The Early Years of AMIGOS
In 1965, a group of 181 teenagers, some as young as 14 or 15 years old, set out to fight polio in rural Honduras. They gathered support and supplies, recruited 36 doctors, learned how to administer vaccines by practicing on each other, and then set out. Some made the trip by plane but others made the 1,500-mile journey by truck to carry the supplies. Despite enormous obstacles, the first AMIGOS Volunteers innoculated over half a million people and were credited with stopping a polio epidemic in its tracks. Click here to read the 1966 Good Housekeeping Article about the first AMIGOS summer.
When they returned home, they founded "Amigos de Honduras" which became "Amigos de las Américas" less than a year later. More than half of those original teens applied to return the following summer, and the momentum they created is still alive today. For the next two decades, AMIGOS continued to focus primarily on vaccinations. Young Amigos returned year after year, hauling supplies by caravan and setting up ham radios to communicate with Houston.