Teen Volunteer Programs For Students and Groups
Global Works Teen Volunteer Programs
Service work is at the heart of many Global Works teen volunteer programs. Each Global Works trip has the potential to use participants’ service funds and volunteer labor to realize very real and potentially impactful service projects. The program is designed to be a win-win-win situation – the community/organization with which we engaged in our service work is provided with funds for service projects, labor, and meaningful exchange; students are able to get an authentic look into another way of life and have fun (sometimes life-changing) adventures.
Sustainability Through Community Involvement
The first step of a successful, sustainable service project, is making strong connections with like-minded, motivated families and organizations in the communities where we travel. We collaborate with these contacts to organize projects based on the needs of the community; we will provide materials and enthusiastic volunteers, but it is imperative that the community is involved and committed to these projects.
What Makes a Good Project for the Community/Organization?
- Sustainability: It is important to start projects the community or organization can maintain and will remain useful after Global Works has departed.
- Involvement + buy-in = empowerment and sustainability: If the community/organization is a collaborative part of the service project and have provided an investment of money, time, labor, and/or materials, they are more likely to use and appreciate the completed project. Empower the community or organization to help themselves and envision how to maintain or build-on Global Works’ start.
- Empower the community/organization to make key decisions: Have the community/organization design and/or be involved in the project planning and development. Remember they are the experts about their community/organization and should be empowered to make their own decisions. Remember to make projects appropriate to their culture, not yours!
- Select a key local project liaison, a co- or backup liaison and helper: Communication with one or two key liaisons is the most effective way to reach the rest of the community/organization. It is important the liaison is reliable and well respected within the community/organization. Having a backup project liaison and identifying helpers and assistants in the community will make projects run smoother.
- Foster relationships with the community and key liaisons: Spend some time with them joking around, sharing a meal, and/or hanging out at their houses. Positive relationships between guides and the community is one of greatest kept secrets to successful service projects. Go on, be your charming self!
- Provide and communicate clear instructions: Hold an information session with the community to communicate clear instructions and expectations about the group and project needs. Continue to provide clear and positive communication on group needs throughout the project.
- Cultural and language facilitation: It is important that we view ourselves as facilitators. Helping the community to understand our youth’s conversations, culture, and jokes, as well as promoting interaction will help the community break the ice more.
To get started on your next volunteer trip, choose a Global Works Adventure!