Program FAQs

General Program FAQs

Is Nicaragua safe?

Despite the country’s tumultuous political history, Nicaragua is considered one of the safest countries in Central America. The US Bureau of Consular Affairs does not offer a specific travel warning to American citizens travelling to Nicaragua but does offer guidance for volunteers traveling abroad. Amped also registers each volunteer with the US Embassy in Managua through the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to ensure that State Department is aware of volunteers in the country.

How will my trip fee be used?

Most of your trip fee will be used to cover construction materials for the school, including labor for some of our contractors. Some of the donation goes towards Amped’s operational expenses. Both of these portions of your trip fee are fully tax deductible and we will provide you with an exact figure and a receipt for tax purposes. The remainder of your fee will cover expenses such as lodging, travel, food, and excursions. If you have any questions about how your donation is being allocated, please contact doug@ampedforeducation.org for more information.

Why should I pay to volunteer?

Amped volunteers don’t pay to volunteer in Nicaragua – they pay for the invaluable experience of immersion in a proud and vibrant community that benefits tremendously from the help they provide. By donating to Amped for Education and joining us on a trip, you’ll do more for yourself and for Nicaragua than you ever thought possible: travel, adventure, community, cultural experiences, service, and fulfillment are all covered in your donation. Your donation also gives you the opportunity to make a lasting, tangible difference in the lives of whole families that will positively impact the entire community.

What do volunteers typically do on Amped projects in Nicaragua?

We work in several Nicaraguan communities, including Nueva Esperanza and El Coco, starkly poor suburbs of Granada, Nicaragua where Amped has helped open a secondary school and built two additional classrooms for the neighboring primary school. We work where the need is greatest in the country, so specific projects vary from trip to trip. Amped has previously constructed houses for top students, laid brick for new classrooms, set channels for water run off, dug a latrine, and laid foundation for a new school. The specifics of each trip will be provided to the chaperone (or individual volunteer if not traveling with a group) in the weeks before departure.

How long has Amped for Education been guiding trips to Nicaragua?

Amped has been leading trips to Nicaragua since 2010, at a rate of two or three each year. We only work in areas in which Amped is already familiar and with vendors with which Amped has developed good working relationships.

Who should I contact if I want to bring a group to Nicaragua?

Contact jeff@ampedforeducation.org to learn more about leading a group to Nicaragua. Amped will provide you with detailed timelines, instructions, deposit information, and travel information to provide to your trip goers.

Can I volunteer if I'm not part of a group?

While we do focus on groups of high school and college students, we encourage anyone who wants to volunteer to join in on any trip. We’ve had many individual volunteers join group trips, or come to Nicaragua separately. Contact jeff@ampedforeducation.org to find out when we have groups in Nicaragua and discuss your trip!

What is Amped’s discipline policy? Could volunteers be sent home?

Amped volunteers are subject to all Nicaraguan laws as well as the rules of the places we stay. Amped provides guidelines for volunteer policies before a trip commences. If Amped for Education believes a volunteer poses a serious risk or detriment to the group, they may be sent home at their expense. These disciplinary decisions are made exclusively by Amped Group Leaders and are final and absolute.

Can I go on a trip with a group of friends/family/coworkers?

Absolutely. Anyone can join an existing trip or come with a group of their own. There is no minimum number of people for a group, and we offer a free trip to anyone that brings more than 13 volunteers.

How do I reserve my spot on a trip? Do I have to make a deposit?

If you’re ready to sign up for a trip, you can contact an Amped team member to get you started. Amped requires a deposit of $350 to reserve a spot on a trip, which can be paid via our website or via a check made out to: Amped for Education 32 Warren Ave Whitman, MA 02382. If submitting payment online, click the DONATE tab at the top of our website and in the memo line please put the volunteer’s name. Deposits are due 90 days before the trip. The remainder of the trip fees must be paid at least 45 days before departure.

What is the age limit for volunteers to Nicaragua?

The minimum age for volunteering in Nicaragua with Amped for Education is 15, unless your legal parent/guardian volunteers on the trip as well.

Is high school/college credit available?

In the past, Amped volunteers have received both high school and college credits for their work with us. Amped will help with whatever we can, within reason, to assist with paperwork in helping volunteers receive academic credit. Volunteers should check with their academic institution prior to the trip.

Is Nicaragua safe for volunteers with disabilities?

Nicaragua is not a country well suited for volunteers with disabilities. If a volunteer with disabilities is interested in joining Amped in Nicaragua, please contact jeff@ampedforeducation.org for more information.

What will volunteers gain from this experience?

Amped is committed to providing an enlightening, life-changing experience to its volunteers in Nicaragua. We hope to instill our volunteers with a sense of purpose, gratitude, service, and possibility as they work with people in one of the world’s forgotten corners to create new opportunities for children. Many volunteers return from Nicaragua with a profound sense of purpose and appreciation for education, and Amped works to ensure each volunteer returns home with the assurance that anything is possible.

Can a volunteer stay for more than one week?

Yes, we’ve had volunteers stay for extended periods and we tailor long-term trips to individual needs. Contact doug@ampedforeducation.org for more information about how to stay in Nicaragua with Amped for a longer trip!

If I refer someone to a trip, do they get a discount on their trip/do I get a discount on a future trip?

We don’t currently employ a referral program for volunteers, but we do apply discounts for chaperones who bring large groups. If you refer a group leader who brings 13 volunteers, we’ll take $250 off your trip and throw in some Amped gear for your help.

Are trip costs tax-deductible?

Because we are a tax-exempt 501c3 nonprofit organization, a significant portion of your trip donation to Amped for Education is tax deductible. Contact katy@ampedforeducation.org for more information on tax deductions and receipts.

Do volunteers need to know Spanish?

Volunteers do not need to know Spanish. Amped provides Spanish lessons during the first days of the trip and will provide a number of Spanish phrases and vocab for volunteers to practice before they come to Nicaragua.

Do I need any special skills to volunteer in Nicaragua?

No, just a good attitude and an open mind. Amped works with local contractors at the job site and all labor is supervised by experienced workers. You’ll be shown how to do all the tasks that appear on a Nicaraguan job site, from sifting stone to mixing concrete to laying brick.