Volunteering – a Life Changing Expereince

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There is a natural time for kids to stop being kids and start becoming adults – and part of this transition is leaving home, seeing the world and taking on adult responsibilities. Sadly, and usually for economic reasons, young Canadians seem to be staying with their parents for longer and longer and thus the opportunity to develop the maturity and skills they will need in their futures is delayed! This is where organizations such as Lattitude come in. For over 40 years Lattitude has sent young people abroad to grow and mature during their Gap Year, usually after they leave High School and before they go on to college or university.

Since 1972 over 43,000 young people have travelled on Lattitude’s program. For almost all, it was a life-changing experience – not only for these volunteers, but often also for their families. Just this week the Latittude team received the following email from the family of a volunteer who volunteered in Ghana in 2009 before going on to the University of Victoria in BC.

Volunteering - a Life Changing Expereince

“Our son graduated at UVic two years ago and had no imminent direction in mind at the time, except that he wanted to go back to Ghana. He worked for two years and brought his plan to fruition in February, travelling with a friend … to Accra by air. He is currently staying with his Ghanaian friend (a student teacher from Senya) and working on a well-building project at his former Ghana school.

This is the really lovely part of the story. Our son’s friend, the student teacher, had always dreamed of going to law school and in fact he is graduating on June 25th, in Accra. Our family adopted him as a brother and a son and we helped him to realize this amazing dream. He is graduating at the very top of his class and has a bright future ahead. The story goes on, if you are still interested in reading. We are going to Ghana in June to be at his graduation as well. We have been a big part of his support team and it is a no brainer that we need to be at his graduation to meet him and show him the pride we have in him. We are so looking forward to this trip. It is our first trip to Ghana and perhaps not our last. Our son’s first trip to Ghana in 2009 has changed our family in profound ways. How lucky are we?”

Receiving such messages reminds those of us working within the volunteering industry, how lucky we are to have the opportunity to affect the lives of so many young people, and their families! We offer challenging, but safely structured placements in 13 countries and match volunteers to their country destination. After 40+ years, we know it works!

Stuart Sutton-Jones
Lattitude Global Volunteering
www.lattitudecanada.org

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