Project Description

The Alternative Service Break program is a unique service-learning experience in which students engage in direct service to a community, while being immersed in the culture and customs of that community. In this program, volunteers explore the culture and history of the area, participate in orientation programs, build leadership skills, and develop strong bonds with other team members. IFRE Volunteers carefully selects projects that make it possible for your group to make a real difference while enjoying a safe experience. You’ll also have plenty of time to practice your Spanish (or Portuguese) as you see the sights, plan an adventure or simply hang out with the locals.

Contact IFRE to customize your group experience and dates.

destinations/ projects

Our popular Latin American destinations make it easy to minimize travel time and maximize your experience. Click and explore to find your perfect project. If you have a different destination in mind, let us know. We are glad to work with your group to create an unforgettable break.

Popular destinations/ projects

Destinations & projects for your alternative spring break experience

Our popular Latin American destinations make it easy to minimize travel time and maximize your experience. Click and explore to find your perfect project. If you have a different destination in mind, let us know. We are glad to work with your group to create an unforgettable break.

Destinations/ Projects

Costa Rica – Turtle conservation

Save endangered sea turtles in Costa Rica

Millions of sea turtles nest on the pristine beaches of Costa Rica, including endangered Hawksbill, Green and Leatherback species. Your group will join a team of scientists and conservationists intent on protecting these animals and their habitat from poachers and pollution. Get involved in projects on either the Pacific or Caribbean coasts. You'll collect data, patrol nesting sites, and feed and care for sick and injured turtles. Helping ensure the future of these magnificent animals will make your spring break and experience you'll talk about for years to come.

Costa Rica–Work with orphans

Brighten the lives of orphans in Costa Rica

For children who’ve been orphaned, abused, abandoned or born to addicts, kindness and positive role models mean everything. You can make a difference volunteering  just a few hours a day. In addition to teaching basic English, you and your group will organize fun activities for the children–art, games, singing and the like. After just one week, you may find it difficult to leave Costa Rica and these beautiful children.

Costa Rica–Coffee farm coop

Be part of an organic coffee farm in Costa Rica

Grow your interest in sustainable farming with an unforgettable experience on a coffee farm in Costa Rica, where a local cooperative is helping farmers reduce or eliminate their use of conventional chemicals. You and your group will work side-by-side with local farmers to learn the practices, teach new alternatives, and of course, pick and enjoy some of the best coffee on earth.

Costa Rica–Construction and repair

Build a school/orphanage in Costa Rica

Behind the nicely-turned-out tourist spots, thousands of Costa Rica’s children and families struggle to keep a roof over their heads. Orphanages and homes are in desperate need of repair, while others still need to be built. You and your group can make a difference, even if you have no experience in construction. All that’s required is a strong desire to help.

Peru–Work with orphans

Bring laughter and hope to orphans in Peru

When a child is orphaned or abandaned, it's up to caring adults to step in. IFRE's orphan projects in Peru run with the atmosphere of a large family with full-time care and support. Just a few hours a day from you and your group can be a big help, teaching English, playing with the children and helping with basic education and life skills. A little time, a love of children and an interest in building a better world are all you need to make your break in Peru a week you'll never forget .

Peru–Work with street kids

Equip Peru's street children for a better tomorrow

Chronically malnourished children are everywhere in Cusco. Deprived of an education, they sell trinkets on the street to help their families. Your group can help expand their horizons, teaching computer skills, English and social skills. Even your love and attention as you assist in providing meals can make all the difference to a child. Your time here may be short, but positive role models make an impact that lasts. Peru and its beautiful children may very well change your life in return.

Peru –Work with street kids

Build a school or orphanage in Peru

When underfunded schools and orphanages become overcrowded or fall into disrepair, it's Peru's most unfortunate children that suffer. Even if you've never swung a hammer in your life, your group can help keep a roof over their heads. You'll work with a professional foreman, happy to match your skill level to the needs of a project. Whether you helped install a new window or repainted an existing classroom, you'll see tangible proof that your week in Peru mattered. It's up to you.

Brazil–Care for children

Provide childcare support to young parents in Brazil

In Rio's poorest communities, babies are born to alarmingly young parents. Childcare is scarce and expensive, so parents must choose between caring for their children and working to support their families. You and your group can provide much-needed relief, caring the the children while their parents go to work or school. Though it may be difficult to say goodby to children and community you help, be assured your positive influence will linger long after you return home.

Brazil–Computer education

Teach computer skills in Brazil

Computer literacy is essential to land a decent job in the thriving industry of hospitality and tourism, yet few of Rio's disadvantaged poor have access to computer instruction. Share your tech savvy with students of all ages and you can make a big impact in a short span of time. It's hard to imagine, but teaching skills we take for granted–how to conduct an Internet search, work with Word or Excel and other basics–can change the future for entire families. Are you ready?

Brazil–Graffiti project

Work with young graffiti artists in Brazil

In Brazil, graffiti art is legal, opening creative, nonviolent ways for poor young Brazilians to express themselves and be activists. You and your group can work with local artists in Complexo do Alemão, a group of favelas in northern Rio de Janeiro. Spend your spring break learning and sharing the techniques of this unique art form. The passion of Brazil's young artists is sure to inspire you. And you can be sure your talents and positive influence have changed the community for the better.

