Monthly Archives: June 2015

IVPA newsletter!

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Here are a few highlights from our latest newsletter! For the full newsletter, here is the link. Definitely check it out!

Community and Impact Assessment

Every now and then, we need to reflect on the foundation of IVPA – our standards. Today’s focus will be on…

IVPA Principle and Practice #23:
An IVPA member organization “Collects feedback from global partners and communities at least once annually to assess the impact and quality of the volunteers’ contributions and level of ‘buy-in’ from community members.”

“For any successful project, communication and feedback are essential.  Perhaps nowhere is the need for feedback more evident than with international volunteer programs.  (…) The type of feedback mechanism in place might vary from project to project or host country to host country. (…) No matter the method, there should be a formal feedback mechanism in place so that there is a record and a history of the project and the relationship with the partner or community. A record can protect institutional memory and be a resource for analyzing the success and future steps for a project.”

Remember – always take into consideration your host country’s culture, customs, and language(s) to ensure that the most efficient and effective feedback mechanism is put in place!

IVPA Members Respond to Nepal Earthquake

“On April 25th, an 7.8Mw earthquake hit Nepal. To date over 8,000 people have died in the earthquake and over 19,000 injured. Additionally, hundreds of thousands of Nepalese have been rendered homeless.” In response, two of our member organizations, Projects Abroad and Habitat for Humanity, both of which have had long-standing work relationships in Nepal, went to work immediately.

Projects Abroad has worked in Nepal since 1999, and since the earthquake they have  “transitioned their volunteer projects to a disaster relief focus, ‘to show them that we stand with them when they need it most.’ (…) The project will expand into other regions as work is completed and participation grows.”

Habitat for Humanity has been working in Nepal for the past 18 years. “Habitat’s disaster response teams are coordinating response operations with local government agencies and disaster relief partners. Habitats efforts include distributing a goal of 20,000 emergency shelter kits, organizing engineers and engineering students to perform house-by-house damage assessments, and construct transitional and new permanent housing.”

We thank our member organizations for their incredible work!

Meet the Balmediano family

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When a person commits their life – no matter how much or how little of it – to true volunteer service, they often do it for no reward, other than the fulfillment of bettering the world. However, it is always wonderful to see people making headlines for their tremendous work and dedication to the field of volunteer service.

Today’s spotlight is dedicated to a very special family in the Philippines: the Balmedianos.

Philippines: Legacy of a volunteering father

Apreillou Balmediano (right) standing next to brother Bryan and his family (photo taken from

When Benny Balmediano suffered a cardiac arrest in 2004, his son Bryan successfully resuscitated him with his first aid training as a volunteer for the Phillippine Red Cross (PRC). After this life-altering event, Benny, alongside Bryan, joined the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement as a volunteer driver and emergency responder for the PRC. He even encouraged his daughter, Apreillou, to join as a volunteer as well.

However, on the night of February 19, 2012, while responding to an incident in Kidapawan City, Benny died in an explosion while trying to shield Bryan.

Their father’s death has drastically impacted the lives of Bryan and Apreillou, but they have decided to continue their volunteer work with the Red Cross. Together, they have been saving countless lives through their efforts to both preserve the lives of the people in the Philippines, as well as the the legacy of their father, Benny.

To read the full article, click here.

Travel Tip #1

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On this blog, one of the posts every month will be dedicated to some short tips to always keep in mind when volunteering abroad. After all, traveling to a new place can be pretty exciting, but also very, very scary – especially if you’re not prepared! Today’s tip is…

Buy good shoes!

Wherever you’re traveling, you’re guaranteed to be walking…a lot. Invest in a comfortable, high quality pair of shoes. It doesn’t necessarily have to empty your wallet, but definitely something you can count on for long, taxing hikes throughout the duration of your trip. Make sure they’re closed-toe to prevent bug bites and cuts, weatherproof for when Mother Nature unpredictably strikes, and make sure they aren’t flashy, but they are very, very durable.

Click to enlarge

Salomon Ellipse GTX – women’s (

And definitely don’t forget to break into them before your journey! Your feet will thank you!

Meet Our New Summer Interns!

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Srisivaa Karri – Communications Intern

1398573_739284922751511_272028057_oMy name is Srisivaa Karri, or Sri for short, and I am the new summer Communications Intern for IVPA! I am going to be an incoming sophomore at The Ohio State University as a double-major in Communications & International Studies with a minor in Global Public Health. I love volunteering and have done it for many years, ranging from assisting physical therapists, to tutoring underprivileged kids, to sponsoring 6 orphan children through SOS Children’s Villages International, but I’ve never been able to do anything outside of my hometown in southern Ohio. My dream is to go on a volunteer abroad trip, which I hope to do in the near future. Be sure to check out IVPA and Everyday Ambassador’s blogs for new posts!

Annemarie Morris – Social Media Intern

My name is Annemarie Morris. I was born and raised in South Florida but am Annemariecurrently studying at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, NY. I am going into my senior year majoring in Communication Studies and minoring in Social Work. Volunteering has always been an important part of my life as I spent endless hours at my local homeless shelter. Presently, I volunteer at my college local Astor Head Start Preschool. Last summer I volunteered at an orphanage in Rio Dulce, Guatemala which expanded my passion for volunteering internationally. I had the pleasure of spending last fall studying abroad in Barcelona, Spain and traveled around Europe.