Volunteer summer programs, sometimes called volunteer vacations, can give teens the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of people in need, protect and improve the environment or even study and observe animals with a research team. This summer, have a positive effect on the world around you, learn valuable new skills and make new friends along the way. In addition to nurturing your passion for changing communities for the better, students personally benefit from these fulfilling and challenging trips.
This article looks at volunteer vacations and opportunities specifically for teens. See the links and resources at the end for more information about family volunteer trips.
Finding the Right Program
There are many summer programs available for students wishing to travel and volunteer. Research each company carefully and be sure you clearly understand what work will be required of you when you are there. International trips take far more preparation and planning, so begin the process early. Below you will find 2 major organizations and their programs highlighted. Check the links and resources section for more opportunities that may better fit your needs and utilize your talents.
Landmark Volunteers provides high school students ages 14.5 and older with a vast array of opportunities to improve the world around them by partnering with more than 50 organizations nationwide. Highly motivated students work in teams of 12 to build homes for the needy, clear and restore scenic trails, help children with disabilities and more, affecting a positive change in communities across the country and sharing the experience with peers with a common sense of purpose.
Students can choose a program that fits their strengths, talents and interests, as well as their comfort level. They can venture far from home or stay in close range. They can sleep under the stars, or choose indoor lodging.
Summer programs generally run for 2 weeks and Spring programs for 1 week. Each of the organizations Landmark works with are committed to high values and dedicated to improving society. There are also opportunities for parent ambassadors.
Global Works Travel is one of the many organizations that provides high school and college students with international opportunities for volunteer service. Their cultural exchange and community service programs will take your teen to incredible destinations. They can choose to work on reforestation projects in Peru or build homes for the needy in a small village in Ecuador. There are destinations around the world to from which to choose.
Tuition prices will vary by destination. Prices start at $3,300, with the most expensive trips costing around $5,600. Students can earn community service credits for college.
Habitat for Humanity Youth Programs are designed to give kids, teens and young adults to make a difference in the lives of people right here in the United States. This well known and trusted organizations offers a variety of way for teens to volunteer their time, including leadership conferences, advocacy groups and short term “build trips” (located in the US and world wide) and volunteer vacation trips.
The Benefits of Volunteering
The main goal of volunteering is obviously to help others, but the majority of people who volunteer their time experience various personal benefits. Here is a list of benefits and advantages that volunteers report to have gained through their service to their community.
- Developed better interpersonal skills, such as understanding people and motivating others.
- Learned to deal with difficult situations.
- Developed better communication skills
- Increased knowledge about issues related to that particular field of work.
- Acquired valuable job skills that could later be used in their career
- Attained a sense of purpose and achievement.
- Personally rewarding.
- Increased confidence.
- Helped develop future career plans
- Positive effect on mental health (diminished feeling of depression, increased self worth)
- Enjoyed being a part of a group with a common positive goal.
Spending a summer or even just a week helping others can truly be a life changing experience for teens and young adults. Keep searching to find an organization that offers a program that is right for you and enjoy the benefits of volunteering!
About the Author
Terry Stone is a blogger, who specializes in feature stories on life, health, diet and fitness, academic writer and senior editor at BuyEssayClub company. He lives in Los Angeles, CA., with his wife and two daughters.