Teaching street children in a youth centre helping children from challenging backgrounds

  • Teaching street children English and IT and helping with their homework clubs
  • Help by teaching and creating recreational activities in music, sports and art & crafts
  • A christian based project but open to all
  • Suitable for volunteers wanting to teach English as a foreign language

Project summary

Teaching street children in this project that provides educational support and healthy meals to children from the age of six, living in one of the tougher neighbourhoods of Puerto Vallarta. The children are not homeless but come from poor backgrounds, with parents on a low income that they may work extremely long hours to earn, or possibly being involved in crime, prostitution or drugs.

The children attend school for half the day, but typically would be on the streets with no parental supervision for the remainder of their day. The centre provides a safe and friendly meeting place for them, with both fun activities and homework support available to them.

In total there are some 60 children attending. Around 25 come to the centre in the morning at 10am, have lunch there and then go to school in the afternoon, returning after school. 35 children are at school first thing, then arrive at the centre for lunch and stay on for activities and homework clubs in the afternoon.

All types of participation from volunteers is welcome; teaching street children in English in particular, helping with the children’s homework, giving training in IT on the 8 computers they have, plus more recreational activities such as dance, music, drama, sports, art & crafts (face-painting and puppetry are quoted as being in demand). It is a wonderful, positive project with the open opportunity for a volunteer to make their own impression.

Also basic workshops are given for their parents to try and help them with employment, in addition to bible study classes which are a required commitment from the centre.

The children and staff speak Spanish so it is a perfect opportunity for volunteers to become fluent in the Spanish language.

This project is suitable for volunteers interested in teaching English, working with street children or with experience in social care.

Volunteer roles and responsibilities

This is a great project offering volunteers the opportunity to support the education of the children and to lead a variety of recreational activities, including singing, dance, music, sport, craft and art. There are also weekend activities that you could get involved in.

The timetable is very flexible and can adapt to include any sessions that volunteers want to lead, which would be enthusiastically welcomed by Captain Alberto, who enthuses over the diversity of activity for the children.

In addition to teaching, volunteers are needed to help with meals and other pastoral / caring type work. The children put on concerts (mainly singing) and you may be asked to help with these.

There are also workshops for parents, to encourage them to earn their own money and to promote self-help. These are usually through crafts or sewing.

How you can make a difference

The existing staff are full of passion and work extremely hard to provide the structure and resources they do, while trying to finance it as well.

Volunteers can make a huge impact by supporting the educational activities, giving more time to the children and helping them develop. The energy and talents of volunteers then brings a new dimension to the activities at the centre and the lives of the children.

What is distinctive about this project:

Teaching street children is a vibrant project that is clearly delivering great indirect social benefits for the children; supplementing their education and keeping them safe, engaged and entertained during the day. It is ideal for volunteers who want to work with children, teach English and leading extra-curricular activities, plus it is applicable for those volunteers considering a career in social care, or experienced social workers who want experience in an alternative environment.

Blue Tiger Features:

The nature of this project means that it is recommended for volunteers with a mature and confident outlook and in particular those who either have experience or a thoughtful desire to gain experience in this area. There are rarely other volunteers at the project, so volunteers need to be confident in their ability to integrate with local staff and work with a level of autonomy, albeit under the direction of staff.


The centre closes for a few weeks around school holiday dates to be confirmed at time of application.


The children and staff speak Spanish so it is a perfect opportunity for volunteers to become fluent in the Spanish language.

Experience required:

There is no specific experience required to support this project, as it will suit anyone wanting to teach and work with children, but a level of maturity and independence is required, and any social working experience welcomed.

Good to know:

Puerto Vallarta enjoys more than 300 days a year of sunshine with an average temperature of 25 degrees C, which can make for warm working conditions but explains why Puerto Vallarta is a popular tourist destination for those attracted by the beach, water sports and Mexican culture.

Price table

4 weeks8 weeks12 weeks16 weeks20 weeks6 months

Includes: Comprehensive travel insurance (supplements may apply to older travellers). Accommodation, food, airport transfer, travel to projects, in-country support, excursion. One week of 121 tuition in a small group.
Excludes: Flights, visas, vaccinations

Things to see and do

  • Whale watching
  • Beaches
  • The Old Town

Country co-ordinator

Greta Ruiz

Greta lives close to our project base in Puerto Vallarta and has been working with us since 2006. She lived in London for three years where she completed her MSc in veterinary science. In addition to supporting our volunteers she now works as a Pilates instructor. She is brilliantly organised and works relentlessly to improve our programmes and offer support to the Mexico volunteers.

About Mexico