Family

Family Volunteer Vacations – Make Memories Matter

Outreach360 has been helping families make memories that matter for over 20 years. Through our family volunteer vacations in the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua, we have not only provided a great service to these communities but have also strengthened the bonds between families all over the country. You might be asking yourself: “Don’t all vacations strengthen family bonds?” Here at Outreach360, we believed that we curate experiences that no other family vacation can match.

So, how do you know if a volunteer vacation is right for your family?

Here are the reasons you should make your next vacation a family volunteer vacation:

Family Bonding Time
The world is full of distractions, largely related to electronics. Phones, tablet, and computers seem to be a constant distraction for families and take away from the potential memories that could be built on vacations. During all Outreach360 volunteer trips, families are given the opportunity to disconnect from the rest of the world and reconnect with family members. This is an amazing opportunity for parents to bond with their children as they get older. As kids get older, parents often have difficulty finding time to fully connect with them. A volunteer vacation is a perfect opportunity to foster this reconnection while also making it fun and educational.

Teach Lessons and Values
Being immersed on a volunteer trip in the Dominican Republic or Nicaragua allows for families to learn valuable lessons about giving, service, and helping others. These are core values many families try to teach through regular volunteering. However, being able to participate in a week-long volunteer trip physically shows the values and teaches them first hand. Children are able to see how helping to teach the ABC’s to a child in need can put the biggest smile on their face. These little moments can result in everlasting lessons and memories that will live on and shape your family.

Make Memories that Matter
All vacations are memorable. Whether it is something funny that happened on the beach or that amazing meal you had for dinner, there is no doubt that all time spent with family on vacations create memories. Outreach360 can give you and your family the ability to make memories that not only matter to you but also to others. By spending just one week in the Dominican Republic or Nicaragua, you are able to make an impact on the community by teaching and helping others. You and your family will cherish these memories forever and feel so full after your time with us, but your actions and time will create memories for those in need that will also be coveted forever. These dual memories mean so much to all involved, and through this opportunity for a family volunteer vacation, you will be able to create memories that matter.

Outreach360 works to provide the safest and most memorable vacation for families. Be sure to check out our Family Volunteer Vacations page to learn more. We hope you join us to make memories that matter with your family.

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Families that Dare to Dream Together Stick Together

Looking for your next family vacation getaway? We’ve got you covered. The 2018 Dare to Dream Summer Camp is an authentic, service-learning experience made for family volunteers in both Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic. Families who participate will have the unique opportunity to educate underserved students in subjects such as journalism, STEM fields, performing and fine arts, health sciences, business, and environmental sustainability.

But wait. There’s more.

Angela Durtschi with her son taste-testing coffee during a cultural excursion in Jinotega, Nicaragua with Outreach360.

During your trip to the Dominican Republic or Nicaragua, you and your family members will serve real needs and together you will make a difference in underserved students’ lives. The knowledge family volunteers share with students will ignite their curiosity for potential careers they may not have known existed. Furthermore, this opportunity is inclusive for everyone. Outreach360 students are eager to learn from volunteers of all ages, including young children, young adults, parents, and grandparents.

Teaching abroad can open doors for your family, and you will truly make memories that matter. The 2018 Dare to Dream Summer Camp is the perfect way to introduce your loved ones to the developing, global community in a safe environment. Being exposed to service abroad will initiate your family into the emerging world of global citizenship. With these experiences, family members will become more conscientious of the needs of the international community. More importantly, service abroad will instill your family with a mentality of service that you will take home with you.

Jacob Durtschi interacting with students in Nicaragua while serving with his family as an Outreach360 volunteer.

Angela Durtschi, an Outreach360 Family Volunteer, said, “Initially, I signed up to broaden my son’s view of the world and encourage empathy. I ended up achieving this for myself as well. We are all more alike than we are different and it´s always a great idea to remind yourself that we live in a small world.”

This opportunity is perfect for families interested in making a global difference while sharing their passion for subjects of their
choosing. This exchange of knowledge will empower your family’s personal growth by requiring them to think outside the box in order to teach in a sustainable way. What may be practiced in the United States or Canada, may not be practiced in Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic. Discovering these differences will broaden your family’s understanding of the world. Most importantly, it will motivate students to pursue new careers.

“This was such a good opportunity for our family to engage with people with diverse backgrounds. It put our kids in a role that their egocentrism was challenged. They worked hard and really stepped up to help other people. They were also given opportunities to learn from the kids and start to see similarities they had with the students,” Jacob Durtschi, an Outreach360 Family Volunteer, explained.

