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How to Introduce Voluntourism to Tweens and Teens

by Susan Finch

Nov 28, 2017

© Sandra Foyt | Dreamstime

Age Specific / Teens

Volunteering as a family is a fun and meaningful way to share a bonding experience while giving back, but you can heighten the experience by volunteering during your next vacation. Kids get to see the world is more than just resorts, beaches and amusement parks while impacting the local community.


But in order to really get your tweens and teens inspired, you need an inspired plan where volunteering ends up being the best part of your vacation.


Foster Their Passions

One of the best ways to get tweens and teens in the spirit of giving is to foster their passions and match them with a reputable cause. Animal loving families can book a trip to the Best Friends Animal Society in Utah. The largest no-kill sanctuary for companion animals helps build programs to reduce the number of animals entering shelters. Kids can visit the kitten room to give some love and pitch in and meet the dogs. Your kids might even decide to make a donation from their allowance as part of the voluntourism experience.


Get Back to Nature

It’s no big secret kids need to spend more time in nature. In fact, today’s children only spend half as much time playing outside as their parents did. Nature Corps offers all-inclusive national and state park volunteer vacations. Catered and professionally guided volunteer vacations give a behind-the-scenes look at our nation’s parks. Proceeds from a volunteer vacation tuition also support their Student Volunteer program making it tax deductible.

Teacher plays with kids

Photo: Monkey Business Images | Dreamstime


Visit a Local School

There may be no better way to inspire your kids and educate them on the world than to give them a glimpse of a local school while giving back. Developed by the Sandals Foundation, families can join its Island Impact programs at Beaches Resort to help local students. Its Reading Road Trip program connects resort guests with schools to donate books, read to the kids, and visit with local school children.


Take a Break From the Theme Parks

Orlando may reign as the epicenter of classic family vacations, but there’s more to do than just amusement parks and dinner with your favorite characters. Universal Studio’s Give the Kids the World program is a non-profit storybook resort for children with life-threatening illnesses and their families. Volunteer jobs include scooping up ice cream, restocking treats, carousel gatekeeper and castle attendant, among other fun gigs. Your kids directly impact the sick children they’re helping while learning more about responsibility and hard work.


Make Your Travel More Meaningful

If you’re not sure how to give back, think about your voluntourism as a way to make your travel more meaningful. You can always bring needed supplies and make a difference through Pack for a Purpose where travelers have brought more than 205,465 pounds of essentials to more than 60 countries. Or you and your kids can look up local soup kitchens and volunteer a few hours to help feed the community.


However you decide to introduce volunteerism to tweens and teens, make sure to thoroughly check any volunteer or non-profit organizations you’re joining. Work with an organization with a long-standing reputation and track record for success. It’s also a good opportunity to talk through how your tween or teen will impact the destination they’re visiting and what it means to give back.


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