|Founder||Guy Bevil Jr.|
|Sara Nathan, President and CEO|
|Amigos de Honduras|
Amigos de las Américas (literally "Friends of the Americas"), or AMIGOS, is a nonprofit organization based in Houston, Texas with 25 chapters across the USA. The Vision of AMIGOS is "A world where each young person becomes a life-long catalyst for social change." AMIGOS works towards this vision by inspiring and building young leaders through collaborative community development and immersion in cross-cultural experiences.
AMIGOS was founded in 1965 when 29-year-old Guy Bevil Jr., youth pastor at River Oaks Baptist Church in Houston led a team of 181 teenagers and young adults into Honduras to administer polio vaccinations. The group took donations of supplies, recruited 36 doctors, and practiced administering vaccines in Houston. Many participants made the 1,500-mile trip by truck in order to ship the supplies into rural Honduras. The first summer in Honduras, volunteers inoculated over half a million people.
Upon their arrival home, Bevil and his group founded Amigos de Honduras, which grew to be Amigos de las Américas within the next year. Over half of the original participants applied to return the next summer. For the following two decades, AMIGOS focused primarily on administering vaccinations.
AMIGOS has expanded to many different countries including Brazil, Costa Rica, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Uruguay, The Dominican Republic, Mexico, and Peru, though some countries do not currently have active projects.
Other founders recognized by AMIGOS are H. Kirby Atwood, Sr., Searcy Bracewell, Raymond Cook, Ed Frank, Jr., Carlos R. Hamilton, MD, Victor Huvelle, Mariann and John Marshall, Ed Morris, and Wilson J. Pais.
Amigos de las Américas is a non-religious, non-governmental, non-profit organization based out of Houston, Texas. AMIGOS offers summer and gap programs for young people ages 13–25. After extensive training in the US, participants travel to Latin America where they live for anywhere between two weeks to nine months with a host family in a small community.
Participants are partnered with one or two other participants to carrying out health, education, and environmental programs, ranging from latrine construction to formation of youth groups to teaching environmental sustainability and dental hygiene. The programs are carried out in partnership with partner agencies, which have included Save the Children, Plan International and the governments of the various countries above. Asset-based community development is at the core of AMIGOS projects.
Each year, roughly 600 young people take part in AMIGOS various Latin American programs. Over 28,000 people have participated in the program since it began.
The National Office of AMIGOS is still located in Houston and employs a small staff year-round to manage the programs. Sara Nathan is the President and CEO.
AMIGOS encourages returning project participants to take leadership roles within the organization. Each project (generally organized geographically and thematically) is led by a Project Director, who is aided by an Associate Project Director. Senior Project Supervisors and Project Supervisors oversee individual community projects and act as liaisons between Project Leadership Teams and participants in community. Alumni can also stay active by joining a local chapter board.
The summer of 2020 volunteers was impacted significantly by COVID-19. In response, Amigos de las Américas created a six-week online experience for young people to obtain the benefits of a traditional experience while also benefiting their community. In groups of 8-12 students from both the U.S. and Latin America, participants connect with other students and still are able to participate in a cross-cultural exchange.
|New York||New York City|
|Utah||Salt Lake City|