Volunteering

8 Annual Arizona Walk for Missions

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Join Us and Support the Walk!

We’re thrilled to join our friends from OCMC and the Arizona Walk for Missions at another great event in Tempe, AZ this year.

As in year’s past, we’ll raising funds for both Project Mexico and OCMC.

ABOUT:
This project began eight years ago under the direction of Antonia Adams Clement. Antonia, and a committee of representatives from varying Orthodox Churches, from multiple jurisdictions, representing the entire state of Arizona, came together and through the Orthodox Christian Mission Center Ambassador Program, they discovered that 26 Orthodox Christians from Arizona had served the Church as missionaries abroad.

Through this program the fellowship began sharing their experiences and decided to support Project Mexico through funding tutors for our boys at St. Innocent Orphanage.  Speaking to the Arizona Clergy Council (Antiochian, Coptic, Greek, OCA and Romanian member organizations), each parish selected a representative and the Arizona Walk for Missions was born.

Support the Walk with a Donation!



WHEN:
Saturday, May 4 th 8:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.

WHERE:
Kiwanis Park
Tempe, AZ


 

2019 Summer Internships Open!

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Introducing 3 exciting new internship roles for Summer 2019!

 

Anyone who has been involved in a home building trip with Project Mexico knows that our faithful and hardworking interns are at the heart of everything we do. Interns from across the nation dedicate their entire summer to living in basic conditions in Mexico. They work diligently alongside our home building coordinator to facilitate 600+ volunteers to build homes for impoverished families in Mexico.

 

They become part of daily life on the ranch, helping maintain and prepare all that is needed for the arrival of volunteer groups. Not least of all, they become family to the boys of St. Innocent Orphanage. Our internships can be a milestone of spiritual growth and maturation. For many it has been both a transformational and life-defining experience.

 

If construction isn’t your thing but you desire to serve with us next Summer, then we have some great news for you! In addition to our homebuilding intern positions, we have expanded our program to include the following new positions:

 

Group Facilitator (must have youth leadership experience): Your main responsibility will be to mentor, supervise and facilitate the other interns, conducting debrief and processing groups, provide one to one guidance, assisting in coordination of intern activities and trips and facilitate volunteer group discussions.  Seminary, teaching, youth work, camp staff experience would be very helpful. This position may suit school teachers or seminarian students/graduates.

 

Media Intern: Your main responsibility will be to document through photographs, video and writing: the volunteer groups, home builds, families, events and activities of the boys of St. Innocent Orphanage. You will also be responsible for hospitality of Volunteers both on the build site and ranch.  Depending on your skill you will be assigned to a media role and work with Project Mexico’s marketing team. You will also work in other areas as needed.

 

Medical Intern:  If you have medical training, such as first aid, CPR, EMT, Nursing, please indicate the experience, any certifications, experience, or training you have.  We hope to have several trained individuals on staff each summer.

 

The positions above may overlap depending on a volunteer’s skills and experience and the number of suitable candidates who apply.

We are now accepting applications, please submit your applications before November 30th, 2018.

Update Me!

Fill in your contact info and download HomeBuilding 2019 Internship Application Form.

Building Homes and Relationships by Olivia Neslusan

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As I sit on an old wooden bench, warm Mexican sun beating down on my hair, and the laugher of young boys playing on the soccer field in the distance, I cannot fathom the fact that my time here at the ranch is winding down. This summer has gone by in the blink of an eye, but contrastingly, it feels like I have been here forever. Looking back at this time last year, I was an eager group member dreaming about being accepted into this internship position. One week simply just wasn’t enough for me, and I couldn't wait to apply and spend three months here at this incredible ranch.

I had so many expectations of what I thought this summer would be like based on my past experiences here and what I heard from past interns, but quickly I learned that it is so important when doing mission work similar to this, to have no expectations and have an open mind. The summer was full of laughter and tears, and certainly was exhausting at times. Building a new home every week and having the energy to greet each new team like it was your first is something that is both beautiful and challenging. But more than the build, this place and this summer for me has been about building relationships.

Theodora and I arrived two weeks later than the rest of the young adult interns that would dedicate their summer to leading home building. In my journal on the first day of arrival I wrote about how I was nervous that close relationships and friendships had already formed, and perhaps we wouldn't get to know the other 17 interns as well. This trivial worry quickly faded within the first couple days. It is so beautiful and easy to connect with other young Orthodox Christians. Growing up in the faith and sharing the same values is something that allows us to truly connect on a deeper level, and I know that these will be people I stay in contact with long after this summer is over.

