Thank you for visiting this page — we couldn’t do any of the work we’re doing without the help of the wonderful people like you who want to donate their time!
Clara Luna offers a variety of opportunities for you to make a difference in the lives of local Ecuadorians and visitors alike by providing educational opportunities, working with ecological projects, and more. As a Clara Luna volunteer, you yourself will benefit also by being able to get to know local people, discover hidden talents, learn new skills, improve old ones, and practice your Spanish! Volunteers make close connections with the community here in Puerto López and leave with a sense of achievement, a new family, and a new outlook on life.
Clara Luna is selective with our volunteers, and we expect them to be professional, honest, dedicated, flexible, and overall positive. Volunteers need to be over the age of 18 and able to commit at least 15 hours a week for a period of one month. In addition, volunteers commit at least 2 hours a week helping with general household chores in addition to keeping their own rooms/areas clean. The Clara Luna volunteer community (which we hope you become a part of!) strives to maintain a friendly, happy, and clean home!
Below are various ways that you can help as a Clara Luna volunteer; you can “mix and match” the different roles listed depending on your skills and wishes as well as the needs of the program at the time of your Puerto López stay.
If you think you can contribute in a way that is not mentioned, please let us know and we would be happy to consider it. Clara Luna is constantly changing and improving, and we always welcome new ideas!
Teach small-group English classes to children and adults; most classes are at a very basic level. Puerto López is a growing tourist destination and the ability to speak English helps locals, as many work in areas connected to the tourist industry.
Skills needed: English, some Spanish helpful; ability to work with limited resources, develop and execute lesson plans, create exercises, and think creatively.
Language Exchange Coordinator
Plan and execute our weekly Language Exchange meetings (“Intercambios”), which provide an opportunity to practice English and Spanish while meeting new people and learning about new cultures. All Clara Luna volunteers & students, as well as locals and visitors to Puerto López, are invited to participate in our Intercambios.
Skills needed: Some Spanish & English, experience teaching and/or with cultural exchange
Library/Reading Corner Assistant
One of our main goals is to promote literacy in Puerto López. We have a small library of 500 books with offerings for all ages, although the focus is on children. Because the concept of a “lending library” is not part of the culture here, books are only available to be read on site during library hours. In general, books are not widely available here. The Library Assistant helps teach library patrons how to take care of books, develop reading and comprehension skills, and learn to love reading! The Assistant monitors the library during open hours, maintains and organizes the books, and helps maintain and make suggestions for our Amazon Wish List. During school vacation (February/March), and other times when possible, we host a Reading Corner, when a volunteer reads aloud to children, checks comprehension, and prompts discussion of the story read.
Skills needed: Intermediate Spanish, interest in promoting literacy & a love of reading
As a way to help fund our projects, volunteers offer yoga classes to local people and visitors, who make a $5 donation to Clara Luna in exchange for the class.
Skills needed: English and/or Intermediate Spanish, training and experience in yoga practice, good spoken communication skills, awareness of the risks that can be involved in exercising
Kids’ Club/Club de Niños Helpers
Elementary school children come to Kids’ Club/Club de Niños twice a week for 90 minutes of structured reading and other learning activities, arts and crafts, games, etc. Kids’ Club volunteers run these sessions.
Skills needed: Love for kids, energy & creativity (think camp counselor!); intermediate Spanish in order to help with the reading activity; Spanish helpful for other areas but sign language works too!
Two endangered species of sea turtles nest in Puerto López and environs. In conjunction with the Machalilla National Park, Clara Luna volunteers help monitor sea turtle nesting in season (December to May) by patrolling the Puerto López beach each morning and helping with overnight patrols at a remote neighboring beach. In addition, all year long we perform periodic cleanups of the Puerto López beach.
Skills needed: No specific skills
Building and Yard/Garden Maintenance
We always welcome help in maintaining and improving the Clara Luna building and yard/garden.
Skills needed: Those you might be able to offer!
Help the Disabled
Clara Luna works in conjunction with the Fundación Jose Rivera, which strives to improve the lives of disabled children and adults through education, therapy and friendship. There are two main ways you can help:
**The Fundación is open three mornings a week when participants enjoy art, reading, excursions to the beach, etc. and volunteers help in these activities.
Skills needed: Patience, energy & creativity; some Spanish helpful
**There is a lack of professionals in Puerto López who are skilled in ways to help the disabled. Speech and physical therapist are needed, and ideally for a longer period of time. Home visits are made to those needing special assistance in order to assess needs and provide whatever therapy is possible.
Skills needed: professional background in helping the disabled; some Spanish helpful
Your Volunteer Project
You may have a specific skill and idea to offer – please let us know! Examples of skills/projects offered in the past: puppet making, drama, sports, website development/editing, organization of Clara Luna resource, volunteer program marketing, fundraising, music, cooking….
Volunteer Fee and Donations:
There is no cost to volunteer with us. However, Clara Luna funds itself and its projects through fees received for its accommodations and Spanish language classes. Therefore volunteers are expected to choose one of the housing options offered via Clara Luna and/or to take Spanish classes with us!
In addition, donations are always welcome. We have a Wish List on Amazon which you can find here; the items on this list are generally not easily available in Puerto López/Ecuador, or available at a much higher cost, or of lesser quality. If you are interested in purchasing something from our wish list, due to the uncertainty of shipping things to Ecuador, please make a purchase prior to coming to Ecuador and bring the item(s) with you. You will see many smiling faces when you arrive with your gift(s)!
Cash donations are also welcome; please contact us about the best way to do this if you are interested in making a cash donation.
“Every donation that you leave helps a child learn to love to read.”
How to Apply
If interested in volunteering, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll send you our Volunteer Application Form to complete.