How can your family get involved? Register for the 2018 Dare to Dream Summer Camp today!

Now is the time to give back. If you register your family for the 2018 Dare to Dream Summer Camp before April 1st, Outreach360 will match your registration deposit. For more information on how to register, click here: https://outreach360.org/our-causes/dare-dream-summer-camps/

 

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Why You Should Go On A Family Volunteer Vacation

“Our week at camp was an incredible experience for me and my children, ages 15 and 12. We saw each other as teachers, students, adventurers, and resilient volunteers instead of just parents and teenagers. We also had a safe environment to immerse ourselves in the beautiful, rich culture of the Dominican Republic, and we experienced a much different lifestyle than we have back home.” -Lisa Asseling; Outreach360 Family Vacation Volunteer. 

Family volunteering is a unique opportunity that will bring your family closer together while serving a common cause. An Outreach360 family volunteer vacation is an inclusive way to introduce your family to a foreign culture. Volunteering abroad with Outreach360 is safe for family members of all ages, including young children, young adults, parents, and grandparents. During your trip in the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua, you and your family members will serve real needs and together you will make a difference in underserved students’ lives.

But wait, there’s more.

Family volunteering with Outreach360 will expose your family to international service providing your loved ones with global connections that will empower and inspire. All the while, bringing your family closer together! Here are 10 reasons why you should consider going on an Outreach360 family volunteer vacation:

1. Your Family’s Safety Is Our # 1 Priority

We know that traveling abroad can raise some concerns, but please know that Outreach360 considers all of our volunteers to be members of OUR service family. We keep our family safe and out of harm’s way during their stay in the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua, just as you would keep your family safe at or away from home. Here’s the deal: Outreach360 family volunteer vacation safety is our top priority.  We manage our own facilities and have full-time international and local staff leading our volunteers in each country.  The local staff lives and works full-time in-country, and they facilitate the volunteer experience. Working with people who live in the country where you are serving is key to ensuring your safety – they know the country, the community, and the neighborhood where you will be volunteering.  Outreach360 also orientates all of our volunteers on basic health, safety, and respectful living guidelines that ensure family volunteer safety and ultimately to ensure that you have the best volunteer experience imaginable.

 2. Gain Cultural Insights

Although you and your family will focus on providing educational opportunities for kids, together you will gain knowledge about a different culture. It’s a common sentiment amongst Outreach360 volunteers that they leave their experience feeling they have gained as much as they have given. Here is what Anna Boyd, a former Outreach360 volunteer from Saint Stephens Episcopal School, had to say about her experience: “I have volunteered with Outreach360 4 times, and each time I feel like I learn something new. I always leave feeling as is I have received from the kids even more than I gave to them.” This cultural exchange of knowledge is what our organization strives for. The Outreach360 family volunteer vacation will benefit your family by teaching you about a new culture in the Dominican Republic and in Nicaragua.

3. Instill a Mentality of Service in Your Family

According to a study from the Public Library of Science Journal, three psychologists at the University of British Columbia found that children receive psychological benefits from giving, much like their parents do. Why does this matter? The study infers that beginning service at a young age will instill happiness, and as a result of that happiness, it will also instill a family mentality of giving back. Outreach360 family volunteers are giving back in a sustainable way through education. Sharing knowledge will provide our students with a life of choice. In addition, this exchange of knowledge will inspire your family to live a life of service.

4. Less Planning Means Less Worrying

Outreach360 gets it. International travel logistics can be a nightmare. When you choose to participate in an Outreach360 family volunteer vacation, you will not have to worry about in-country logistics. We will handle your travel transportation to and from the airport, provide you with comfortable housing, and three home-cooked meals per day. Outreach360 exists to make your volunteering abroad experience easy – it’s a turn-key approach to international service. Our staff is highly trained to accommodate all needs that your family might have, so you can sit back, relax, and enjoy volunteering in Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic.

5. Team Work Makes the Dream Work

With Outreach360, parents teach alongside their children to educate underserved students in Latin American communities. Family members will create lesson plans together, teach together, and learn together in the classroom. This environment creates a team mentality while serving. In order to reach your family’s volunteering goals, you will work as a team and support each other throughout the process. Working as a team will further encourage quality family time allowing you and your family to bond over service. You’ll discover brand-new, positive qualities about your loved ones that you never knew before.

