by Lacey Byrne, Yellowbrick Staff Writer
If you’re like me, really cold days lead to daydreaming of warm, sunny destinations. I love planning vacations and imagining bringing my family to adventurous locations. Although, my little ones aren’t quite old enough for something epic, I discovered this amazing organization one afternoon while searching online. International Volunteer HQ is a volunteer travel company with over 40 locations for families to visit. You can pick a location of interest, and decide on a volunteer opportunity for your family. Explore the world, give back, and teach your kids about culture and privilege at the same time.
I’ve often thought about what a great experience it would be to see cultures outside of the United States. So far, I’ve only been to Canada one night and to the Bahamas. My travel experience is pretty limited, as you can see. I want my children to learn about other cultures and to recognize that their point of view is largely influenced by where we live. Traveling with a family can be overwhelming and costly. Upon reading through International Volunteer HQ, though, I’ve learned that it doesn’t have to be.
If you’ve got the travel bug and want to explore the world, check out this awesome organization. Bring a group, your church, your family, or integrate it with your workplace. The benefits of volunteering on a global scale don’t end with the satisfaction within your family, church or work setting. Young people gain skills, experience and perspective that they can apply to their future academics, careers, and networking opportunities. Being able to add an experience offered through International Volunteer HQ would not only look great on college applications, but also impacts the way we see the world, and broadens our perspective. Carrying this through adulthood when it comes to group decision-making, committees, and boardrooms goes a long way.
Of course, your teen doesn’t have to travel outside of the U.S. to gain the benefits of volunteering. Freelance writer Julie Weed encourages teens to volunteer in any capacity.
“Whether it is a one-time trail-maintenance outing in the rain, a weekly tutoring commitment or an organizational role in rallying classmates to pitch in, volunteering can help teens gain a sense of responsibility, feel more connected to their communities and prepare for the future. And the unexpected rewards of discovering a new interest, or feeling as though they’ve made a difference, can last a lifetime.”
With so much going on in the world in our current climate, we often feel powerless.
Writer Eleanor Duse reminds us of how volunteering can help lift our spirits during times of national and global distress.
“It seems paradoxical, but volunteer work amid the most severe social problems can often be an abiding source of personal hope.”
Whatever your plans are for summer vacation this year, try to carve out some time for your family to experience something unique this year. This will look different for every family, but will result in the same thing — broadening our kids’ views of the world.
– Lacey Byrne, Yellowbrick Staff Writer