Humanitarian Trips

Kylee Rasmussen, Sports Editor

It’s almost fact that teenagers in high school and college are stricken with the optimistic belief that they can change the world.

We all would like to believe that we can do something to leave our mark and make a difference in the world we live in, but often times this hope is lost in translation. Fortunately there are several opportunities to make a difference not only in your hometown, but around the world in places that especially need help; with humanitarian organizations specifically for teen students, based right here in Utah.

There are several opportunities for teen humanitarian trips in Utah from YMAD (Youth Making A Difference) to HEFY (Humanitarian Experience for Youth) to Youthlinc. These programs all provide amazing opportunities for teens to see what it’s like in areas of the world that don’t have our same privileges and help make the world a better place.

Each of these humanitarian programs does inspiring things so none of them is a better option than another; choosing one depends on the experience you’re looking for.

YMAD goes to different areas of India twice a year in three different teams (two in the fall and one in the spring.) Their goal is to teach English to girls to help them avoid the vicious cycle of poverty and human trafficking that is not out of the ordinary in third world areas.

HEFY has several expeditions in the summer to countries in Asia, Africa, Central America, South America, and Oceania all with a unique and specific mission for each of the area they travel to. These missions can include building bathrooms, schools, or wells; or providing service in any other way the area may need.

Youthlinc teams travel in the summer to either Cambodia, Guatemala, Kenya, Madagascar, Nepal, Peru, Thailand, or Fiji. They focus on both education and construction in the villages they travel to in order to help them thrive off the resources and education they provide.

Programs like YMAD and Youthlinc differ from HEFY because they are year long programs. Both of these organizations are near year long commitments to not only prepare for a humanitarian mission but to learn about leadership and provide service in the local community. This comes from service projects in their own cities as well as teaching and assisting in local schools that receive less funding like the Washington School downtown.

All of the humanitarian trips require fundraising. Trips cost around $4,000 and teens in these programs are expected to earn and fundraise this money on their own. The organizations require fundraising and earning money (rather than getting it from their parents) to build character and allow teens to feel as though they have put in a lot of work to get to help the people wherever they go. In my own YMAD team, Operation Bandhu, we all wrote letters to friends, family, and companies asking for donations. Some kids irrigated lawns, cleaned garbage cans, or sold cookies to get to the required amount of money; in all twenty two of us reached it fairly easily by working hard to get donations.  

If you’re looking to spread kindness and service in your home area as well as around the world, then a humanitarian trip is a great way to do it. Taking advantage of the time and resources you have in high school is something everyone and anyone can do with a hard work ethic and a desire to make the world a better place. Upon returning home from her humanitarian trip to West Bengal, India, Bingham alumnus, Grace Pilling discussed her service mission and said simply, “I think everyone should do it.”

For more information on applying or donating to any of the organizations mentioned, visit their websites or social media pages.