Join us for an unforgettable experience working to make a meaningful difference in the lives of families living in poverty. Volunteers travel to some of the most remote parts of Guatemala to provide life-saving medical care, make homes safe and healthy for families, and train rural school teachers.

Every trip is a different adventure, but volunteers can expect long days, hard work, simple accommodations, welcoming hosts, and the chance to build lasting friendships with a community of people dedicated to service.

As a volunteer, you’ll have an opportunity to help people living in extreme poverty change their lives immediately–and for years to come. With HELPS’ strong local infrastructure and proven programs, you can be certain you are having a lasting, positive impact on the people you meet in Guatemala.

The life you change most, though, may be your own. As one of our veteran volunteers put it, “[At the end of each day on a HELPS trip] you are so tired; everything in your body hurts. But the help we give people truly changes you and your perspective about what is important in life.”

With expert training, new technologies and unsubsidized loans, participating farmers produce a greater crop yield, building wealth and stability for their families and communities.

  • Health Care Volunteer

    "An older woman returned this year to let us know how much having her surgery last year helped her. I remembered her and couldn't imagine how she was living in the condition she was. This just reinforced to me how life-changing having the surgeons come do these surgeries is for these people. I feel so fortunate to do whatever I can do to help them provide this care."

    Health Care Volunteer
  • Health Care Volunteer

    "It is an honor to have this opportunity to share my skills, especially globally to people who are in need. Very gratifying and rewarding!"

    Health Care Volunteer
  • Community Development Volunteer

    "So, so many stories of new friendships, overcoming challenges, laughs, scenery, etc. But my favorites are alway hearing from the homeowner, usually the mother of several children, thanking us for changing the lives of her children and making their future better." 

    Community Development Volunteer

2019 Volunteer Impact


Education volunteers led six teacher trainings, benefiting 199 children.


Health care volunteers provided surgery and preventive care to 14,732 patients.


Community development volunteers installed ONIL stoves and water filters in over 3,000 homes and schools.

How to Get Started?

Volunteer teams travel to Guatemala throughout the year for 7-11 days at a time to work in one of three programs: community development, health care, and education. Learn about each type of team and find one that’s right for you.

Community Development

Community development teams are made up of 10+ volunteers who work alongside local
families to install ONIL cook stoves and water filters in their homes, dramatically improving health and safety.

Community development teams travel to rural areas across Guatemala and may stay in hotels or dorm facilities. Some community development teams are embedded with health care volunteer groups; others are standalone teams. Take a look behind the scenes of the Cascade Community Development Team.

Stove installation can be physically demanding, so volunteers should be able to lift 30 lbs easily, walk 2 miles up and down hills, and generally be in good health. Applicants must be 18+, or 16+ if accompanied by a parent or guardian.

If you have a corporate, family, or church group of 10+ volunteers and wish to start your own community development team, we can help. Contact us at for more information.

Health Care

Medical teams are made up of 50 to 100 health care professionals who provide surgery, preventive care and health education to people in remote areas who often have no other way to access quality health care.

Medical teams travel to one of eight destinations across Guatemala where they set up temporary hospital facilities to provide care to hundreds of people over the course of a week. During this time, they stay in dormitory-style accommodations. Take a look at the Michigan Medical Team’s most recent trip.

Health care volunteers must be 18+ and may include surgeons, anesthesiologists, internists, general practitioners, nurses (OR, CRNA, PACU, recovery, etc.), pharmacists, pharmacy techs, surgical techs, scrub techs, translators, and other support staff. The areas of focus and needs of each team may vary.


Education teams are small groups of certified teachers who travel to the HELPS school in the remote town of Santa Avelina several times each year. There, they spend a week training the school’s teachers in workshops covering reading, math, science, and book making.

Because space on education teams is very limited, all volunteers must be certified teachers. To learn more, contact

Visit the Service Trip Dates page to find the team you would like to join. Make note of the team’s name and number, as you will need to have these on hand when you fill out your volunteer application.

If you have a questions about a specific team or trip, please contact us at

**Please note that you can apply to join any of the HELPS teams listed on the calendar, regardless of the city where the team is primarily based.

Fill out our online volunteer application. The leader of the team to which you apply will receive a copy of your application and reach out to you soon.

Applying to join a service trip is free. If you are accepted to join a volunteer team, your team leader will contact you regarding your itinerary, trip payment schedule, and other details.

If you have any questions about the application process or follow-up, please contact us at or 469-779-7101.

Between airfare, lodging, meals and in-country transportation, service trips can be expensive. Our volunteers have come up with some creative ways to raise funds to cover the cost of their service trips, from hosting a Guatemalan-themed dinner party to beekeeping and selling honey at the farmers market. If you have an outside-the-box fundraiser, let us know so we can help you spread the word!

For help getting started with your online fundraising, here are six steps for a successful service trip fundraiser. If you have questions or need assistance with your online fundraising efforts, please contact us at