A service trip is time spent helping others. Often referred to as a Gap Year, this is a great way to learn and work, while gaining personal insight. Working in service to others helps you see the world from a new point of view and can help you find your passion. Typically, service trips and gap years involve living and working in a community that is underserved, has a high poverty rate, or has been impacted by a disaster. The opportunity may be international, national, and local. From helping to build houses, teaching farming skills, supporting health care initiatives, and everything in between, there are numerous organizations that offer both volunteer and paid work experiences.
The cost of service trips vary, but service work can be found for all budgets. Though overseas travel can get expensive, living and working in a foreign country can be life changing. Volunteers fund their trips through fundraising and sponsorships. Long-term volunteers in programs such as these may be paid stipends through grants or fundraising. Teach for America and Rotary International are great examples of sponsorship organizations. For short-term opportunities, many church organizations organize service trips locally, nationally, and internationally.
There are both short-term service trips, summer-long experiences, and those that are a year or longer. This depends on where you want to go and what the service agreement is with the sponsoring organization.
Housing is often provided by the sponsoring organization as part of the service trip or year-of-service program. Another option is to remain local, work, and volunteer for an organization where you live. This way, you get to know your community and build your professional network– all while making a positive impact on the lives of others.
Education requirements vary. For those who are seeking a year-of-service, most programs require a high school diploma or GED.
Adding service to your resume demonstrates that you are passionate, conscientious, open-minded, and willing to help others. You may have the option to stay working at the organization or may find a college scholarship opportunity based on your service. Locally, Lancaster has a dynamic non-profit community. Check out the options that exist locally in Lancaster for a service year.