6. Family Fun

Volunteering with Outreach360 means endless family fun. Your family will have the opportunity to explore a city abroad, climb mountains, and make a difference in dozens of students’ lives. Although you’ll have several chances to participate in the local culture, you will be surprised to find that teaching will be the highlight of your week. Outreach360 students are thrilled to share powerful intercultural experiences with volunteers of all ages. See all the ways volunteering with Outreach360 on a family volunteer vacation is fun here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z1EXXzaFO5E

7. Bring it Home

After your family volunteer vacation with Outreach360, your family will want to continue making an impact in your local community and internationally. Outreach360 hopes to inspire families to continue to serve. Whether that is by returning to volunteer in the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua or volunteering at home, Outreach360 aspires to create a community of global families who are committed to making a difference and giving back.

8. Inspire Others

Imagine the impact we could have if all families took one week out of their busy schedules to serve. It would cause a ripple effect of transformation! By volunteering abroad with your family, you’re likely to inspire other families around you to do the same. Avery Kit, age 8, said this after volunteering with her family: “I missed my best friend’s birthday to be here, but I am going to tell her all about being here and she is going to know why I missed her birthday. Because she knows it’s important to help people.” Simply sharing your Outreach360 story, like Avery, can empower other families to volunteer. Eventually, this will lead to a family volunteer community that is enthusiastic about direct service and positive change.

9. Empower Your Family to Empower Others

Each member of your family has different skills and talents that make them extraordinary. Outreach360 aims to allow individuals to use their skills and talents to empower students in the local community. When you volunteer as a family, you will share each others’ strengths in order to make lessons more engaging for Outreach360 students. Shawndell Hand, a former Outreach360 Family volunteer, said, “The experience will definitely have a lasting impact on how our family functions. I believe, in addition to having a much greater spirit of gratitude for our blessings, we all see one another in a new way. We each gained a better understanding of what we carry in our hearts; we have more pride about the caring and loving sides of each family member; and I forever hold the memories of watching the kind, gentle, and loving spirits that my husband and children shared with these extraordinary children of Jinotega.” Empowering your loved ones will, in turn, empower others, including Outreach360 students, staff, and local community members. This process will motivate Outreach360 students to develop their own passions and to share them with the world, making their dreams a reality.

10. Become a Global Citizen

Exposing your family to service abroad will initiate your family into the emerging world of global citizenship. With these experiences, your family will become more conscientious of the needs of the international community. Service will take on a new meaning and open doors for new beginnings for your family. An Outreach360 family volunteer vacation will cause your family to continue learning about issues around the world, and become powerful advocates for action and change

Register your family to volunteer with Outreach360 today: https://outreach360.org/volunteer/family-volunteer-vacations/

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Family Finds Future in Volunteering Abroad

Canadian resident Lisa Gerrard volunteered abroad in Jinotega, Nicaragua in August 2017 alongside her children, Avery Kit, age 8, and Ryan Kit, age 11, with Outreach360. Lisa, a Criminology Professor at Algonquin College in Ottawa, volunteered with Outreach360 for the first time in Feb. 2014 leading 10 college students in the Dominican Republic. After volunteering with Outreach360 in 2014, Lisa decided to bring her children to volunteer in Nicaragua.

Ryan Kit, left, reads with Nicaraguan student in the Outreach360 Learning Center located in Jinotega, Nicaragua

“I was hoping to gain some time with my children, as well as a new adventure; doing something different, pushing them outside of their comfort zone, and seeing the lessons that we could take home as a result,” she explains.

Lisa and her two children taught English immersion classes to 37 Nicaraguan students from the German Pomares neighborhood located in Jinotega. Lisa and her daughter, Avery, taught lessons to students about writing and reading. Ryan opted to teach interactive lessons involving movement and expression by honing into his passion for sports. All in all, each family member enjoyed teaching the English language.

Avery says, “I really did like the program. I really liked working with the kids. When I see them learning and trying to speak in English, it just makes me so happy to see that happen.”

Lisa Gerrard, left, with daughter Avery Kit, right, interact with Nicaraguan students in the Outreach360 Learning Center located in Jinotega, Nicaragua.

Outreach360 welcomes family volunteers, like the Gerrard family, to serve in impoverished areas in Latin America, while providing a safe and inclusive environment for volunteers of all ages. The organization immerses family volunteers in cultural experiences unique to both the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua.