Connecting with the 19 boys here at the orphanage, though, has been by far the most rewarding part of this experience. Boys ranging in age from eight to eighteen live on this ranch, and each of them have their own vibrant and inspiring personalities and stories. Between group activities and home builds, we get the opportunity to spend as much time as we please with them. Despite their backgrounds of neglect, these boys are some of the most loving people I have ever met. They are eager to learn more about you, make you laugh, and if you are lucky, they sometimes share their personal stories about their past.

This summer the ranch was blessed with three new little boys ranging from eight to ten years old. Immediately after arriving here in this new home, the boys were always eager to participate in church and had so many questions about the faith. It was truly something special to see how they transitioned with such grace. It is a challenge, however, especially with these three new little boys, to connect with them without getting too close and allowing them to get too attached. It is so obvious that they need love from the way they run up to almost any female who they are familiar with and cling to them calling each one “Mama.” Although this can be tough at times, it is comforting to know that the family here at the ranch will indeed give them the love and permanency they so desperately need and want.

That is what is so special about this place.

It is a community where everyone is a part of the family that makes up St. Innocent Orphanage and Project Mexico. It is going to be bittersweet to leave this country and its people, but I leave knowing that this was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, and also knowing that it was not really me who made it, but rather God who called me to be here.


Home Building Registration Opens October 18

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2019 Home Building registration opens Thursday Oct. 18, 2018 at 9 am Pacific Standard.

We're excited to build hope with you next year!

Summer 2019 Dates:

  • June 6 - 12

  • June 18 - 24

  • June 27 - July 3

  • July 9 - 15

  • July 18 - 24

  • July 30 - August 5

  • August 8 - 14

Five Essential Items for Mission Work Abroad by John Touloupis

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The Essentials

After a beautiful month of building homes in Tijuana, Mexico, my fellow interns and I have compiled an essential packing list of must-haves for your trip. 

We’ve been able to learn from first-hand experience and compiled what we believe to be the top five most important items to bring for your trip. 

While not 100% essential, we think it’s good to bring the following:

  • Sunglasses (preferably cheap ones, not your favorites)
  • Sunscreen and Aloe (especially if you burn easily)
  • Chapstick/Lip Balm
  • Basic toiletries (you would be amazed by how many people forget soap)
  • Chacos or Birkenstocks, a solid pair of shoes or work boots for build days
  • Donations for the boys of St Innocent 

 

Below are the Top Five essentials for your Mission work in Mexico!

Number 5: A Solid Hat

The sun in Baja can be especially brutal during long days on work sites. A good hat that covers your face and/or neck definitely helps keep the sun off of your face so you can maintain your energy levels throughout the day.

 

Number 4: Your Favorite Water Bottle

Like I said I said previously, it gets REALLY hot. Staying hydrated throughout your time on site and on the Ranch is absolutely crucial!

 

Number 3: Small Bills (No currency larger than $10) 

During your trip, we may visit the city of Rosarito for lunch or dinner at the local taco shop, or for cool treats at an ice cream parlor. Most vendors don’t accept big bills, so having a couple of smaller bills in your pocket is always a smart idea.

Pro tip: If you can exchange dollars for pesos find the best rate with a simple google search and bring some! 

Number 2: Snacks

After a long day of hard work, it’s good to have some of your favorite snacks back at the ranch. And even though the food on the Ranch is delicious, if you know you are the type of person who likes to snack late at night then definitely bring some.

Your fellow Interns will certainly be grateful if you remember to bring enough to share!

Number 1: Warm Clothes/Sweats

Yes! You read that right.

Surprisingly, the temperature drops into the 50s and sometimes as low as the 40s during the night. Also, the Ranch gets a cool breeze from the Pacific every now and then. Definitely have enough layers so you feel comfortable at night hanging and when it’s time to sleep. 

All of us interns hope this list helps and we can’t wait to see you!

 

Painting Hope

When we think of paint, what comes to mind?

For many, we think about someone, an artist perhaps, sitting comfortably in the process of depicting a colorful picture with vibrant colors or using a specific color to paint a certain room in a house.

But, what do these images have in common?

Both reveal that it is a preference to some people to reveal their own uniqueness through their color choice or what they are composing on a canvas; a method of expression.

That is exactly what Project Mexico reveals through the use of lime whitewash used to finish families’ homes around Tijuana built by our generous volunteers. Through our work with Project Mexico, we bring to light our uniqueness.

The lime wash is not just a color but it is a symbol of hope. Project Mexico is an organization that was built on hope and when we finish a home with lime paint, it tells a story.

A story, experience, and communion with humanity shared by those who worked long hours on the home to provide shelter for a family in need.

Each time we pass by a white, lime-washed home built by volunteers and missionaries through Project Mexico, it instantly uncovers a story of hope and a symbol of love and strength.

It reminds us who we are as an organization and what we stand for.

By Emilia Gimmaka