Scholarships and Voluntourism – How Can They Work Effectively?

David Weindling of the Farther Foundation talks about how they select students to support and travel providers to partner with in order to have the best shot at good outcomes.

At Farther Foundation, we provide deserving, low-income high school students opportunities to learn, grow and succeed by participating in educational travel programs. We believe travel is singular in its ability to open the eyes and unbind the aspirations of students whose experiences rarely escape the boundaries of their own neighborhoods. Inspired by experience students become active and engaged learners, full of potential and more fully aware of the world and its opportunities. More and more these days, educational travel incorporates service as a key part of its itinerary.

Farther Foundation scholarship students are currently traveling and volunteering in Vietnam, Ghana, El Salvador, Argentina, Peru, Costa Rica and Hawaii. We do not require applicants for our support to choose a program that includes service learning, but our scholarship selection committee knows that such experiences can be particularly rewarding, inspiring and enlightening.

To ensure that the students we support have the best experience possible we look to work with the best possible partners.

The travel programs and providers we work with have established relationships with organizations that provide service opportunities that are designed and well supervised as appropriate for our high school aged participants. Our travel partners also make it a priority to reach out to underserved, minority and low-income students. They have developed an expertise in successfully integrating individuals of disparate backgrounds into a cohesive group that reaps benefits from its diversity. Travel providers our scholarship recipients are traveling with this year include: The Road Less Traveled, Putney Student Travel, Visions Service Adventures and AFS.

A successful outcome is not just contingent on the experience provided however, it is also dependent on the experiences and expectations each student participant brings to the program. We require all candidates for scholarship support to submit an application in conjunction with an “Education Partner”. Education Partners are schools and community based organizations that provide students with extra-curricular support such as; tutoring, mentoring, internships, after-school programming, leadership training, and college preparatory activities.  These partnerships ensure that our applicants are students who have been proactive in seeking opportunities and that they are receiving ongoing support to help them succeed.

It is neither simple nor easy to overcome negative influences and years of lost opportunity.  But, at Farther Foundation we believe that by building strong partnerships and augmenting existing networks of support with unique, inspirational and transformational travel experiences we can make a real and lasting difference in the lives of deserving students.

Farther Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization providing scholarships to low-income students to inspire them to reach their highest aspirations through educational travel experiences. http://www.fartherfoundation.org.

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