Resources, Non-Profit Management, Social Work, or related fields.
  • Experience living and working in a cross-cultural setting, preferably in Latin America or in a rural area.
  • Experience working with a non-profit preferred.
  • 4-6 month commitment; preference will be given to candidates who are available to make a commitment for 6 months+.
  • Fluent English: required.
  • Intermediate Spanish: required; preference will be given to applicants with an advanced or fluent level of Spanish
SKILLS AND KNOWLEDGE
  • Personable and approachable
  • Dependable
  • Strong work ethic
  • Positive attitude
  • Strong motivator
  • Excellent communications (both oral and written)
  • Good judge of character
  • Ability to maintain confidentiality
  • Detail oriented
  • Highly organized
  • Ability to multi-task
CHALLENGES
  • Living and working in a rural, isolated town
  • Working with another culture and language
  • Interacting with a wide range of people both in person and through social media: AM staff and volunteers, community members, donors, etc.
REPORTS TO

Country Director.

LOCATION(S)

Playa Potrero, Guanacaste, Costa Rica.

START DATE

There is an immediate opening for this position. Candidates must be able to commit to at least 3 months. Preference will be given to those who can commit to 6 months or longer. Please note your available start date when submitting resume and cover letter.

HOW TO APPLY

Please submit your resume and cover letter to Rachael at rachael@abriendomentes.org.

*Please note, this is a volunteer position. Abriendo Mentes is not able to provide a stipend at this time.

EMPLOYMENT

Youth Education Coordinator and Teacher- Brasilito

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POSITION DESCRIPTION

The Youth Education Coordinator and Teacher is responsible for planning and implementing activities for our after school program in Brasilito, Guanacaste, Costa Rica. The main responsibilities of this position include planning and teaching daily Pre Kinder through 6th grade after school English classes and a high school class. The classes are taught in Spanish with a focus on Spanish and English literacy, as well as English vocabulary and simple English conversation in higher grades. The Youth Education Coordinator and Teacher will work closely with the Brasilito Site Director to design and implement other youth education activities, including art classes, monthly workshops and special events. The ideal candidate for this position is a an experienced teacher who takes initiative and pride in doing their job well; has experience with and a love for working with children who have learning and behaviour challenges; and is someone with strong classroom management skills, a positive and creative approach to learning and endless patience and adaptability.

POSITION RESPONSIBILITIES
  • Manage, plan and implement all activities for Abriendo Mentes’ after school program in Brasilito.
  • Plan and implement all daily Pre Kinder-grade 6 English classes/activities.
  • Supervise, assist and actively incorporate Classroom Aides in the class and facilitate their classroom orientation.
  • Work with the Brasilito Site Director to create and implement other youth education related activities, including sports, arts and crafts, field trips, environmental projects, health projects, and more.
  • Schedule all youth classes and activities and notify students and parents of any schedule changes.
  • Coordinate and execute all ‘Fun Friday’, ‘Reading Time’, and ‘Homework Help’  activities with the help of Classroom Aides and other volunteers.
  • Track attendance and related incentive programs
  • Communicate regularly with local public school English Teacher and Director to keep informed about schedules and English curriculum.
  • Maintain a clean and well-organized classroom and Youth English office space.
  • Maintain strong communication with supervisors, volunteers, parents, and partner schools.
REQUIREMENTS
  • Native or advanced Spanish speaker with advanced to fluent English skills required.
  • Primary school teaching experience (2 years +); ESL teaching experience a plus.
  • Experience working with children with learning delays and behaviour challenges.
  • Strong classroom management skills.
  • Experience with trauma informed education an asset.
  • Experience working and/or teaching in a diverse classroom environment with mixed ages and varying levels.
  • Cultural sensitivity and ability to work well with a team of international volunteers.
  • Ability to create relevant literacy focused and English lessons for mixed abilities.  
  • Experience living or working abroad in a rural community in the Global South, preferably in Latin America.
  • Able to make 1 year commitment (including 3 months probationary period).
SKILLS AND KNOWLEDGE
  • Friendly, Kind and Compassionate
  • Classroom management strategies for bilingual classroom
  • Lesson planning skills
  • Creative and resourceful
  • Adaptable and flexible
  • Approachable and personable
  • Organized and reliable
  • Ability to work well with others and alone.
THE SUCCESSFUL CANDIDATE WILL BE
  • Creative and resourceful – able to work in a rural environment with limited resources.
  • Adaptable and flexible – demonstrate the ability to respond to frequently changing needs of the organization and community.
  • Approachable and personable – able to build effective relationships with the AM team and local people in order to integrate into our small rural community.
  • Organized and reliable – manage your time effectively, efficiently use AM resources, participate in AM meetings and events, and deliver on your responsibilities as discussed with the Site Director and Country Director.
  • Able to commit 20-25 hours a week to this position (including teaching hours), and be flexible to ad hoc evening or weekend activities a few times a year.
CHALLENGES
  • Taking ownership of the classroom- requires self initiative
  • Managing different needs and abilities of students
  • Working with another culture and language
  • Living and working in a rural, isolated town
REPORTS TO

