MEDLIFE: Perú y Ecuador

My name is Ashley Bratrud; I’m an Expansion Associate at the non-profit organization MEDLIFE. MEDLIFE partners with communities in impoverished regions of Peru, Ecuador, and Tanzania to increase their access to MEDS: Medicine, Education, and Development. Our mission is accomplished through Mobile Clinics, where international volunteers and local professionals work together to empower marginalized communities in sustainable ways.

MEDLIFE Mobile Clinic trips offer students a unique opportunity to utilize and expand Spanish language skills, whether beginners or advanced speakers. Throughout the week, volunteers assist local nurses and doctors in mobile clinics, participate in culturally sensitive education programs, and work on community focused development projects. Volunteers will gain language experience, while having a direct and tangible impact on the communities we serve and contributing to a larger, sustainable solution.

You can learn more about our work here:
What is MEDLIFE? (Video)
MEDLIFE Impact Document
MEDLIFE Patient Testimonials (Video)

Please share our organization with students or faculty members that you believe may be interested in a meaningful and responsible volunteer opportunity abroad. I would be happy to provide more information about the MEDLIFE movement.

Thank you for your time. I look forward to hearing from you!

All the best,

Ashley Bratrud

Spanish Immersion Trip: Guatemala, Spring 2017

Un grupo de estudiantes planea hacer un viaje a Guatemala durante las vacaciones de primavera 2017, y necesitan que vayan más varones/hombres. Si están interesados, por favor pónganse en contacto con Katie Draeger y consulten los siguientes sitios: y

Literacy Center of West Michigan, Grand Rapids

Hello and good afternoon!

I am reaching out to reconnect with you about opportunities for your students at the Literacy Center. At this time we are mainly looking for volunteers for our Family Literacy and Adult Tutoring Programs. Below I’ve included little postable blurbs about each program, please feel free to share these with your students, other staff, and anywhere you post student volunteer options. I’ve attached a flyer specifically for Family Literacy volunteers, you are welcome to print those out and share as well.

I would also be more than willing to come in and give a short presentation on the Literacy Center and what we offer for volunteers. If that is something you are interested in please let me know.

Any questions at all, don’t hesitate to ask! I look forward working with your students as volunteers.


Adult Tutoring Program – Is a one on one program for adults who want to improve their English language skills. Tutors can be from all backgrounds and are offered training and support form Literacy Center staff. They are matched up with a learner that best fits each other’s preferences. This is a 6 month 2hour a week commitment. The next step in becoming a volunteer here would be attending a volunteer orientation. We hold 4 per month. Orientations last about one hour. Give the gift of literacy and join our program! Anyone interested can contact Claira Freeman at

Family Literacy Program – Offers free English classes to the parents/caregivers of children in the Grand Rapids and Godwin Heights Public School system. Each month we hold 5-7 Family Activity Nights for parents and their families that need volunteers to help with set up, tear down, and facilitation of activities. Each event is about 2 hours and you can choose how many you would like to participate in. We want to help bring literacy home and have fun doing it! The next step in becoming a volunteer here would be filling out our applications. Anyone interested can contact Claira Freeman at

Claira Freeman
Americorps Volunteer Recruiter – Family Literacy Program
Literacy Center of West Michigan
1120 Monroe NW, ste. 240
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Phone: 616-459-5151

“Bringing about a just and vibrant West Michigan through the power of literacy.”

Upward Bound

We received this informational email from Upward Bound for the Fall 2016 semester:

The Upward Bound program is looking for academic coaches for this Fall semester. Academic Coaches facilitate active learning and tutoring sessions for first-generation college-bound students (9th-12th grade). Additional responsibilities include but are not limited to attending weekly meetings and completing student assessment forms each session. Compensation: $8.50/hour

Previous tutoring experience is helpful. Applicants must demonstrate a 3.0 GPA and academic expertise in one or more of the core subject areas (English, math, science and social studies). Students must be available to work Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday, 3:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m. Students with skills in Physics, Calculus, Chemistry and Biology are especially encouraged to apply.

Please submit:

Unofficial copy of most recent transcript
Fall semester schedule

Please Contact Yadira for additional questions,

Yadira Bautista

(616) 395-7745

Step Up Middle School Program

StepUp is a tutoring program for middle school students that takes place on Hope’s campus. Another great way to volunteer, have opportunities to use your Spanish and help local kids grow. Get your application in the first week or two of the semester if you’re interested in participating.

From their website:

An Afternoon at Step Up

The clock strikes 4:00pm and I hear footsteps getting louder down the hall. It is Wednesday, one of the many days Step Up students come to Hope College’s campus for academic mentoring and support. These middle school students are eager to learn from each other and their mentors. They sign in, pick up their snack, and head toward the classrooms in Dimnent Chapel. For the next hour and a half, students complete homework and grow their academic skills through extra projects and activities. Before long, their day ends at Step Up; the kids feel good knowing they have given 100% toward school.

Quotes from Students

  • “Step Up helps me do better on my homework and study more.” -Anelise, West K-7
  • “It helps me get my online homework done since I don’t have internet at home.” -Jaime, East K-7
  • “It has helped me study for class and in my assignments. This program will help me succeed in middle school and go onto high school and college.” -Erick, Macatawa Bay


Quotes from Mentors

  • “I have enjoyed making connections and helping my mentees to learn more and get more out of their school work.” -Christian, Sophomore at Hope College
  • “What I enjoy about being in Step Up is interacting with kids and being able to help them with their homework.” -Maribel, Junior at Fennville High School
  • “I’ve enjoyed meeting students and mentors and building friendships while helping others.” -Lisa, Senior at Holland Christian High School

CASA (Children’s After School Achievement)

CASA is an excellent volunteer opportunity for those interested in working with kids from Holland and in connecting with the local Spanish-speaking community. If you are interested in using your Spanish, when you fill out your application, request to be paired with a Latino child.

Applications are due during the first week or two of each semester, so act fast!

The following is copied from their website:

Promoting success at school and in life – one child and one afternoon at a time.

One of the surest paths to a happy and productive life begins with success at school – starting in the early years. Yet many children struggle in elementary school. But the good news is – when addressed early on – it takes just a little compassion and initiative to give these young people a boost that can last their whole lives.

Children’s After School Achievement (CASA), a community program of Hope College, was formed in 1987 to do just that in Holland, Michigan. CASA helps at-risk school kids before they slip through the cracks by providing free after-school tutoring and individualized summer school in addition to other educational and cultural-enrichment programs. In our first 20 years, hundreds of West Michigan youngsters have benefited tremendously through CASA. And we want to keep on making this positive difference for many more years to come.

CASA succeeds thanks to intentional programming, our dedicated staff, volunteers and generous supporters and financial contributors. Whether you are or might like to become a volunteer, donor, supporter, referring teacher or program participant, this site will help you join us in this important cause.

Adult ESL Classes

Volunteers needed for Adult ESL Conversation Classes offered through Neighbors Plus of Holland.

Help small groups of adults practice English conversation and follow teacher instructions during evening classes held in the library of Harbor Lights Middle School, 1024 136th Ave, on Holland’s north side. Class is held on Tuesday and Thursday nights from 6:45-8:30 p.m. starting Tuesday, September 13, 2016, following the West Ottawa Schools schedule.

Spanish speaking adults from a variety of countries attend class, as well as students from Asian, Eastern European and Middle Eastern countries. ESL classes are a ministry of Neighbors Plus, a Christian Community Development Organization in Holland. For more information, go to or email Linda Masopust at or call 616-643-8322.

ESL Sept 2016 Poster

Back2Back Internships

Melissa Porchik, one of our Spanish majors, is doing a two-month internship this summer with Back2Back in Cancun, Mexico. She wrote the following description for this blog:

Back2Back is a Christian organization that I have done a lot of work with in the past. I really love their mission, so I wanted to be able to have an internship with them that also gave me experience for my major. Back2Back partners with orphanages and community centers that are already well-established and help provide them with support to thrive in the five areas of wellness: spiritual, physical, emotional, mental, and educational. What I will be doing for my internship is focusing on the educational side by teaching English at a community center in Cancun, Mexico. The ESL program is new there, so a lot of it will be setting up an effective system. English is in really high demand in Cancun because in order to get a profitable job in the tourist area, you need to know English.

When I am not teaching, I will be working on projects in the orphanages and community centers based on the needs that they have. This could be painting, pouring cement, tutoring, gardening, etc. The really cool thing about Back2Back is that they are there all year long and they plan projects based on what the local community asks for. The goal is to support the community and promote holistic orphan care along with keeping local families strong so that they won’t have to give up their kids. While I am in Cancun, I hope to gain a lot of experience with running an ESL program, improve my language skills, strengthen my faith, and become completely submerged in Mexican culture.

Holland Free Health Clinic

I wanted to ask for your help in advertising an amazing opportunity for the Holland Free Health Clinic. We are looking for a volunteer that is proficient in Spanish to come in once a week either on Monday or Thursday to help translate for the Spanish speaking clients.

Holland Free Health Clinic (HFHC) is a localized, volunteer-driven initiative which engages health providers and other agencies in a collaborative effort to address unmet health needs. Through service, education, and empowerment, HFHC programs help patients understand the importance of a healthy lifestyle and empower them to take control of their health. Founded in 2002, HFHC has assisted the homeless, disabled, working poor, and unemployed with dental, optical, counseling, hearing, medication, diabetic support and spiritual care. HFHC’s services are in place to improve patients’ quality of life and the overall health of the community. Since the clinic’s inception, it has provided over $13,000,000 in life changing services.”

Regina Tan, Chemistry
Hope College, 2017

VE Global Volunteers

From all of us at VE Global, we wish you a wonderful new year and hope that all has been going at Hope College, Department of Spanish.
My name is Charlotte Bonillo, and I’m part of the Communications and Development team at VE Global, a non-profit volunteer organization providing free volunteer abroad opportunities in Santiago, Chile. VE Global fosters the development of children at social risk in Santiago de Chile by recruiting and training volunteers to do volunteer work in the areas of literacy, arts, health and recreation, and English.
We receive our volunteers in groups that start every year in January, May and September.  Our next volunteer classes start in May and September of this year, and we are already working to find some great volunteers!
We think that some of your students would be interested in our programs forvolunteers abroad.  We have some new volunteer informational brochures and flyers that we hope will help your students learn more about our volunteeropportunities.
Would you be able to share this information about our volunteer program in Chile with your students? We would appreciate it if you could, as it will definitely help us in finding some great new volunteers to work with the at-risk children and youth we support in Chile.
We wanted to make these outreach files available in a couple of different ways for you, depending on what’s easiest for your organization:
If you need more information about VE Global, please let me know I will be glad to help you.
Thank you!