Youth Outreach Volunteer

CENIT - Quito, Ecuador
Quick Facts: Placement ID: IND-18 Location: Quito, Ecuador Sector: Social Services Category: Child and Youth Work Min Duration: 8 weeks Lodging: BaseCamp or Host Family Language: Intermediate Placement Fee: 100 USD
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Volunteer Job Description

The street and market outreach program is one of the largest programs at CENIT and is the foundation of the organization.

CENIT mobilizes the daily assistance of 25-60 national and international volunteers, as well as Ecuadorian social workers, to go to 6 different market sectors that has a dense population of child workers. Once there, the volunteers engage the children in a variety of activities designed specifically to provide an enjoyable break from their market work and at the same time introduce them to the pleasure of recreational, educational, social and health oriented activities.

A youth outreach volunteer´s goal is to convince parent(s) to enroll their child in a suitable educational program. For those children who are already enrolled in school, the volunteers encourage the families to utilize programs such as CEA, the after school center or one of the many other educational, social, and health programs that CENIT conducts.

In four out of the six markets, volunteers work with children who's average age is between 5 and 10 years old. In the two remaining markets volunteers work with teenage boys; the majority of which are shoe shine boys. In these markets, a youth outreach volunteer strives at all times to be a dedicated positive role model and provides the boys with constructive activities, such as soccer matches. Many of these boys are already deeply entrenched in street life and the presence of CENIT volunteers who's primary role is to help these boys can do much by encouraging the boys to participate in sport activities that provides an outlet for their energies and perhaps enables them to cope better with gang pressures and street realities, such as drug use and petty crimes when they are confronted.

An average of 160 working children and 30 adult family members regularly participate in this program.

Volunteer Tasks Required

Street Outreach Volunteer

Volunteers need to be committed to working in a group environment every weekday morning and must have a working knowledge of Spanish since they will be working directly with working children and their parents. Volunteers are expected to be punctual and very motivated. They must be innovative and flexible and able to modify plans as needed. Volunteers must develop and maintain constant communication with the children, their families, other volunteers and coordinators. The youth outreach volunteer must be at CENIT for a minimum of two months and must speak a intermediate level of Spanish.

Activities With Street Children

This project aims to identify and establish contact with working children by providing educational, recreational, social, and health oriented activities in locations of dense population of working children, such as the markets. Its primary goals are to provide stability and routine in the children’s lives, provide social services, familiarize the families with CENIT¨s programs and to help prepare the children for entrance into formal schooling.

Outreach Daycare Center

A youth outreach volunteer may be asked to assist in CENIT's project aimed to provide children aged 5 and 6 with a solid educational foundation, acculturate them to a learning environment and teach them basic life skills so that they will be more likely to successfully continue the education process. CENIT hopes that children who participate in this program will be motivated and permitted to attend a public educational institution upon completion of the kindergarten. Many of these activities are specifically designed to promote dexterity, positive hygiene practices and social development.

Academic Support Center

A youth outreach volunteer at CENIT may be asked to work at the academic support centre -- CEA which functions from Monday to Friday in the morning and afternoon with two separate groups of children. A volunteer may participate in either session or both sessions; it is not necessary that a volunteer works Monday through Friday but they must work a fixed schedule. The volunteers help the children with their homework and help the teacher monitor the children. They also provide educational and recreational activities for children who have already finished their homework. Ideally, volunteers would provide the discipline and structure necessary to create positive study habits. CEA volunteers should recognize that it is a place where children should feel safe and that CEA should reinforce that learning can be fun.

Host Organization Details


Centro de la Niña Trabajadora (CENIT) is a non-governmental, non-profit organization that is dedicated to providing opportunities for Ecuadorian youth. This organization was started as an attempt to address a number of social issues that were escalating due to events that took place through the 1980's. In the late 1970's to the late 1980's many countries throughout the world entered into a recession, due in part, to a drastic increase in oil prices. As a result, these countries began to need assistance. Ecuador, began to borrow more and more money, however, they were finding it difficult to repay the loans due to high interest rates and little economic surplus.

The debt crisis (as known by many people in Ecuador) occurred throughout many countries in Latin America and as a result countries like Ecuador were so far in debt that they could not pay the loans back. During this period, the social infrastructure in Ecuador began to crumble and many people lost their jobs. There was no money to put into improving educational or medical facilities. As a result, working children became a common sight on the streets of Quito and in most Latin American cities.

Since this phenomenon began, many programs and centers have been formed to assist in supporting males to find employment and aid. In 1989, frustrated by the lack of attention paid to the specific problems confronted by working girls, a group of concerned Ecuadorian citizens founded Centro de la Niña Trabajadora (CENIT).

