Work, Play, Love – Hogar Heroes
Orphanage VolunTOUR Programs In Guatemala
Serving as an orphanage volunteer in Guatemala with Hogar Heroes can be a truly rewarding experience. With the opportunity to personally touch the lives of orphan children, our volunteer programs offer an exciting chance to make a difference.
If you are interested in joining one of our volunteer trips, we will be happy to have you! But we understand that some groups have different timing concerns and would like to help in other ways. That’s great, too. We are eager to get you in touch with the appropriate resources. We can work with you to plan a trip with us, or we can help you find another way to get involved. No matter the size of your group, there is always a need for assistance.
VolunTOUR With Us
Kim Melia, one of the founders of Work, Play, Love and the Hogar Hero Program, currently organizes 3-4 volunteer trips per year. Working with the orphanage directors, Kim typically plans these trips 2-3 months in advance. This helps to ensure that we can do as much as we can upon arrival. While the hectic and dynamic nature of the orphanages makes it difficult to foresee all the needs of the orphanages, one thing is certain: all of our volunteers will bring greatly needed support and smile to the children’s faces.
Be sure to check our site frequently for updates on new trips and orphanage volunteer programs. Please feel free to contact us with any questions you may have as well!
Why I Became a Hero:
Having lived in Guatemala for a year and a half, I saw first hand many of the problems Guatemalan families and children face every day. I have witnessed the extreme poverty in rural areas and how living below the poverty line often results in poor nutrition, a lack of education, little or no medical care and shoddy living conditions.
I wanted to elevate these beautiful souls and help them create a better future for themselves and their families.
The Work, Play, Love Family:
The staff, volunteers, partner organizations and other Hogar Heroes are truly in it for the right reasons. I see how much they truly care about giving these children a better future. Hogar Heroes encourage these little ones to set goals, learn skills and go back to their villages ready to make a better life.
Working with the Children:
I’ve spent a lot of time with the children at the Hogar in Guatemala. Despite their hardships, the children at the orphanages are always smiling. They love playing with you, reading, jumping rope, singing, laughing – all the happy things a child should experience.
Personally, I love when the children help teach me Spanish. The language barrier never matters. They patiently wait while I repeat a word until I get it right, and later we can all laugh about my pronunciation!
It’s all about being in the moment, when you’re with those little ones. Being in Guatemala with the children we are helping is a rewarding experience that changes you and touches your very core. When you leave the Hogar, your life has been changed forever. You’ll never forget those faces, smiles, and giggles because they now have a permanent place in your heart.
I have been so blessed to be part of the Hogar Hero Program.
WPL – More Than An Experience – The Lasting Impact
I don’t think there could ever be just enough preparation for a trip like this one and I knew that going into it but was ready with an open heart and a empty camera for whatever we encountered. I have come to believe that I will continue to learn about ‘love’ and ‘how to love’ until the day I die.
The love of an orphan is so pure and raw. The ways that they share that love astound me and have made me think how much more I could be loving even daily in my own life. They often times reflect hearts of unconditional love and affection. Conditional being their circumstances that they have overcome with the ability to still pour out love on those that they have known a mere 5 minutes, to those they have known for many years. Over the week I spent working, and playing I did a whole lot of learning about loving. It’s a different part of love, one of it’s many colors, sizes and forms. I get choked up just thinking about it. It’s one thing to know about this kind of love, it’s a completely different to experience it and have it impressed upon your heart.
I’ve worked with Kim to produce a mural in Guatemala in January 2014. It was a really fun experience to work with the kids at the orphanage. It was a really positive environment and such a privilege to get to interact with the people you are actually helping. The experience has influenced me to be more of a giving and altruistic person.
I’ve been blessed to travel the world since a small child, but nothing could have prepared me for the life changing trip to the orphanage with Work, Play, Love/Give Orphan’s Hope. Just arriving at the airport, being transported in the orphanage’s rough running van, climbing mountains I wasn’t sure we would make it up, instantly I knew I was in a very different place.
I was worried that not knowing a lick of Spanish would hinder me from having the fullest experience with the orphans, boy was I wrong. Entering the gates of the campus, sounds fancy but it wasn’t, I was greeted by countless children begging for my attention. Running up to me, not knowing who I was, where I was from, hugging my legs, smiling, jumping in excitement.
Love is the universal language of these kids, so it didn’t matter there was a language barrier. Being a single parent of two children, I was dumbfounded that the orphanage, while not new by any means, was very organized and cleaner than most teenager’s rooms. I was also shocked that during the school year the older children get up every morning before school, around 5 or 6 to clean the campus.
My heart was broken over and over tho, realizing simple daily pleasures in my life weren’t available to these kids. The kids shared toothbrushes (until we got them their own). There was no warm water to bathe with. Most the children had rotten teeth. All the school aged children walked miles to and from school through terrain and areas I wouldn’t dream of walking thru willingly in my own country. All the possessions of a child fit in a locker, but most weren’t filled up even halfway.
- I shared many precious moments with the orphans…
- Listening and singing to American music, the kids new all the words to.
- Dancing, doing yoga at any point during the day.
- Playing with the church group that brought games and food for the kids to enjoy.
