GET INVOLVED

Each year we select committed individuals to serve in the clinic and dedicate themselves to the rewarding work we do in Guatemala. We seek thoughtful, diverse, and hardworking volunteers. For every application, we consider the applicant’s volunteer and academic history, Spanish level, length of commitment and enthusiasm. 

VOLUNTEER   INFO

General medicine graduates, fourth year medical students, and nurses will work together to assist patients performing medical check-ups mainly to children as well as distributing medications. The clinical volunteers will work together with other foreign and Guatemalan medical volunteers, in addition to a Guatemalan doctor. You will have the opportunity to work with and get to know staff members not only in our medical program but also in the many community health education programs that Primeros Pasos provides. Medical volunteers should be able to examine the patients in Spanish, answer questions/doubts and write prescriptions. click anywhere to close
We are looking for students and/or dentists who are interested in helping our dentist during clinical visits. The dental assistant will also participate in the preparation of dental education workshops for students during mobile clinics. click anywhere to close
The Community Outreach Facilitators will work alongside our Outreach Director as well as other members of staff. You will help to provide health and nutrition education to the Palajunoj Valley. Tasks include, but are not limited to: managing check-in for mothers at nutrition charlas, measuring weight and height/length of mothers and children, presenting information relevant to the charlas, designing a curriculum for the education program, researching best practices for both the nutrition and education programs, and giving out surveys (encuestas) designed to measure the effectiveness of the outreach programs. You will have the opportunity to interact directly with community members and participate in the outreach programs. click anyhwere to close
As part of our Communications and Development Team, you will be working alongside our Development Director as well as other members of staff, to ensure the long-term sustainability of our organization. You will be enhancing Primeros Pasos’ online presence and visibility by updating and improving our social media sites and working on our website itself. Other tasks include, but are not limited to, researching and networking, grant writing, researching, collaborating with other organizations, and going into the communities we serve. click anywhere to close
The financial management assistant will help with financial operations for the clinic. An ideal candidate has accounting experience, is comfortable with charity financial models or has a great desire to learn and can work independently from a remote location. The volunteer will work with the Financial Director of Primeros Pasos and the Inter-American Health Alliance Board. Emphasis will be on the quarterly reports and annual tax filing. click anywhere to close
Medical Professionals
Spanish Level - Advanced
Minimum Commitment - 4 Weeks
Dental Assistent
Spanish Level - Advanced
Minimum Commitment - 4 Weeks
Community Outreach Facilitator
Spanish Level - Intermediate
Minimum Commitment - 4 Weeks
Communications and Development Volunteer
Spanish Level - Basic
Minimum Commitment - 4 Weeks
Financial Management Assistent
Spanish Level - Basic
Minimum Commitment – Remote when necessary; minimum once quarterly and help with the annual review

INTERNSHIPS & RESEARCH

Internship and research opportunities are always available at Primeros Pasos. Most of our volunteers pursue independent projects apart from the traditional positions, and over the years volunteers have helped us develop curriculum, implement new systems, evaluate our data, and other important projects that insure the success of the clinic. 

FAQS

ARE THERE COSTS ASSOCIATED WITH VOLUNTEERING?

Primeros Pasos is a grass roots, low budget organization that relies on the generosity of our volunteers and supporters to provide quality health care at the Clinic.  Operations depend heavily on donations, both monetary and in-kind. We ask all volunteers to fundraise the equivalent of 300 USD on behalf our organization before or during their time with us so that we may continue to provide medical and educational services to the communities of the Palajunoj Valley. This goal can be met either by fundraising or collecting supplies or a combination of the two. As a volunteer you will become a representative of Primeros Pasos and by fundraising not only will you provide needed funds and supplies but you will also raise awareness about our work here in Guatemala.

IS THERE AN AGE LIMIT FOR VOLUNTEERS?

Primeros Pasos does not accept volunteers under 18 years of age. We do not have an upper age limit, however all volunteers must be in good physical shape: able to walk mid-long distances, able to stand for hours of work, etc. This can be discussed on an individual basis.

CAN I VOLUNTEER FOR PRIMEROS PASOS REMOTELY?

Yes, it is possible to volunteer for Primeros Pasos Remotely. If you qualify for either as the Development Researcher, Communications/Social Media, or the Financial Management role, it is possible to arrange a schedule of volunteering remotely. Please apply to volunteer to discuss more thoroughly.

ARE INTERNSHIPS AND RESEARCH AVAILABLE?

Yes, internships and research opportunities are always available at Primeros Pasos. Most of our volunteers pursue independent projects apart from the traditional positions, and over the years volunteers have helped us to develop curriculum, implement new systems, evaluate our data, and establish other important projects that help ensure the success of our clinic.

WHAT WOULD BE A STANDARD DAY OF VOLUNTEERING AT THE CLINIC?

It varies greatly, depending on which type of volunteer you are. However, for volunteers who are working on-site at the clinic, your day would start at around 7:30. At this time, you will either be walking or taking the bus to the clinic. Your tasks will vary based on what kind of volunteer you are and what is currently needed. You are expected to volunteer until 1PM. At this time, volunteers typically take the bus back to Quetzaltenango. In the afternoon, volunteers have plenty of free time to improve their Spanish, explore the city, or take a nap.

WHAT SERVICES DOES PRIMEROS PASOS OFFER?

Within the three main programs--medical, dental, and outreach--Primeros Pasos offers a wide variety of affordable healthcare options to members of the nearby communities, including free vaccinations, affordable pharmaceuticals, doctor’s appointments, and more. Staff members also go into the communities with mobile clinics, nutrition education, and health outreach.

HOW MANY DOCTORS DOES PRIMEROS PASOS HAVE ON STAFF?

Primeros Pasos currently has one doctor on staff, Doctora Maria Jose Morfin. Additionally, there is a dentist on staff, Dr. Francia Angel.

WHAT IF MY SPANISH IS NOT VERY GOOD, CAN I STILL VOLUNTEER AT PRIMEROS PASOS?

Depending on which kind of volunteer program you’re interested in, you can still volunteer with Primeros Pasos. Positions like the Development Researcher, Communications/Social Media, or Financial Management Assistant do not require a high level of Spanish. However, positions where you interact with patients or the community do require a more advanced comprehension of Spanish. As a medical, dental, or nutrition education volunteer, it is required that you can understand and appropriately respond to the patients and community members.

IS THERE A MINIMUM OR MAXIMUM TIME THAT I CAN VOLUNTEER WITH PRIMEROS PASOS?

There is definitely not a maximum amount of time that you can volunteer with Primeros Pasos. We do ask that, if on site, you at least volunteer for four weeks. Remotely, minimum times vary based on volunteer opportunity. Please check the “Get Involved” page for more information.  

WHERE CAN I LIVE IF I DECIDE TO VOLUNTEER WITH PRIMEROS PASOS ON SITE?

There are many options for you to live in Xela. You can either live with a host family, typically arranged through a Spanish school, or you can find a room to rent in the city.

WHAT AM I EXPECTED TO WEAR WHEN VOLUNTEERING AT PRIMEROS PASOS?

When volunteering at Primeros Pasos, you should wear business casual clothing but air more on the side of casual as opposed to business.

WHAT IS THE WEATHER LIKE IN XELA?

Quetzaltenango has two seasons, rainy and dry. Rainy season is from May to November, and dry season lasts from December to May. It can get cold year round, so please bring layers and warm clothing. The temperature fluctuates between the highlands and the rest of Guatemala, so take that into account while packing.