Ryan and Avery especially enjoyed exploring Nicaragua. They admit they were both nervous about being in a new environment but were glad that they had decided to volunteer as a family.

“It’s inspiring to help other people because at the end of the day you feel good and they feel good too. I learned that no matter where you are from in the world, all kids are the same,” Ryan said.

Volunteering abroad provides a unique opportunity for families. With Outreach360, parents teach alongside their children to educate underserved students in Nicaraguan communities. This opportunity opens doors for families looking to spend quality time together.

“As a teacher, it was really neat to see my children teaching. There is so much family time, even if we were just playing catch in the backyard, skipping in the front, or whatever the case may be. At home, we are so busy, riding off to football practice, or wherever we are going. With Outreach360, you are unplugged and it is just family time,” said Lisa.

She admits that she is already planning on leading another group of her college students to volunteer in Nicaragua; however, she hopes to continue to bring her family to volunteer with Outreach360 each year. Both of her children are eager to continue to serve abroad and at home in Canada.

Lisa explains, “I don’t know how we couldn’t do it again after doing it once and having exposed my kids to this opportunity. I think it needs to become a part of our regular routine.”

More information about Outreach360 can be found here: www.outreach360.org.

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A Family of Three

The Monilaws served with us for three weeks in Nicaragua.  This is their story: 

At first I thought, I’d like to volunteer teaching English somewhere.  Get out of the daily grind and experience something completely new!  This idea turned into; how could I bring my family? Which turned into; could we actually all volunteer together somewhere?  After much research I came across outreach360.  One of the few organizations who not only welcomed children but allowed them, encourage them, to participate as volunteers.  This idea, I loved!  As a family of three; Sydney – 11, Stacey – 4, and myself, I thought this could be the perfect fit!

We chose Nicaragua for many reasons, one in particular being Sydney is enrolled in a Spanish immersion program in her school and I wanted her to have the opportunity to use the Spanish language she had learned as well as experience one of the cultures/ countries she had been studying.  Stacey and I were happy to get away from the cold Canadian winter to just about anywhere!  So, Nicaragua it was!

When planning this trip, traveling with 2 children brought many questions and logistical planning.  Would we actually be able to teach?  Would we have culture shock?  What if we didn’t like the food?  What kind of precautions should we take? So after everyone had vaccinations, packed medicines for every possible ailment, a month worth of snacks, and Spanish vocabulary was practiced, we arrived at Outreach360 only to realize all the worrying was for nothing.  We felt nothing but comfortable and welcomed (not to mention excited) the moment we stepped off the plane!  Outreach360 staff really made us feel at home.

Outreach360 has 10 principles to keep in mind when volunteering with them.  One being “Its not about you”.  I adopted this principle when we first arrived and really focused on the mission of Outreach360; to help children who may not otherwise have the opportunity to reach their full potential.  The Learning Center was amazing and the kids who are in this program are so eager to learn.  They are smart kids and I felt so fortunate to have the chance to work with them for 3 whole weeks.

One of my favorite moments was teaching the kids at the Learning Centre hockey!  We thought bringing Canada’s national sport to the kids of Jinotega would be a great experience and something new for them to try.  We packed 8 hockey sticks with us and it took less than 30 seconds for the kids to catch on to the idea of the game.  The laughter that ensued was contagious as they ran back and forth across the backyard, sticks in hand!  We all enjoyed teaching them and are so glad we can leave a small part of something we love as a family, with them.

It turned out Outreach360 was the perfect match for our family.  I could go on and on about the amazing staff, fantastic volunteers, and of course the inspiring students.  I will definitely leave with more than I expected to and our experience in Jinotega is one all three of is will not soon forget.      -Katie

“Outreach360 has been one of the best experiences for us.  It makes it clearer, after being in Jinotega for 3 weeks, that the work being done by volunteers and staff is benefiting the kids.  The kids are open to any recreational activity; we brought hockey sticks from home and they loved playing hockey!  I also met some pretty amazing volunteers and even though it’s about the kids, meeting volunteers who are also so open and friendly really MAKES this experience.  The kids are all so unique and having met them I can see what individuals they really are.  (I won’t spoil the experience for you with too much detail, you’ll have to come see for yourself!)”  -Sydney, 11

“My favorite part was camp because I was making so many new friends!  I’m so happy because I got to bring my hockey stick and play hockey with the kids.”   -Stacey, 4

 

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