email: volunteer@otracosa.org

HELP Youth

For children to play, learn and be creative in a safe and inspiring environment.

HELP Youth has evolved over the past several years from a skate ramp in a small shanty town, to a robust youth development program encompassing swimming, football, arts & crafts, healthy lifestyles and other activities.

The Skate Ramp is up in the hills on the outskirts of Huanchaco town, in an area not visible from Huanchaco itself. This shanty town area is called Cerrito de la Virgen and most of its inhabitants come from ENSO phenomenon (El Niño Southern Oscillation), a natural climatic occurrence that caused excessive rainfalls in 1997/1998 and resulted in US$ 3.5 billion economic losses in Peru. The Peruvian government didn’t have the capacity to cope with the resulting housing crisis that left millions of Peruvian families homeless. In La Libertad region, authorities located some of the ENSO victims on the very arid land of Cerrito de la Virgen. These people had no choice and were made no promises by the government; there was not even electricity or water available for the new inhabitants. They were simply placed there and had to start making their lives again. As a consequence, the needs of the children, including their education were put aside while their parents were more worried about surviving.

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The children living in Cerrito did not have access to a particularly stimulating environment, or much to amuse themselves with and as a result they tended towards misbehaving and acting up. However, our volunteers saw a lot of potential there, realized that with a little attention and some activities, these children could really flourish. With some land donated from the local surf school, the volunteers mobilized and built the Skate Ramp to offer a fun and stimulating environment for the children to play in. More recently activities at there have been supplemented by swimming and surfing camps, which allow our participants to enjoy a local resource they previously didn’t have access to: the ocean. Additionally our football camps provide skills training and impart values like teamwork and sportsmanship.
Since 2015 we’ve managed to expand the skate ramp, adding a classroom that allows us to implement programming in music, environmental education, the arts, and just about anything you can think of. This space serves as a hotbed for volunteer ideas, where everyone brings their own skills and passions to contribute something unique to the project.

During the summer holidays (December-March) our swim, football programs are in full swing, and the ramp/community center is open for a morning and late afternoon shift. Generally, however, the ramp/community center is open Monday – Friday (15:00-18:00) for the rest of the year.

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Volunteer and Internship Opportunities

HELP Youth: Skate Ramp Coordinator

All of our HELP Coordinator positions are higher-level volunteer positions for more experienced volunteers with strong leadership skills, who are looking to coordinate and manage one of our own Huanchaco Education and Learning Program (HELP) projects. In this position, you would receive supervision from OCN staff and you would be responsible for overseeing and supervising the other volunteers assigned to your HELP project. There is a lot of room for creativity in these positions. You will be expected to have a great deal of initiative in helping to create the structure by planning, organising and facilitating the schedule of meetings, events, and activities for your project.
The main goal of this project is to offer children a safe place to play, while providing the children with positive role models. The role of the coordinator is a leadership role, which involves supporting up to three other volunteers working on the project and being the person who is in charge of the day-to-day running of the ramp. The coordinator has responsibility for opening and closing the ramp, holding weekly meetings with the other skate ramp volunteers to discuss ideas and issues, managing the (limited) budget and reporting to OCN staff through fortnightly meetings. If you enjoy working with children, have a sense of fun and understand the importance of being a good role model then you cannot miss this volunteer opportunity!

Volunteer Roles/Working Hours
Tasks include:
• Opening and closing the ramp (Monday-Friday from 3:00-6:00pm)
• Supervising the other skate ramp volunteers (up to three people), including running weekly team meetings
• Managing the skate ramp budget
• Teaching skateboarding and games to the children and overseeing the non-skate activities in the side classroom
• Instilling the values and importance of good manners
• Looking after the facility: tidying-up, cleaning, basic repairs and ensuring proper care and maintenance.
• Bringing new ideas about how to improve the space and add new appealing features for children.

Volunteer Requirements
• Age 21+
• minimum intermediate Spanish level
• Minimum commitment: 3 months – the longer, the better.
• Good people skills, as you will be supervising other volunteers
• Able to cope with active streetwise children.
• Empathetic, responsible and open-mind personality.
• Volunteers should have some experience of teaching or working with or looking after children, and may be subjected to a full criminal record check.
• Leadership and discipline are must for this position. Experience in skateboarding would be an advantage, but not mandatory

HELP Youth: Skate Ramp Volunteer

Volunteer Roles/Working Hours
The main task of volunteers is organizing a schedule with activities that will suit the children and might help their development. Tasks include:
• Teaching skateboarding and games to the children. Levels of skating ability vary greatly and not all of the kids go to the ramp to skate. Other activities depend on what the volunteers organise, but include other sports (especially football and volleyball) and games, Lego, drawing and crafts such as making friendship bracelets. During the year, more educational activities like homework help, english lessons our environmental workshops would be greatly appreciated as well – each volunteer bring their own strengths which will be translated into these activities!
• Instilling good values and reinforcing the importance of good manners. One of the most important elements of the volunteers’ work at the skate ramp is to provide a positive role model for the children. This includes encouraging them to share skate boards, to say please and thank you and to treat each other well.
• Looking after the facility: tidying-up, cleaning, basic repairs and ensuring proper care and maintenance.
• Bringing new ideas about how to improve the space and add new appealing features for children. Previous examples of this have included construction of new ramps/jumps, larger-scale repairs and painting murals.

Volunteer Requirements
• Age 18+
• Basic Spanish level. We can arrange classes for your arrival if you have no Spanish or need/want to boost your level.
• Minimum commitment: 4 weeks – the longer, the better.
• Able to cope with active streetwise children.
• Empathetic, responsible and open-mind personality.
• Volunteers should have some experience of teaching or working with or looking after children, and may be subjected to a full criminal record check.
• Leadership and discipline are must for this position. Experience in skateboarding would be an advantage, but not mandatory

HELP Youth: Swimming Instructor (January-March)

During many years have we taken the children to the beach during their summer vacations (January-March), and the summer of 2016 we started to give organised swimming lessons to the children. We work based on a stage system, where the children work their way through each stage acquiring new skills and expanding their knowledge on water safety. The children will receive a certificate for each stage they pass, which helps both children and volunteers to ’keep the eye on the prize’!

Volunteer roles/Working hours

  • Plan and carry out swimming lessons in the ocean with the children from our projects, which is the environment where they will be most likely to swim.
  • Plan and carry out swimming lessons in a swimming pool, where you can focus on developing the skills to complete each stage.
  • Teach the children about water safety.
  • Safely bring the children to and from the ocean/swimming pool

Volunteer requirements

  • To be a swimming instructor or have previous experience teaching swimming is not obligatory, but definitely a plus. At least one of the volunteers teaching swimming needs to have previous experience as a swimming instructor.
  • Minimum spanish level: Basic to intermediate – the better you can communicate with the children, the safer it will be for them, and the more will they learn. At least one of the volunteers teaching swimming needs an intermediate-advanced level of spanish.
  • Previous experience and a passion to work with children

You are donating to : Otra Cosa Network

Your support makes it possible for us improve education opportunities and social development in the communities where we work around Huanchaco. Creating lasting change through local empowerment. You can Donate by Bank Transfer if you wish.

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