- Taking walks in the village and seeing these orphans giving back to those even less fortunate than they.
One of my favorite memories on my trip, was taking several of the children to the city for a shopping excursion. With just a couple hundred dollars we were able to let the kids pick out their new wardrobe, complete with shoes, socks, pants, shirts, sunglasses, hats and more. They were more than thankful and honestly taken back, because they had never been able to get new stuff they could call their own.
Before our shopping trip was over, we took the kids out to eat. The kids hadn’t ever ordered from a menu, one child ordered an entire roasted chicken. We realized that one child who was with us, it was his birthday, he’d never had a birthday cake, much less a birthday party. So of course we ordered desert, sang to him, and I fed this grown child his first bite of birthday cake. It was a moment I will remember forever.
My trip was mixed with feeling pain for the impoverished children, but thankful and my heart warmed, knowing that this non profit is making such a big impact to improve their quality of life one donation, one trip and one child at a time.
I had the opportunity to visit the Hogar in July 2016. I have known Kim Melia for many, many years and I knew without hesitation that it was a special place before I ever arrived. But there was no way that I could truly have an appreciation of the work and the love that goes into caring for the boys and girls that live there without seeing and feeling it myself. I think somehow I had in my mind a vision of an ‘orphan’ as a child that is without love and without hope. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. These are children that have experienced some very traumatic and unfair circumstances. But they are not without love. In fact, I think they are loved more than many children are. Karen and Estuardo, and all the wonderful staff that work there, go above and beyond to love, care for and inspire every child that enters their world. I remember Karen speaking to a group of volunteers and saying to us that God had a plan for her and that everything happened all in “God’s time”. Well, I think the group of staff, volunteers and of course my friend Kim Melia were very much a part of that plan and these children are blessed in ways that matters the most. They are loved.
Travelling to the Hogar changed my life in such unexpected ways, I couldn’t emphasize it enough. As a person with below average Spanish speaking skills at first I was a bit intimidated, but this became the catalyst for experiences I could have never dreamed of. The connections I made between the young people I met during my time there formed quickly and deeply. You never truly realize how much of human interaction isn’t verbal until that part is taken off the table, and I feel like I learned much more about their character and hearts without it. The part that is unexpected is how much they will teach you about yourself so subtly and quickly, you will learn of lessons that transcend the culture shock and language barrier: the ability to find the good in the worst of situations, the healing power of a smile or a hug, the ability to feel like a stranger is a family member just a short hour later. These things cant be put into words, despite my best efforts. So much happened on this trip, memories that I wouldn’t trade, friendships that can’t be matched, and Love that I’ve never experienced before. While the kids are definitely craving the love and friendships you will present them with, there’s no possible way to match the gifts they leave in you. It is overwhelming, in the best of ways, and I can’t imagine time better spent anywhere else. You won’t regret a moment of it.
My first trip to the hogar was back in 2010 and it was a truly life changing experience. Estuardo and Karen have built an warm, safe (not to mention fun) home for the boys, and now girls too! Spending time with the kids at the hogar is truly eye and heart opening. From walking the kids to school, to playing soccer after school, to eating dinner together, every day is a new adventure. You will learn as much from your time with the kids at the hogar as they will from you. And if you’re trying to sharpen your Spanish skills – you will never mind a more patient group of teachers to learn from than these kids!
More Volunteer Stories
“Who knew that less than a week at Hogar Miguel Malone with Work Play love would be so life changing. It was incredible to see how much love each child was willing to give and receive. The connections formed not only with the kids but with the people I went with will forever be special to me. My trip to Guatemala was an experience that I will never forget” -Eva Hughes
“Visiting and volunteering in Guatemala was the most rewarding experience of my life. Feeling the abundance of love in the kids’ hearts became the sweetest and the most special moments I could ever imagine. Being able to show them the love they deserve back was the greatest gift I could have ever asked for”- Paris Binney
“My time at Hogar Miguel Magone with Work Play love was the most rewarding and eye-opening experience of my life. Playing and sharing my love with the kids was an absolute blast, and the friendships I made will always have a special place in my heart. Leaving the orphanage, I gained a greater appreciation of how and where I live my life, and hopefully I’ll be visiting again soon! “- Ethan Lee Bellows
Make A Difference
Meeting the demands of the boys’ and girls’ orphanages means responding to what is needed most. This means that we do not have a standard trip or volunteer schedule. We work closely with the administrators and staff to identify key needs and find ways to help them accomplish their goals while ensuring the greatest possible impact for the children. From painting a school or building a house to helping to teach a class or just hanging out with the kids, choosing to volunteer is an impactful choice. By providing these children with the resources and interaction they need, volunteers are an integral part of the Hogar Heroes mission.
Orphaned children face difficult circumstances. By taking part in orphanage volunteer programs, you can show these children the love and respect they need and deserve. Simply spending time with these children goes far in ensuring their ability to enjoy childhood and grow into healthy, productive adults.
Spread The Word
Help us spread the word about Hogar Heroes by sharing this page with your friends and family!
Join one of our scheduled trips to the orphanages or get in touch to learn how you can set up a trip to Guatemala with your group.