I have recently seen an uptick in the interest of people volunteering abroad with their families, especially families with grade school age children. Part of the increased interest is I am sure due to Spring Break and the looming Summer Break but I think it is great that parents are wanting to give their children a new type of experience, one where they are actively involved in serving and creating cross-cultural understanding.
If you are interested in volunteering with your children one of the first steps would be to find an organization that can accommodate families. Not all volunteer sending organizations accept under age volunteers, even with a parent accompanying them. Every organization is different and while one organization may have the policy that only of 18 years and older, another might fully accept an 8 year old volunteer with his parent. Some organization might not have a specific age policy and so you would need to contact them to see if their programs would fit your family.
Some other things to think about are:
- Flexibility of the volunteer schedule
- Food and water safety
From experience of working with families as they volunteer and even volunteering with my own family, it can be an eye opening experience. And while things may not go as smoothly as you envision it is an experience you never regret.
Some great IVPA members to look into that accommodate families are: