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UUCSJ is excited to partner with Hijos del Maiz to offer week-long youth service journeys to Nicaragua.

This program is available for youth groups and multi-generational groups. Groups will learn Spanish, live and work with an amazing community in rural Nicaragua, and immerse themselves in Nicaragua culture and history.


What will the youth do in this program?
Youth will spend a week in an immersive dive in the Spanish language and Nicaragua culture and history.

Groups have an option to spend a day or two exploring the area around Managua, Nicaragua’s main city. This could include meeting with historians and local organizations, visiting a volcano, and/or seeing other natural wonders.

Following the time in Managua, youth will spend 5-6 days in the community of El Lagartillo, where the grassroots organization Hijos del Maiz is based. Youth will live with homestay families, take daily Spanish classes, learn about the tragic and fascinating history of the community, learn about local initiatives and struggles, and potentially engage in a community service project.

Why should our youth group travel to Nicaragua?
UUCSJ’s youth service journeys are designed with the following intentions:

  • offer an opportunity for a “boundary-crossing” experience
  • introduce youth to questions of power and privilege
  • help youth gain a deeper understanding of global justice issues
  • offer youth groups the chance to deepen bonds with each other and form relationships with people of all ages from a different culture
  • offer an opportunity for multi-leveled growth and development (socially, spiritually, politically, etc.)
  • inspire youth to engage in community justice issues back home

On the youth service journey to Nicaragua, youth will spend time reflecting on and learning about global power structures, and the role folks living in the U.S. have in maintaining, creating and challenging these structures. They will also gain an understanding of the historic and current relationship between the U.S. and Nicaragua, as well as a chance to improve their Spanish language skills!

Who is Hijos del Maiz?
Hijos del Maiz is an independent community-run organization and Spanish school that was formed in El Lagartillo in the early 2000s to offer jobs in the community and encourage cultural exchange. Hijos del Maiz has since ran many successful projects; from hosting and teaching hundreds of language students to securing solar panels for community members to helping arrange scholarships for local students to purchasing a pick-up truck to provide transportation of people and goods to nearby communities. The organization, which is comprised completely of locals and their families, includes Spanish teachers, a full-time staff and many other community members who regularly host foreign students and participate in community projects.

Hijos del Maiz website:

How can our youth group organize a trip to Nicaragua?

We can tailor this program specifically for your youth group; if your youth group is interested in organizing a journey with us to Nicaragua, please contact Chris Casuccio, Youth Service Journeys will be available beginning in fall 2017 and are approximately one week long, from Saturday to Sunday.

How much does this journey cost?

Cost: Depending on the itinerary, program will cost about $750-$850 per person, not including airfare.

Financial aid is available for up to 75% of program costs based on need and is awarded on a first come, first serve basis. Please fill out the financial aid request section of the program application.

For additional fundraising we recommend that participants use Faithify, the Unitarian Universalist crowd funding website, which can help individuals raise money to cover their costs.

Sample Itinerary
Click here to download a sample itinerary for this program.

Resources for learning more about Nicaragua:

Under Fire

This 1983 movie does a good job of illustrating the impact of the 1979 Nicaraguan revolution on the country’s society and culture.

Harvest of Empire

A full-length film which offers an invaluable glance at the history and impact of US imperialism in Latin America.

The Country Under My Skin

This memoir by Nicaraguan writer Gioconda Belli traces her political awakening from the time of the Nicaraguan revolution to her move to the United States.

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Heather Vickery is responsible for developing and maintaining relationships with UU congregations, State Action Networks, past UU College of Social Justice (UUCSJ) program participants, and regional staff in order to expand engagement in UUSC and UUCSJ’s work. As the Coordinator for Congregational Activism, she manages the workshop offerings and group visits to the UUSC/UUCSJ office and assists with communications for the Activism and Justice Education Team. Heather is an active member of the Boston Immigration Justice Accompaniment Network and a dedicated dog-mom to her rescue puppy Nova.

Heather may be contacted at and 617-301-4303