Service Teams

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El Hogar welcomes Service Teams – church groups, community groups, and youth groups – most weeks of the year to help with physical projects, which can include landscaping, construction, or painting. More importantly, teams come to spend time with our children and teachers, learning from and building relationships with them. Although most teams come from churches, there is no requirement that teams be affiliated with any faith tradition.

About our children . . .

Students at our four centers range in age from 6 to 18 and come from all over Honduras. Many of them have parents or extended family, but live at El Hogar because their families cannot care for them. Some go home on weekends or school breaks to be with their families. For others, El Hogar is their only home – their only family.

Our students are welcoming and enjoy interacting with Service Team volunteers. However, it is important to remember that many have come from abusive situations, so interaction needs to be initiated by them.

Being Part of a Service Team Provides the Opportunity to . . .

Be part of a small group of people interested in serving others, while having the chance to:

    • See a part of the world vastly different from our own.
    • Witness and understand the devastation of poverty.
    • Grow spiritually and to see the hand of God at work in the world.
    • Live with and get to know young children whose lives are being transformed.
    • Try something new, such as building a wall, planting trees, or tutoring a child in English.
    • Practice your Spanish.
    • Share your talents with the children.

Tips for Travel

    • Teams come to serve, not to change or fix things.
    • If things don’t go as expected, ask questions and listen carefully to why and how Hondurans do things differently.
    • Be gracious and have an open heart.

Concerns About Safety

We realize that traveling to a developing country like Honduras can be a moving experience, but one that also raises a number of questions or concerns. We are often asked about safety from violence or protection from Zika virus by prospective Service Teams. Please be assured that the safety of our Service Team members is a top priority for us. To give you some information, we’ve put two handouts together that should address your questions.

If you need additional information, please contact the El Hogar offices by phone at 781-729-7600 or email info@elhogar.org.


Links to More Information


Service Team Forms and Documents


Service Team FAQ’s

 How much does it cost to go to be part of an El Hogar Service Team?

 The cost of traveling to El Hogar breaks down as follows:

  • Room, board and local transportation fee (nonrefundable) – $250 a week per person*
  • Project fee – $2,500 per Service Team*
  • Airfare to and from Tegucigalpa, Honduras
  • Discretionary funds – about $50 – is recommended per person

* (These items should be mailed to our Woburn office prior to the trip.)

 How large can a Service Team be?

 The ideal size for a team is 12 people, but no more than 15. (Teams of 10 people or less require approval.)

 Is there a minimum age required for Service Team members?

The minimum age is 15.

 How do I begin to plan a Service Team trip?

 Contact Margo Mingay with questions: 416-696-7682 or simply submit an Application via email to mmingay@elhogar.org.

 How long do we stay in Honduras?

 Service Teams stay for one week. Teams staying at the elementary campus in Tegucigalpa arrive and depart on a Saturday.

 Do we all have to travel together?

 The whole team should plan to arrive in Tegucigalpa around the same time, so you can be transported as a complete group to El Hogar.

 How do we schedule a week at El Hogar?

 Contact Margo Mingay at El Hogar Ministries at 416-696-7682 or mmingay@elhogar.org.

 What time of year do Service Teams go to El Hogar?

 Service Teams can visit El Hogar from February through October.

 Where do Service Teams stay during their visit?

 El Hogar provides Service Teams housing in volunteer houses located on the elementary campus. The volunteer house has bedrooms, a bathroom, kitchen, and sitting room. Sheets, blankets and pillows are provided, but team members should bring their own bath towels. The accommodations are basic, yet comfortable. Hot water and electricity can be intermittent. Clean, bottled water will be provided.

 What do Service Teams eat during their stay?

 Most days Service Teams eat all three meals in the dining hall with the children. Meals frequently include fresh tortillas, beans, rice, eggs, chicken and seasonal vegetables and fruit. Some of the produce, eggs, and meat is grown at the Farm School. There are times when the team visits other areas in or around Tegucigalpa and may eat lunch at a restaurant. Volunteers can bring snacks such as granola bars, crackers, dried fruit, coffee, tea, or other treats. Clean, bottled water will be provided.

 Do we have to speak Spanish?

 It is best if someone on your team speaks at least conversational Spanish. It is not necessary for everyone to speak Spanish, but Service Teams are encouraged to prepare by learning some basic Spanish phrases.

 How do we get from the airport to El Hogar?

 You will be met at the airport by El Hogar staff. They will help you change money, and will drive you in a van or bus to El Hogar.

 What kind of work does a Service Team do?

 Service Teams come to El Hogar to offer service in many forms. Primarily, teams are involved with projects requiring manual labor, such as painting or doing construction. No training is necessary for these projects. Some teams offer other specialized services such as dental and health care, or teacher training. All teams are highly encouraged to interact with the children of El Hogar as much as possible. When teams are not working, they spend time playing with the children – soccer, basketball, marbles, cards, arts and crafts, drawing, reading and just talking. Service Teams may also spend time visiting some of the neighborhoods and homes that our children come from. Teams sometimes visit areas in or near Tegucigalpa, the capital city where El Hogar is located. Teams visit the other centers of El Hogar Projects: the Technical Institute, the Agricultural School and Farm, and the Girls High School.

 Do we need to bring tools for our project?

 No. Tools will be provided. It is advised to bring work gloves, work boots, safety glasses and potentially ear plugs. Bring work clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty!

 What is the weather like?

 The weather is generally around 70-80 during the day and 50-60 at night. It’s a bit hotter during the summer months and a bit cooler during the winter. It is rarely extremely hot and humid in Tegucigalpa because it is situated in the mountains.

 Can we bring gifts for the children?

 Yes, but with some caveats: We ask Service Teams not to give things directly to the children, but instead to bring them to the Director. Because the children live in community, like a family, it is essential for the staff to treat them with fairness and equality. They take great care not to create situations where some children feel left out or unfairly deprived of something.

 I (or my church or organization) sponsor a child. Can I bring them a gift?

 If a sponsor or other Service Team member wants to bring something special for a child, please make it something that can be shared. El Hogar does not give the children personal belongings. They have everything they need. The children particularly like to receive letters and photos from their sponsors. Having you visit them is the best gift you can bring.

 Can we bring supplies that El Hogar needs?

 Yes! Many Service Teams bring supplies, such as clothing and school supplies. This is very welcome and appreciated. To learn what items are currently needed at El Hogar, please contact Margo Mingay, at mmingay@elhogar.org.

 When do I have to send my funds to El Hogar Ministries?

 Please send your funds according to the following schedule: 5-6 months ahead of your trip – deposits of $250/person (room and board fees); 1-2 months ahead of your trip – $2,500 project fee.

 Is it safe?

 There is some risk associated with travel to a developing country, but El Hogar takes many precautions to keep Service Teams safe. The primary source of danger is from crimes of theft or personal injury. The government is stable. Detailed guidelines for safety can be found in the Service Team Handbook. It is important for everyone to follow these guidelines to ensure the safety of the whole team.

 How far in advance should we sign up for a Service Team?

Our Service Team program has become very popular over the past few years and time slots fill up quickly. If there is a certain time you are interested in going we advise contacting El Hogar as early as possible, and submit an application. Contact us by phone at 416-696-7682 or email us at mmingay@elhogar.org.

 What travel documents are necessary to visit Honduras?

From Canada and the U.S., you will need a passport that expires at least six months from the date you plan to exit Honduras.  If traveling from other another country, you should to check the requirements.

 Are there any Medical requirements to enter Honduras?

 There are no immunizations required for travel to Honduras. However, you should check with your physician before traveling.  Bring all personal medications, both prescriptions and non-prescription, in their original containers.