Turn your dreams into realities

We get it. Your wanderlust and love for humanity are spilling over. You just need a place where you can put those qualities to use and turn your dreams into reality.

OSSO is the pathway to creating the life you've always dreamed of. 

With Orphanage Support Services Organization, you'll volunteer to experience life, love children, and seek adventure. You will take care of, play with, teach, and feed orphans in need. You will explore different cultures, hike through rainforests, meet new animal friends, and discover what you're made of. 

You will come home changed for good. You will never be the same. And you will be forever inspired to find ways to continue helping those in need and satisfying your love for travel.

Become an OSSO volunteer. Hold a hand, change a life.


If you're all set to apply, simply click on the application below that applies to you. If you want to learn more about the ins and outs of being an OSSO volunteer, scroll on down, click any of the links below, or visit our FAQs.

Types of Volunteers | Program Costs | Travel Dates + Airfare


Start Your Application

What is application the process?

All volunteers and visitors must complete an application in order to visit the orphanages. Please note all applicants will have a background check completed by OSSO's office before being accepted. Read and follow the application steps below.

Application Steps

  1. Read our Terms and Conditions and Rules and Code of Conduct carefully before completing and signing your application.
  2. Complete and submit application.
  3. *Pay the $190 application fee.
  4. Email an application photo to info@orphanagesupport.org. (The photo does not need to be a professional photo but simply something we can use to recognize you.)
  5. Thailand volunteers, email your medical physical exam to info@orphanagesupport.org.
  6. Take the volunteer quiz.
  7. Wait while we contact your references and do a background check.
  8. Interview with OSSO over the phone.
  9. Become an OSSO volunteer!

*The $190 non-refundable application fee is used to process your application. If you're applying as a family, you only have to pay one application fee for the entire family; you won't need to pay $190 for each person.

*Those applying with a family application must be dependents living in the same household.

Already sent in your application? Check out our Volunteer Checklist to figure out what you need to do next.

Have questions more about the experience? Scroll down, read our FAQs, or contact our office at 208-359-1767.

Who can volunteer?

Individuals

Anyone 18 years old or older can be an individual volunteer. You can adventure solo or bring a friend and use our recruit-a-friend discount. If you're volunteering in Ecuador, you can come any time throughout the year that works for you. If you're volunteering in Thailand, check out our summer Thailand trips to see which dates you'd like to travel.

Teens

If you are between the ages of 16 and 18, you can volunteer during the summer months when we have an in-country director in charge of supervising you at all times. Teen programs last for two weeks.

Families, couples, and groups

We also love to have families, groups, or couples come. Groups and families get to use group discounts. Parents are in charge of supervising their children who under 18.

Visitors

Visitors are those who come to visit the program for a week or a few days. Most often, visitors are parents of volunteers who come for the last week or few days of their child's program to get a feel for what their child did while with OSSO.

 


How long can you volunteer?

With OSSO, you can customize and choose the length of your program. However, we prefer for you to choose the dates listed on our site because it’s easiest and most efficient for our directors if volunteers travel on the same days. We also recommend traveling with other volunteers for your personal convenience, especially if it’s your first time volunteering with OSSO.

Long-Term

A long-term volunteer is a volunteer who stays in country for four or more weeks. Long-term Ecuador volunteers get a 3-day Baños trip included in their program fee.

Short-Term

A short-term volunteer is a volunteer who stays in country for less than four weeks. The most common stay for a short-term volunteer is two weeks, but we are happy to create a trip sized just for you. Short-termers are usually families or youth volunteers who go during the summer, but adult individuals are also welcome to be short-term. If you'd like to add the 3-day Baños trip to your short-term Ecuador trip, you can for only $395 extra.


Where can you volunteer?

Ecuador

OSSO has been sending volunteers to Ecuador since 1999. While we used to host programs in both Cuenca and Quito, we presently serve solely in Cuenca.

In Cuenca, we assist four different orphanages and one day care. One of the orphanages, called Los Pequeñitos de OSSO, is run by OSSO and mostly serves children with special needs. Two of the other orphanages are run by Catholic nuns, and the fourth orphanage is run by a Christian woman who has dedicated her life to helping orphans. The day care is in the mountains, and due to the area's extreme poverty, has great needs which OSSO helps to fulfill.

Besides interacting with the kind locals and volunteering in the orphanages, while in Ecuador you'll also get to go on exhilarating adventures like zip-lining through rainforests and swinging on the renowned "Swing at the End of the World." To learn more about these and other activities, click the Explore Ecuador button below.

However, with all of the many fun things to do in Cuenca, nothing compares to the time and activities you give to the orphans. The children make a lasting impression on your heart. And you'll never want to say goodbye.

Thailand

Thailand is a newer program to OSSO, beginning in early 2015, but has been a wonderful addition. OSSO assists a government-owned orphanage in Chiang Mai as well as a local special need's school called The Healing Family Foundation

As an OSSO volunteer, you will have the privilege of living in the city of Chiang Mai, which is the second-largest city in Thailand and often referred to as the “rose of the north.” 

Thailand adventures including riding elephants, whitewater rafting, zip-lining, and hugging tigers. To learn more about these and other activities, click the Explore Thailand button below.

