- We believe our communities are safer and stronger when everyone can communicate – and it begins with language.
- We believe educating parents leads to an educated family.
- We believe our communities are more prosperous when all people have the opportunity to succeed and give back.
- We believe in having fun!
Founded in 2001, Intercambio is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that builds understanding, respect and friendship across cultures through educational and intercultural opportunities. See this video for info about requirements and support you’ll receive as a volunteer.
- Affordable and flexible English classes for over 1000 adult immigrants each year, taught by over 400 trained volunteers at students’ homes, other nonprofit agencies, and at public buildings.
- Community resource information and workshops on issues such as affordable health care, housing, laws and finances.
- Intercultural exchange through community social events such as potlucks, parties, camping trips and park clean-ups.
- Help immigrants achieve greater self-sufficiency and confidence.
- Foster cross-cultural relationships through volunteerism (400 volunteers a year) and grassroots outreach.
- Create a more accepting and integrated community in which all members can feel comfortable and effectively contribute.
- Build social capital by bringing people together to learn from each other and advance together.
Individual donors, City and County of Boulder, corporations, foundations and La Fiesta!
- Teach English: Our volunteers teach English to adult immigrants in individual and group settings.
- Help in the office: We also look for individuals who are proficient in Spanish to work with our Program Staff on office tasks, such as calling students and updating our database.
- Staff Support “in the Field”: We need individuals who are proficient in Spanish and have their own transportation to go to the homes of current students to collect feedback on their classes. Over time, these volunteers may also visit homes of potential students to do the initial language assessment that is required to enroll in classes with us.
- Individual Classes: For individual classes, volunteers and students are matched based on their gender and classes are typically held in the students’ home. The schedule is flexible to fit the needs of the student and teacher. Students rely on their teachers, so we ask our volunteers to commit to teaching a minimum of 1 full level. If you are meeting twice a week for 90 minutes, the average time this takes is anywhere from 4-6 months.
- Group Classes: Group classes meet at public locations, or in the Intercambio office. The schedule is fairly flexible, but we reserve group teaching positions for people who can be stable with the schedule as we are not able to find substitutes for missed classes. Groups range from approximately 3-12 people. Students rely on their teachers, so we ask our volunteers to commit to teaching a minimum of 1 full level. If you are meeting twice a week for 90 minutes, the average time this takes is anywhere from 4-6 months.
- School Classes: Our school classes meet in the evening twice a week and are offered in Boulder, Longmont and Lafayette on a fixed 9-week term. All 7 levels are taught at the same time to allow family members and friends to take English classes together at the same time and place, no matter their proficiency. There is an additional training for this type of teaching to give volunteers the skills to manage a group class comfortably. Class size ranges from approximately 3-12 people. These positions are reserved for volunteers who are able to commit to this set schedule for an entire term.
No prior teaching experience or 2nd language skills are required. We need people who are patient, enthusiastic, and able to commit to teaching an entire level to their student or students. We provide you with the materials and ongoing support you need to feel confident in you volunteer position.
No. We try to avoid matching level 1 English students with teachers who do not speak Spanish, but only to avoid issues with changing schedules. We have developed a curriculum that guides teachers through English classes, no matter the language barrier. In fact, we encourage teachers to avoid using the student’s native language in class. Keep in mind, not all of our students are native Spanish speakers.
The time commitment ranges from 4 to 6 months, depending on how quickly you move through the material with your student and whether you are teaching a home, group or school class. Learning a new language takes consistency and dedication from teacher and student. If you are unable to commit to two 90-minute class sessions with your student every week, we ask that you consider waiting until your schedule opens up or contact us about different volunteer positions available.
Individual class minimum commitment: average 4-6 months
Group class minimum commitment: average 4-6 months
School class minimum commitment: 9-week term (offered 4 times a year)
- Intercambio has a 6-level curriculum composed of 12 books. We developed our materials to meet the needs of the demographic of typical Intercambio students. The books come with a listening CD.
- We give our teachers step-by-step lesson plans to go with each day’s lesson. The students are required to purchase the student book.
- We encourage all teachers to use our materials, but many teachers who have had adult ELL teaching experience do develop their own lesson plans.
- Our Academic Directors are also available to help volunteers develop lessons outside of the book.
- In addition, we have a resource library in the office. Volunteers can check out books and use them for their classes.
- We also sponsor in-service workshops on different topics useful for teaching. These workshops are always optional.
Intercambio has volunteer opportunities in Boulder, Longmont, Lafayette, Louisville and Broomfield. Please be sure to note on your form each city in which you are willing to volunteer.
Almost all of our individual teaching opportunities are in student homes. A trained Intercambio staff member or intern always visits the home before we send a volunteer into it. We have never had an incident that compromised the safety or comfort of a volunteer while in a student’s home, still we encourage volunteers to contact us immediately if there are any issues.
Some of our students may be available to meet at a location other than their home. If you do not want to meet in a student’s home, you can let us know. Please be prepared to wait longer than you would otherwise. Another option would be to teach a group or school class.
Intercambio students have come from over 40 different countries! The majority of our students are Spanish speakers from Mexico.
Yes. Students are charged a low fee to register and purchase the course book. We believe that students who have a financial stake in their classes take them more seriously. Students who cannot pay are required to volunteer 2 hours per class anywhere in the community.
- Fill out the Volunteer Form on our website.
- Attend one of our monthly 6-hour volunteer training workshops. We’ll send you the upcoming dates after receiving your online form.
- We’ll place you in the volunteer position of your choice (based on availability).
We hold monthly training sessions, alternating each month between Boulder and Longmont. Fill out the volunteer form online and we will contact you with information on the date, time and location of the next training session. There is a $25 suggested fee for the training, which covers background checks, food at the workshop and teaching materials.