The founding members of CENIT wanted to create a program that was focused on creating opportunities for young girls who were unable to attend school, who did not have access to safe drinking water and who were not able to access health and medical care. By developing and implementing educational and vocational programs, CENIT is helping working girls and their families overcome barriers and receive essential necessities. They have created many opportunities for young women, such as, a basic education, job training and access to recreational games.

CENIT is run by a group of nuns from the Sisters of the Good Shepherd. These nuns work in conjunction with Ecuadorian paid professionals (including teachers, administrators, social workers and psychologists) and around forty to fifty foreign and national volunteers. They work hard to locate child workers, befriend them and their families and eventually integrate them into an educational program.

Does this organization have any religious affiliations?

This organization is lead by the Sisters of Good Sheppard and they are dedicated to providing opportunities for all Ecuadorian youth, in need. However, Catholic children are invited to take religious classes. The nuns are very open and they also offer family planning and sex educational classes.

When They Were Founded

This organization was founded in 1989 by concerned Ecuadorian citizens in response to observations that the prevalence of child laborers in Quito had increased greatly due to urban migration, debt crisis, and an increase in poverty. They sought to give these children the necessary skills, talents, and education so that they could find work away from the streets and hopefully break the cycle of child laborers. CENIT is run by a group of nuns from the Sisters of the Good Shepherd. These nuns work in conjunction with Ecuadorian paid professionals (including teachers, administrators, social workers and psychologists) and around forty to fifty foreign and national volunteers.

Who They Work With

According to a study conducted by UNICEF in 2007, over 100 million children live and work on the streets. In Quito, the capital of Ecuador, many children work as vendors on the streets, where the average work day is at least 10 hours long. In addition to selling items, most children are required to do chores when they return home. Young girls typically have an additional six hours of work at home caring for their younger siblings and doing housework. As a result these children are not able to attend school, severely limiting their future opportunities.

Females are also more vulnerable than their male siblings in terms of sexual abuse, incest, teenage pregnancy, physical abuse, a higher probability of being forced to work, discrimination at school and in the work place, and have extremely low self-esteem.

Every year CENIT directly serves 1,000 girls and their family members, as well as, an additional 4,000 individuals indirectly. CENIT strives to maintain a long-term relationship with these children and their families to ensure that girls spend less time on the streets, enjoy a childhood free from abuse, and realize their educational dreams.

How Are They Funded

The foundation's main funds are obtained from international organizations, both religious and secular, as well as some government funding from within Ecuador. A small percentage of funding comes from private donations.

Donation Requests

Any school supplies, recreational games and toys, as well as, common medicines and hygienic products are greatly needed, such as: children's vitamins, cough syrup, Tylenol, Aspirin, Ibuprofen, band-aids, as well as, Lice Shampoos, Hand Soap, Toothbrushes, Toothpaste and Sun Screen. Numerous school supplies such as: pencils, scissors, glue, notebooks (line and graph), colored pencils, pencil sharpeners, markers, activity books (in Spanish), children's books (in Spanish), board games, puzzles, as well as, jump ropes, soccer balls and playing cards. Any of these items would be very much appreciated by all.

Placement Location Information

Quito, Ecuador

Centro de la Niña Trabajadora, (CENIT) provides a variety of support services to working girls and their families to help them rise out of grinding poverty. CENIT works to improve the quality of life in whole communities.

Working children and their families seldom find their way to CENIT on their own. For this reason, the CENIT's Outreach Program goes to them. Each day, staff members and volunteers organize artistic or occupational activities and take them out to children and families working in various sectors.

Activities emphasize fine-motor skills, creativity and group cooperation. The Outreach Program provides a welcome respite for working children, an opportunity for educators to encourage children to return to formal education and hope to families living in extreme poverty.

The Outreach team staff work hard to maintain CENIT's connection with communities and to lead many children and adults to CENIT each year.

Transfer From BaseCamp

Walk down two blocks to 6 de Diciembre Street. Take the Ecoula at Sauces Station to the south. When you get to Alamedas Park, get off and walk across the park to take the trolebus. You will travel for about 30 minutes and get off at the last stop, across from the Quicentro Sur Mall. Walk from the station two blocks and you will arrive at Huacho Street and the Cenit building.

Distance & Time

Distance from BaseCamp: 14 KM
Travel Time from BaseCamp: 0:50

Weather in the Area

Because Ecuador is located on the Equator line, Quito's weather is very unique. Due to the Equator, Ecuador has no seasons; there is summer and winter. The year has six months winter and six months summer but the number of months for each changes from time to time.

Because Quito is so high up in the mountains, the sun is very strong and the wind blows really hard; it can get pretty cold at night. Quito always has a temperate climate with temperatures ranging from 10 to 27 ° C.

City/Village Description

Quito or also called "Luz de America", is the capital of Ecuador; a country located in South America, on the Equator line. Quito is considered one of the most beautiful cities in South America because of its amazing colonial architecture, historical sites, fantastic landscapes and panoramic views all surrounded by incredible mountains, rivers, parks and volcanoes.