Brasilito Site Director

LOCATION(S)

Brasilito, Guanacaste, Costa Rica.

SALARY DETAILS

$500/month living stipend

START DATE

July 1, 2018. 

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Technology Coordinator and Computer Teacher- 2 openings

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POSITION DESCRIPTION

The Technology Coordinator and Teacher will work with the Site Director to plan and implement youth and adult computer classes in Brasilito or Potrero, will help with administrative tasks related to technology (website, social media, etc.) and will work with the English Teacher to implement other extracurricular activities for children. The technology classes are taught in Spanish with a focus on Spanish literacy in younger grades and basic computer literacy in older grades. The Computer Instructor will work closely with the English Teacher and the local team of volunteers to carry out other youth education activities, including art classes, sports and special events. The ideal candidate for this position is a an experienced teacher who takes initiative and pride in doing their job well; has experience with and a love of working with children who have learning and behaviour challenges; and is someone with strong classroom management skills, a positive and creative approach to learning and endless patience and adaptability. A knowledge of Windows, MS Office and Google Chrome is important, and a basic knowledge of the following is an asset:  virtual machines, Ubuntu, 3D printing, Scratch and educational software/web platforms.

POSITION RESPONSIBILITIES
  • Plan and teach technology classes to children, youth and adults in the community (classes are taught Monday-Friday afternoons, and 1-2 evenings per week. Some weekend activities are required).
  • Help with organizational website maintenance, social media, and other tech related tasks assigned by the Country Director
  • Collaborate with the English Teacher to plan at least one extracurricular activity for children per month (some evening and weekend activities may be required).
  • Participate in all ‘Fun Friday’, ‘Reading Time’, and ‘Homework Help’  activities with the other Abriendo Mentes volunteers.
  • Attend weekly staff meetings.
  • Provide ongoing technology support to AM staff and volunteers (optional).
  • Supervise classroom assistants when necessary.
  • Maintain a clean, organized, and safe office space and computer classroom.
  • Complete other tasks as agreed upon with the Site Director and Country Director.
REQUIREMENTS
  • Minimum commitment of at least 6 months (including a 3 month probationary period). Preference will be given to those who can commit to longer.
  • Native or fluent Spanish speaker and minimum intermediate English speaking skills (Classes are taught in Spanish).
  • Experience with trauma informed education an asset.
  • Experience living or working abroad in a rural community, preferably in Latin America.
  • Experience teaching and working with children.
  • Experience working in IT preferred, although not a requirement.
SKILLS AND KNOWLEDGE
  • Ability to work well with others and alone.
  • Classroom management strategies.
  • Creative and resourceful.
  • Adaptable and flexible.
  • Approachable and personable.
  • Organized and reliable.
  • Patient.
  • Empathetic.
  • Assertive.
  • Compassionate.
  • Strong work ethic.
  • Positive attitude.
  • Excellent communications (both oral and written).
  • Detail oriented.
  • Technology early adopter.
  • Previous experience with technology education preferred.
CHALLENGES
  • Adapting technology to community needs.
  • Living and working in a rural, isolated town with limited resources.
  • Working with another culture in a bilingual setting.
  • Managing different needs and abilities of students.
the successful candidate will be
  • Creative and resourceful – able to work in a rural environment with limited resources.
  • Adaptable and flexible – demonstrate the ability to respond to frequently changing needs of the organization and community.
  • Approachable and personable – able to build effective relationships with the AM team and local people in order to integrate into our small rural community.
  • Organized and reliable – manage your time effectively, efficiently use AM resources, participate in AM meetings and events, and deliver on your responsibilities as discussed with the Site Director and Country Director.
  • Able to commit 15-20 hours a week to this position (including teaching hours), and be flexible to ad hoc evening or weekend activities a few times a year.
REPORTS TO