Brazil–Athletics project

Encourage kids to pursue sports and athletics in Brazil

Futbol and other sporting events are a national obsession in Brazil. But in the favelas of Rio, children seldom have access to coaches or any organized team effort. Bring your own love of sports to Rio and make a difference in the lives of these children. You'll have the chance to teach and coach everything from futbol (soccer) to volleyball, skateboarding, circus training, martial arts and more. Do good. Have fun. Go home with a big smile and a full heart. What more could you want from spring break?

Brazil–Music and dance project

Learn to samba in Brazil and pass on your love of dance

Do you samba? (Would you like to?) In Brazil, communities celebrate and mourn with music, regardless of socioeconomic level. Now you and your group can embrace this vibrant tradition and help it live on through volunteer oportunities in the favelas of northern Rio de Janeiro. You'll learn samba and bossa nova and other styles and teach them to local children in local community centers and schools. If you can't resist the rhythms of Latin America, you will absolutely fall in love with the Brazillian children who share your passion. They will touch your heart. So get moving–it's time to samba.

Guatemala–Work with orphans

Bring a smile to poor children in Guatemala

Without parents to love and provide for them, Guatemalan children face dire circumstances. Manpower and resources for orphanages is scarce. You and your group can make a difference even in just a few days. Teach English, organize games–and just as importantly, laugh, encourage, and play. Are you ready for a life changing experience? This is the project for you.

Guatemala–Women's project

Be a part of women empowering women in Guatemala

Trapped by lack of money, education or job skills, Guatemalan women may stay in abusive marriages in order to care for themselves and their children. You and your group can provide essential education and support, accompanying women to court trials, helping with workshops on women's health and more. You'll also help teach handicrafts so these women can gain financial independence. Bring your best intermediate Spanish and a passion for assisting fellow women find a better life for themselves and their children.

Mexico–Work with orphans

Make a difference at a children's home in Mexico

At a home in the busy Pacific port of Manzanillo, children who have been orphaned or need a haven from abusive conditions find refuge. You and your group can provide support and relief for the dedicated local staff. Help the children with homework, share your love of sports or music, and give them the skills they need to succeed in the future. A little time and care goes a long way with these kids. You may find it difficult to say goodbye.

Mexico–Turtle conservation

Save endangered sea turtles in Mexico

Fishermen and visiting volunteers save approximately 4,000 Olive Ridley turtle nests each year. However, turtles are still slaughtered every year for their meat and eggs, or die each year in illegal trawl nets. Join the conservation effort at the beachside camp in Campamento Majahaus. You will collect and relocate nests to a protected incubation corral, counting hatchlings as they come to the surface of the sand. Education and data collection are important to the project, as well as the future of these beautiful animals.

A sample itinerary

How will you spend your week?

When you join an alternative spring break volunteering program, your days are an enriching mix: volunteering, cultural immersion, interesting discussions, fun, free time, and lots of love. While each project varies somewhat depending on location and seasonal conditions, take a look at the following snapshot of a typical day in the program. While each project varies somewhat, here's what you can expect from your one-week intensive experience, filled with volunteer work, travel, fun and exploration.

Day 0: (Sunday) Your group arrives at the volunteer destination and transfers to host family, homebase or hostel, depending on the project.

Day 1: (Monday) Breakfast is followed by a brief orientation led by IFRE in-country staff. You'll get information on local culture, your volunteer project and your roles, important do's and don’ts, and safety and related issues. Questions are encouraged. Immediately after orientation, your group will be transferred to your project and your volunteer work begins.

Day -2- 5  (Tuesday- Friday). Work as a volunteer for 5-6 hours a day. Actual hours will vary depending on your service project, but for example, you begin work at 9 AM, enjoy a one-hour lunch break at noon, and work 1- 2 PM. Your day is done at 3 PM, leaving you free to explore the local area. 

After 2 PM, Leisure time. Your group can rest, explore the local area, hang out with other volunteers, study, or plan for the next day – whatever you want! This is your time to spend it how you like. If you do want to explore the area, please be careful and take advice and help from our in-country coordinator and local staff. They’ll give you lots of suggestions of fun places to go and things to do

Day 5-7 Travel and exploration (optional). With a sense of accomplishment and deeper understanding of your host area, your group is welcome to explore the country for 2 or 3 days before you take your leave.  Travel is not a part of alternative spring break program but IFRE is glad to suggest and help organize trips for your group, on request.

Costs / dates

The lowest program fees

If you’ve looked at other alternative spring break programs, you already know that IFRE offers the lowest price of any US-based company. We are a 501 (C) 3 non-profit organization, committed to providing safe, affordable volunteer opportunities to individuals and groups alike.Your price for a one-week program will be less than $1,000 and varies with your choice of destination.

The detail of the project, what’s included, what’s not included are given in this link http://www.ifrevolunteers.org/best_price.php

Dates

IFRE tailors your volunteer experience to coincide with the dates of your break. Click here to get started.

Contact us

To start the planning process, contact us either by emailing info@ifrevolunteers or manager@ifrevolunteers.org 

Top destinations