Quito was founded in the 16th century by the Incas Tribe and is located at an altitude of 2,850 meters above sea level.

Centro de Quito, (colonial city) is the largest and best conserved colonial city in South America; this is why the UNESCO named it a "World Cultural Heritage Site" in 1978. The city's structure on the 320 hectare compound is an outstanding example of superb architecture from the sixteenth to the twentieth century; surrounded by volcanic stone with very narrow streets within, (built stone by stone), there is much to see.

The historic centre of Quito has ancient colonial homes, priceless churches, chapels, monasteries, convents, as well as plazas, museums and republican buildings with interesting architecture.

Once outside of the historical centre of the city, Quito takes on a completely different personality in the “new town” where many high rise and government buildings are found.

Though Quito is old and historic, the public transportation is fairly efficient and the city is served by a network of buses that travel throughout most of the areas; it is a cheap way of getting around. Since the city is very long and narrow, it is divided into three zones and many buses run in each zone of the city.

Currently, the heart of the capital is full of vigour and culture, such as "Heritage Nights" where citizens and visitors can enjoy the unique attractions in the, "jewel in the crown of Ecuador", through images and videos.

Nearest Medical Clinic

Enrique Garces or Hospital del Sur
Chilibulo y Av. Enrique Garces
TEL 1: 593 022660252

Placement Address

Huacho 150 Y Jose Peralta

Accommodation and Meals

All of our volunteers begin their stay in Ecuador at our BaseCamp Center in Quito. Given that this placement is less than a 1 hour and 15 minute commute from BaseCamp, volunteers working here will have the option of living with us at BaseCamp or living with a host family.

The following information outlines a brief description of life at BaseCamp and also what someone can expect living with a host family in Ecuador. Once you have completed our application, you can let our staff know if you would prefer to live with a host family. Otherwise, your application will default to having you live with us at BaseCamp.

If you have any questions about the difference between life at BaseCamp or life with a host family in Ecuador you can always give us a call or send us an email. Our contact details are listed in the footer of every page of the site.

BaseCamp Ecuador

BaseCamp Ecuador
BaseCamp Ecuador Address

Juan Rodriguez E8 - 72 Y
6 De Diciembre
Quito, Ecuador

BaseCamp Ecuador Contact Details

Tel: 593 2-254-7737 (Guest House Jazmines)
Mobile: 593-0-998-221-438

BaseCamp Ecuador is located in the trendy Mariscal district of Quito. Within easy walking distance of banks, restaurants, internet cafes and more; BaseCamp in Quito is perfectly situated for any need. Whether you are taking advantage of the rich and vibrant night life of La Mariscal or visiting a local market, BaseCamp Ecuador is always just a few minutes away.

There are six dormitory style guest rooms and five wash-rooms. Pillows, sheets and blankets are provided. There are two common areas on the main floor, including a small resource centre, containing books, magazines, games and other Ecuadorian publications. As well there is a large selection of local movies and documentaries which are available for guest viewing. In addition to the two common areas, BaseCamp Quito has a rooftop terrace, the perfect spot to watch the street come awake with a morning cup of coffee, or spend an afternoon relaxing in the sun.

BaseCamp Quito is also the orientation and training centre for international volunteers visiting Ecuador. In addition to accommodation and meals, BaseCamp Quito also provides volunteers with orientation, Spanish Language training (1 - 8 weeks), placement consultation and work plan seminars, as well as follow up and continued support while volunteers are at their placements. All of these services are available to guests who are interested.

Living With a Host Family in Ecuador

Living with a host family in Ecuador is a fantastic way to gain a deep understanding of and appreciation for the people and customs of the country. Each home-stay will provide a bed and three meals per day for our volunteers. The majority of host families offer private rooms with only one or two volunteers living with the family.

In the case of a volunteer lodge or ranger station (which is often the only option for placements within a National Park), volunteers will be living in dormitory type accommodation and meals will be provided in a mess hall or dining area.

Living with a host family can greatly enhance your performance at your placement. For one, it will have a huge influence on the speed with which you gain familiarity with the local language. This, along with your deeper understanding of cultural practices and beliefs that you are likely to gain in this environment, can go a long way to improving or strengthening your relationships with your team mates at work. Furthermore, a significant percentage of our host families are closely affiliated with the organizations with which our volunteers work. As such, even the evening meal or hanging out around the house can become valuable time during which volunteers can share their ideas and continue their support of their host organization.

All of this being said, living with a host family is not for everyone. It is very important for volunteers to honor the house rules in their host family and to be punctual. Also, depending on how remote your placement location, host families can be very rustic. Our staff in country can give you a better idea of what exactly you can expect from a host family in any particular community. However, in general, if these things sound like they might pose a challenge for you, we strongly suggest that you look at a placement within commuting distance from BaseCamp Ecuador.

