Monthly Archives: August 2012

Transformative Experiences: Family Volunteer Trips

By | Amal El bakhar, IVPA Members, Volunteer opportunities | No Comments

A recent article in the New York Times, titled “Volunteer Trips: Is Your Family Ready?” paints a portrait of the value of family volunteer trips that allow both the parents and children to immerse themselves in a culture, while contributing positively to the community.

The family volunteer trips allow for the guest family to spend several days living in a different culture, and participating in community development programs and living in similar conditions as the citizens of that region. In the article, Ms. Everson, a Facebook Executive writes, “the trip was a chance for us, as a family, to play a global role in helping others while also expanding our worldview.” Various other parents share the sentiment after a volunteer trip, and they see the effect of the involvement on the children’s education and perceptions of the world.

The article proceeds to provide answers by experts to essential questions that might be posed by a family seeking to plan a volunteer trip. First, parents always ask, “how do we prepare?” Ellen Sachs Alter, a psychologist, states, “[before going]…discuss the challenges [with your children] and explain that the trip could be heartbreaking at times, scary and even difficult.” In fact, it has been continuously reiterated by families who have volunteered abroad “that nothing can truly prepare someone unaccustomed to poverty for the deprivation common in developing world. Still, there are steps to mitigate the shock,” such as having an honest conversation with your children.

Second, parents’ often ask, “How young is too young?” Kristy Clum states that “she discourages parents from bringing children under 10.” It is often recommended to take kids during their teen years, when they are very self-absorbed. Third, parents’ ask, “What happens if you get sick or hurt?” It is recommended that the family visits their health care provided four to six weeks before the trip and make sure that they have all the required vaccinations or medications.

The article provides other answers to important questions, such as “Should service trips be mixed with pleasure?” and “Does the experience translate back home?” Overall, it confirms that family volunteer trips provide a lasting impact on both the parents and the children.

If you would like to plan a family volunteer trip, contact one of our IVPA members below. As Genevieve Brown, Executive Director of IVPA, pointed out in the NYT article, “[Our nonprofit members] speak the language, know the culture and the political situation,” and thus can provide you with the most immersive and impactful experience.

Cross-Cultural Solutions

Global Citizens Network

Global Service Corps

Globe Aware

Habitat for Humanity

Projects Abroad


Service For Peace

Global Citizens Network Expanding Local Cultural Opportunities

By | IVPA Members, Volunteer opportunities | No Comments


Global Citizens Network Expanding Local Cultural Opportunities

New York, NY (August 14, 2012)  – Global Citizens Network (GCN) in collaboration with its partner organization, Intercultural Student Experiences (ISE) is happy to announce the expansion of three new programs in the Twin Cities area (Minneapolis & St Paul, MN).

La Conexión de las Americas (formerly Resource Center for the Americas), due to funding difficulties, has transitioned the following three programs to GCN:  Spanish Language ClassesCoffee Hours and Movie Nights.

Since 1992, Global Citizens Network has been providing international and domestic short-term travel programs that emphasize intercultural understanding and service learning. By expanding these local, cultural programs, GCN offers additional opportunities for individuals to gain intercultural understanding and connections.

GCN plans to hold the fall language classes in the former La Conexión facilities (3019 Minnehaha Ave, Suite 20, Minneapolis, MN 55406) using the same curriculum and corps of teachers.  The Coffee hours and Movie Nights are also scheduled to resume in the fall.

For more information about these programs, please contact Global Citizens Network  To register for Spanish classes, contact

About Global Citizens Network

In partnership with people of diverse cultures, GCN promotes cross-cultural understanding and interconnectedness through authentic immersion experiences. Global Citizens Network seeks to create a network of people committed to: the shared values of peace, justice, respect, cross-cultural understanding and global cooperation; the preservation of indigenous cultures, traditions and ecologies; the enhancement of the quality of life around the world.


Popular Destinations to Volunteer Abroad

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

Volunteering abroad is an ever-growing interest among travelers and GoOverseas recently released their 2012 Official Volunteer Abroad Report which summarizes some of the most popular locations potential volunteers search for.

According to the report, young people are looking to take gap years and other available opportunities to volunteer in developing countries; “India came in at number one for the most global monthly search for volunteer opportunities.” Other top countries with low GDPs included South Africa, Thailand and Haiti.

Overall, top ten most searched countries for volunteer abroad opportunities ranged in location, geography and culture – with no general theme. The only pattern that was observed for 2012 volunteering abroad is disaster relief opportunities. Natural disasters play a significant role on where volunteers decide to dedicate their time and effort. For example, there was a significant rise in the global monthly searches for volunteer opportunities in Haiti, after the 2010 earthquakes, and Japan, after the 2011 earthquakes. After these disasters occur, people are inspired to get involved in the disaster relief process, by providing a wide array of resources and expertise.

The report also notes other correlations among google searching for volunteering abroad opportunities. For example, individuals interested in conservation volunteering tend to volunteer abroad in tropical countries, such as, Australia or Costa Rica. “African and Asian countries with diverse animal and plant populations are also popular volunteer destinations” for conservation volunteers. Additionally, the report breaks down the monthly google searches for volunteering abroad by continent – highlighting important factors and other considerations for each continent. The report also notes that volunteers who wish to stay for longer periods of time tend to focus on projects based on advocacy and policy, which have greater impact, when continued for a long-period of time.

To see the full report visit: