With the abundance of service opportunities available, how do you choose which program is right for you? A little research and reflection will have a huge impact on finding the right volunteer site and will make for a life-changing experience.
Goals and Philosophy
-What is the philosophy of the program?
-Does it list goals for the volunteer or of the organization?
-In terms of a spiritual component, what can volunteers expect?
-Particular skills needed (teaching certification?)
-What are the service options?
-Do I have a choice of work options?
-Who makes the final selection - the organization or the placement site?
-Is there a job description?
-What are the financial costs to me?
-Will I receive a stipend?
-Who pays for housing and meals?
-Who pays transportation costs to the site, to training, back home?
-Where will I live?
-In a community of other volunteers?
-A mixed community of volunteers and religious?
-With a family?
-On my own?
-What kind of training will I receive?
-Is there an orientation program?
-Is there any mid-service training or an end-of-service re-entry program?
-Can my student loans be suspended until completion of my term of service?
-Will the program assist with the paperwork?
-If I need to raise money, will the organization assist me?
-Are donations tax-deductible for my donors?
-What are the dates of the training program?
-When does the volunteer program end?
-Can I extend my term of service if I desire?
-What happens if I terminate my volunteer service early?
-Is the area I work in safe?
-International: Is the political situation stable?
-What precautions are taken?
-What resources are available to me on-site?
-What type of health insurance policy will I receive?
-Who pays for the policy?
-International: Do I need to get a physical, a mental health check-up, immunization shots, etc.?
-What kind of support will I receive?
-Is there a support person for each site?
-Are there people to whom I can turn if I need to talk about an experience?
-Will the volunteer program staff make site visits?
-Can you give me the names of people who have participated in your program with whom I can talk or meet?
-Do I get vacation?
-Can I travel back home for a family emergency, or for holidays?
-Who pays for an emergency trip?
-International: Can I travel back to the US? Will I need a visa to be there?
-Any religious requirements or expectations as per spirituality (i.e. prayer, retreats, etc.)?
Provided by the St. Vincent Pallotti Center: www.pallotticenter.org