How the Program Works

Our program structure and costing is completely flexible which lets our volunteers ensure that they only pay for exactly the degree of support that they want.

Option 1 - Free Services

Some volunteers prefer to coordinate their own accommodation, meals and other support while overseas.

Anyone is welcome to use our volunteer placement search tool to help in finding a placement that is well suited to their interests. Once someone finds a placement that they wish to work with, they are welcome to make all the rest of their arrangmeents on their own.

As well, our team of staff overseas are often able to offer a few helpful pointers for volunteers 'doing it on their own'. Just send us an email with your questions and we will put you in touch with our team abroad. We only ask that you keep your requests fairly general, as this type of advice is exactly how our team earn their living. :)

Option 2 - Placement Support - 250 USD

Other volunteers would like assistance in selecting and confirming their placement, but they plan to manage their own accommodation and other expenses on their own.

These volunteers have the option of choosing to only have our assistance with selecting and confirming their placement. This option also includes ongoing placement support while abroad, so a volunteer would be able to ask our team for help if things at their placement were not working out.

In providing Placement Support, our team works with each volunteer through email, telephone and either Skype or Google Hangouts, to ensure that each volunteer has a clear understanding of their placement options. Our in-country staff will put together a custom list of placement options for each volunteer that they believe are the most appropriate matches with the volunteer's background, skills and interests. Then each volunteer can work with our team both in Canada and abroad to go through each of the options and narrow-down their selection.

Option 3 - Full Program Support

For most volunteers who are volunteering for less than a year, they are looking for an option that includes their accommodation, meals, airport reception, country and program orientation and placement support. This is what our Program Fees are designed for.

We are proud of how over the years we have ensured that our program fees are amoungst the most reasonable of any program in the world while we continue to provide exceptional volunteer support both at home and abroad.

Our Program Fees and listings of what these do and do not include are listed below:

Program Fees

Program Fees - Ecuador

  Registration Fee
  1 Week
  2 Weeks
  3 Weeks
  4 Weeks
  5 Weeks
  6 Weeks
  7 Weeks
  8 Weeks
  Additional Weeks

Ecuador wildlife and conservation placements require an additional $7 USD per day fee to cover park fees and accommodation. All program fees are listed in US Dollars.

What is Included
  • Pre-Departure support
  • Placement consulation
  • Airport reception & transfer
  • 2 Day orientation
  • Accommodation (BaseCamp or host family)
  • Breakfast and dinner
  • Emergency & placement support

What is Not Included
    Before Departure
  • International flight
  • Travel medical insurance
  • Visa costs where required
  • Work permits where required
    While Overseas
  • Daily transportation to and from placement
  • Transport to airport on departure
  • Placement fees if requried

Placement Fee Alert

This placement has a placement fee!

In some cases, a placement will have to take on certain expenses in order to host a volunteer. For example, some medical internship placements take time away from paid medical staff to help with educational assistance. This has a cost that is compensated by a placement fee. In other cases, the organization may have to pay for additional equipment, energy consumption or other expense in order to put a volunteer to work.

In such cases, the organizaiton charges a fee. This fee is paid directly to the organization in cash on the ground.

One of the reasons that we keep this fee separate is so that volunteers who do not pay us for accommodation, meals etc (Program Fees), will see that they will still have to make this payment directly to the organizaiton upon their arrival.

The placement fee for this organization is: 100 USD

Program Dates


The following is a list of all months during which this placement is not available.

  • July
  • August

Our regularly scheduled program start dates are the first Friday of each month, every month of the year. We strongly recommend beginning your program on one of these dates as this will allow you to go through our orientation alongside other international volunteers.

If you would prefer, our application will also allow you to select a custom start date for your program. Keep in mind that there is an additional fee for a custom start date which ranges from 50 to 75 USD.

Feb 04, 2022 Mar 04, 2022 Apr 01, 2022
May 06, 2022 Jun 03, 2022 Jul 01, 2022
Aug 05, 2022 Sep 02, 2022 Oct 07, 2022
Nov 04, 2022 Dec 02, 2022 Jan 06, 2023
Feb 03, 2023 Mar 03, 2023 Apr 07, 2023
May 05, 2023 Jun 02, 2023 Jul 07, 2023
Aug 04, 2023 Sep 01, 2023 Oct 06, 2023
Nov 03, 2023 Dec 01, 2023 Jan 05, 2024


These dates are the day that volunteers should plan to arrive on the ground in country. We can accommodate arrivals in-country at any time day or night on these dates.

Give us a Call
Canada / USA 866-646-4693 (toll free)
UK 866-646-4693 (toll free)
Australia 866-646-4693 (toll free)
International 613-353-3000
Send us a Message