Custom-designed and lead Mission Trips (groups >5)
One of COAR Peace Mission’s objectives is to keep the spirit of service and solidarity spirit that was so present in the Cleveland Mission Team alive. If your college, university, parish or organization would like to travel to El Salvador to serve and to be in solidarity with the people, we can arrange an incredible trip for you.
What kind of service can you provide at COAR? Simple. The single greatest career skill that can be developed in our school is the ability for the children to speak English. We offer English language classes at every grade level. But, what the kids really need is a chance to talk one-on-one with native English speakers. Therefore, unlike other service trips where US citizens build fences or paint buildings, we welcome you into our English classrooms to become teachers and ambassadors of US culture.
Working with education professionals, we design wonderful, fun and authentic lesson plans for you. This is not your grandfather’s language class where you just conjugate verbs all day. This is an opportunity for you to sit and talk with small groups of Salvadorans students. You don’t need to have any teaching experience. Lesson plans and activities will be provided that build upon your own native language ability. We have been doing this for years and the results are clear. US visitors love working with the Salvadoran students and the kids have a truly unique opportunity to work with native speakers.
When not in the classroom, we will arrange for visits to major landmarks and historical and cultural sites. You can see the Cathedral of San Salvador and Romero’s Crypt; the UCA where the Jesuits were murdered; Divina Providencia where Romero was assassinated and where he was living prior to his death; the Chapel of the Four Churchwomen; and other sites of interest to your group such as the Pacific Ocean or a volcano.
Planning Your Mission Trip
Begin at least 3 months in advance:
- Read our Visitor Guidelines and contact us with any questions.
- Inquire at the COAR office about dates, availability, cost, etc.
- Arrange flights (arrive before 6pm; buy change/cancellation insurance!)
- Apply for passports
- Obtain VIRTUS or similar Child Protection Training for all 18+ visitors
- Identify the group leader
- Get legal releases from all travelers (both COAR’s and your own group’s)
- Schedule preparation meetings
- Consult your travel doctor
What we will arrange:
- Lodging at COAR
- Food at COAR
- Activities with the COAR children
Teaching English in the mornings
- Afternoon or all-day excursions (Romero’s tomb, museums, etc. We will give you options and work with you for what best serves your group.)
- Local transportation (Airport pick-ups, other sights, etc.)
- Fundraising projects (if desired but not necessary)
What to expect:
- Service will include teaching English – a truly life-changing service
- Solidarity will help you get to know the children with activities and conversations
- The children’s school and house routines must be respected – that means early to bed and early to rise – 5 am!
- The food available at COAR is healthy and wholesome but simple. Travel by bus on poor roads will be hot, dusty, and bumpy.
- Most sites, including COAR, require lots of walking.
Preparing the group
Experiencing solidarity requires preparation. Groups are encouraged to meet at least three times as a group before traveling to get to know each other, set expectations, and reflect on preparation materials. Our COAR staff will be happy to meet with the group.
Preparing the community
Involving friends, family, and church members in your trip before you go will enhance the experience as well as provide support when you return. Fundraisers for a specific project that you can attest to when you return will also bring your community into your experience.
Reading and movies
There are many books, movies, and documentaries about El Salvador. We keep an updated list on our website: FUN STUFF > LESSON PLANS AND RESOURCES. We encourage members of your group to view or read these and come together for reflection before the trip.
We encourage your group to leave electronic entertainment devices behind. The childrens’ school and house routine must be respected – that means early to bed and early to rise – 5 am! The food available at COAR is healthy and wholesome but simple. Travel by bus on poor roads will be hot, dusty, and bumpy. Most sites, including COAR, require lots of walking.
Mass, prayer, worship
COAR is a Catholic school run by the Archdiocese of San Salvador. You are welcome to attend mass or organize your own prayer service or vacation Bible school with the children. We will also be happy to arrange for meeting any other Mass or Sunday or Holy Day obligations.