Brasilito Site Director or Potrero Site Director

LOCATION(S)

Brasilito or Playa Potrero, Guanacaste, Costa Rica

START DATE

June 1, 2018 (Brasilito)

July 1, 2018 (Potrero)

Candidates must be able to commit through December 14, 2018

COMPENSATION

Housing included plus a $300/month living stipend.

APPLY NOW!

TESTIMONIALS

Working with the kids in Brasilito is the greatest reward of living in Costa Rica—getting to know each of them closely, seeing their growth, and learning from them, myself.

Mallory Turner
Lead Youth English Teacher, June '15 - June '16

I loved the opportunity to pass on my professional skills and experience to help AM run their operation more effectively. In return, I was able to do lots of activities which are completely different to my day job in England; playing basketball with the kids, doing a beach clear up, sorting groceries at the food bank, promoting a comedy show etc. It is a valuable reminder that in a small organization, everyone has to be versatile and get the job done.

David Smeath
Accounting Volunteer, January - February '15

This experience has been one of the best I've had in my life. I work closely with a group of women and other members of the community to provide various resources for people who call Brasilito home. I've provided weekly health workshops for women in the community. I'm also available for whatever Brasilito needs to develop into a more sustainable community. It's been a challenging yet rewarding experience, and I'm so grateful to be a part of this project in such a special place.

Morgan Behrens
Community Development Intern, September '15 - Present

Throughout my time at Abriendo Mentes I experienced a great balance between independence to problem solve on my own, and support from the amazing staff when I needed it. This position continually presented new challenges which allowed me to grow both professionally and personally... plus the Costa Rican weather and beaches didn't hurt!

Erin Fessler
Social Enterprise Coordinator, June '15 - April '16

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

How does the AM volunteer application process work?

AM has a thorough application process. It begins with an online questionnaire that must be filled out by all interested applicants. We are unable to offer all applicants an interview, but those who are selected to continue the application process will be interviewed via Skype. Applicants will be interviewed by the Country Director or the Site Director. After the interview, we will contact your references, and we will be in touch within at least two weeks regarding the status of your application. Please note, all candidates who are offered a position with Abriendo Mentes must also submit a Criminal Background Check before officially being accepted into the program. If you are accepted to join us, we ask that you either accept or decline within one week of receiving your acceptance email.

We aim to fill all positions 3-6 months in advance, so keep that in mind when applying. Occasionally we have last-minute openings; feel free to inquire.

Who is the average AM volunter?

Abriendo Mentes has enjoyed welcoming a large variety of volunteers over the last few years; whether you are a student or young professional and looking to gain experience, or an experienced professional or retiree seeking to apply your skills in a new environment, we strive to make your volunteer experience as meaningful and impactful as possible.

All ages and backgrounds are welcome to apply. Although the majority of volunteers are from the United States and Canada, we have also had a number of volunteers from all over the globe including England, Germany, Spain, South Africa, Austria and Chile.

All international volunteers and interns must be 18 years old or older, or otherwise accompanied by an adult. Local high school students living in Costa Rica are welcome to apply.

When can I come?

AM accepts long term volunteers for sessions that last 3-4 months – you must commit to at least one full session and we ask that you arrive early to attend our two-day orientation before the session begins. The 2016 program calendar is as follows:

Session 1: February 1st – May 20th, 2016 (Semana Santa Break: March 20th – March 28th)

Session 2: May 23rd – August 12th, 2016 (July Break: July 4th – July 17th)

Session 3: August 15th – December 16th, 2016 (October Break: October 8th – October 16th)

We also offer internships that last a minimum of 3 months. Ideally interns will stay for 6 months or more; start and end dates can be flexible. We also have opportunities for short term volunteers to join us for periods of 2 up to 6 weeks. Please check out our Current Opportunities page for detailed information about all of these positions.

If I am accepted for a position with Abriendo Mentes, what are your expectations of me?