While there is plenty to do and see in Thailand, your favorite memories will be made while playing with the children in the orphanage and volunteering at the special needs school.


What do you do as an OSSO volunteer?

Ecuador

Ecuador volunteers stay at the volunteer house on site of OSSO's orphanage. Each day you will have two shifts: a morning shift (7 a.m. to 12 p.m.) and an afternoon shift (2 p.m. to 6 p.m.). Your days will be full of caring for children — whether that means playing soccer, helping feed babies and special needs children, teaching children their colors, or changing diapers. You'll be kept busy, but your heart will grow everyday with love and joy from the precious orphans.

Each week you will get one shift off and a entire day off to go to town, the markets, or one of our suggested activities. In your down time, you'll find there is much to do in the city or at the volunteer house to entertain you.

Thailand

Thailand volunteers stay in a hotel that we have hand-selected and visited. You can expect to spend about five hours each day working with the infants and toddlers of the government orphanage ViengPing. Then, a couple nights each week you will also get to teach English and play sports with the older children there. Other days of the week you will also volunteer at a special needs school.

In your free time, you can go swimming, get a cheap Thai massage, visit local markets, and try out delicious Thai cuisine. 

Why should I pay to volunteer?

We all need shelter, food, and love. When you volunteer with OSSO, you provide all three to the orphans.

Because children thrive with as much stability and consistency as possible, our prices and discounts are set to encourage long-term volunteers (4+ weeks). However, we realize this time commitment is not possible for everyone; so as a short-term volunteer, your fees are also used to help long-term staff care for the orphans. To learn more about why OSSO volunteers pay for their experience, read a letter from our managing director.

Worried about expenses? See if you qualify for a discount below and learn how to easily fundraise and get sponsored for your service.


Breakdown of costs

Application Fee $190 

+

Donation* $500 

+

Program Fee

1 week: $695

2 weeks: $1195

Each additional week: $200

+

Airfare 

Immediate family members applying at the same time and traveling on the same date need only pay one application fee. 

All volunteers pay a mandatory donation that directly supports the children. However, donations from volunteers and non-volunteers are always welcome. Please donate here.

Families are required to pay a $500 donation + $100 for each individual person. This pricing cannot be combined with alumni discounts.

Volunteers are responsible to coordinate and pay for all airfare expenses. Upon acceptance, we will share flight instructions and refer you to a travel agency.

Ready to pay your program fees? If you've been accepted to our program, click the button to pay.


Discounts

Most discounts require a commitment of 4 weeks or more.

Recruit a Friend Discount

4th week free

Friends do not need to volunteer during the same times or in the same place but must sign up for a minimum of 4 weeks. Your friend must submit their application and pay the application fee before your total fees are due.

Spanish Speaker Discount

$200 off (Ecuador)

Alumni Discount

$500 off

Group Discounts

Contact our office for details.

Critical Need Discount (Winter-spring discount)

$200 off (Ecuador) 

Sign up to be a long-term volunteer (4+ weeks) anytime between January 20 and May 9, 2017 to receive this discount.

Other Discounts

As announced


Refunds

No refunds will be given after program fees have been paid.

  • The application fee is completely nonrefundable. If we complete a background check, process your application, and choose not to accept you, your application fee is not refunded. If you decide to cancel your application, your application fee is not refunded.

  • You may choose to defer your volunteer time up until the time of departure, and all payments will be held for your new departure date.

  • If a volunteer is sent home for breaking Code of Conduct, volunteers will be responsible for all fees associated with ticket changes and travel fees to leave early.   

  • OSSO cannot and does not offer any refunds for money spent on international airfare.

  • No program fee refunds will be given to volunteers who choose to sign out of the program, changing the time they have previously committed.


Comparisons

For a 15-week semester, program fees total $3,795 + $500 donation. 

Compare that cost with the cost of a semester at local universities you may be familiar with: 

University of Utah

Utah Valley University

Brigham Young University

Brigham Young University - Idaho


Airfare

All volunteers are responsible to coordinate and pay for airfare to Cuenca, Ecuador or Chiang Mai, Thailand. 

Upon acceptance, we will send you specific flight instructions and refer you to OSSO's recommended travel agent to help you find the best airfare prices and itinerary.

Please contact our office for specific questions about your travel plans.


Dates of Travel

Ecuador

2017
January 20
February 14
March 14
April 11
May 9
June 13
July 11
September 12
October 10
November 14
December 12

Thailand

2017
June 13
June 27
July 11
July 25

August 8 will be the last day in Thailand.

 

Youth/Short-Term*

2017
June 13 - 26
June 27 - July 10
July 11 - 24

* Youth/Short-Term dates are for both Ecuador and Thailand programs. If we are unable to fill any of the dates listed, we reserve the right to cancel a group. For this reason, do NOT purchase airfare until you have been officially accepted and instructed to purchase airfare.

Thailand Notice

Currently, Thailand allows Americans to stay 30 days in country with a valid U.S. passport. All those wishing to stay beyond 30 days must apply for a tourist visa. OSSO cannot guarantee that a visa will be issued. Volunteers will be responsible for all costs of acquiring the visa and costs associated with a visa being denied such as airfare-change fees, government fees, etc.

If you plan to stay in Thailand for longer than 30 days, please visit this link.