Our team members are independent, take initiative and are willing to adapt to the changing needs of our organization. We want you to get as much as possible out of your time with us and if that means changing your role slightly during your time here, we can be flexible and hope that you can too. We will help you settle in and give you support but it is up to you to get involved, put your best foot forward and actively engage with us and the local community.

How much does it cost?

We greatly value the personal and financial sacrifices that volunteers and interns make to join our work here in Costa Rica. For this reason, we do not charge any program fees to long term volunteers or interns. We do not offer financial aid, and long term team members are responsible for paying their living costs while here, including housing, food, travel, and all other personal expenses. Some internship positions do include free accommodation. While we greatly value the contributions of short term volunteers, in order to help defray the administrative and program expenses of arranging opportunities for volunteers who commit to a 2 to 6 week stay, all short term volunteers are required to pay a$200USD contribution to Abriendo Mentes. This contribution is 100% tax deductible and short term volunteers are encouraged to fundraise to cover this cost.

For everyone considering joining our team, were are some guidelines for budgeting options:

Low Budget ($300-400/month) This will cover basic living expenses. Going to a restaurant or bar or any weekend travel would be a rare treat. Groceries would consist of the more basic staples found here (rice and beans for meals and bananas for snacks).

Midsize budget ($500-$600/month) This will cover the basic living expenses with some leisure activities and weekend travel. You will be able to afford more expensive groceries and a wider variety of foods. This is a comfortable budget that we recommend volunteers to plan for.

High Budget (Over $600/month) All expenses will be paid for, eating out and travel is easily affordable, and you may purchase more expensive brands of food including brands from the U.S.

Will Abriendo Mentes help arrange my housing?

Abriendo Mentes offers the following accommodation options for long term volunteers and interns: homestays with local families or a private room in a rented house that is shared with other volunteers. Homestays include breakfast and dinner each day and laundry service, and cost $15/day. A private room will be in a house owned by a local Costa Rican landlord and shared with 1-2 other volunteers/interns. Private rooms and utilities vary in cost from $170-$300/month. All housing arrangements will be secured prior to your arrival in Costa Rica.

For short term volunteers, we are happy to set up a homestay with a local family or recommend a list of local villas, hotels and B&B’s that you can contact to set up your own lodging. AM is not able to set up private apartments for short term volunteers.

We do our best to accommodate housing preferences, but we always ask that volunteers and interns remain flexible – depending on time constraints and other housing arrangements, volunteers and interns may not always live in their first choice of housing for the entirety of their stay.

Are there any health issues in Costa Rica I should be concerned about?

Water is potable and safe to drink throughout the country. There is no malaria in the northwestern coast of Costa Rica where we are located. Dengue fever and Chikungunya virus are present throughout the country, which are contractible though infected mosquitos. There is currently no vaccine available for either virus. Taking precautions such as using bug spray with DEET especially in the morning and late afternoon hours, wearing light-colored clothing, ensuring window and door screens are secure, etc. will greatly reduce the chances of contracting the viruses. Cases of dengue and chikungunya are not uncommon in the areas where we operate and you should consult with your doctor to determine if contracting either virus would cause you any serious health complications.

We are located in a rural, tropical area. During the dry season (November-August) there is a lot of dust in the air. If you have allergies, make sure to bring your medication(s).

Please visit your doctor or a travel doctor before arriving, and be sure to visit the CDC website to educate yourself on the most recent health updates and vaccination recommendations and/or requirements.

Is living and working in Potrero and Brasilito safe?

Yes. Potrero and Brasilito are both very safe, tranquil towns. We do encourage all volunteers and interns to use common sense in regards to their personal safety, but it is safe to travel alone and walk around at night. Most crimes that do occur in this area are crimes of opportunity, so always remember to lock your doors and keep your valuables in a safe, secure place.

Natural disasters do occur in Costa Rica, most of which are earthquakes. AM has emergency plans in place for natural disasters that all volunteers and interns will be trained on upon arrival.

What additional information and support is provided to help me prepare for my time with AM?

AM has a full-time, dedicated staff member available to help you prepare for your time in Costa Rica. This includes providing support and information related to flights, visas, shuttles, and how to get to Potrero and Brasilito as well as access to the AM Portal (which is an online resource for all volunteers and interns and includes information on what to pack, currency, local food, costs, etc.).