My 16-year old daughter was one of the youngest students this year to participate in a Youthlinc service trip to Mexico. As a parent who admittedly possesses some degree of helicopter-type parental tendencies, I will in fact admit that I was initially quite nervous to have my daughter travel out of the country by herself for the first time, so naturally, I proceeded with caution in going along with her plan and desire to fulfill this giant leap of humanitarianism. (But what parent in their right mind would deny their teen the opportunity to self-embark on such a wonderful pursuit?? My heartstrings had suddenly been yanked; I was “in”.) To make things even easier on me, her Team Leaders, Mike and Angie were phenomenal. To this day, I am still in awe of the heart-felt dedication and commitment that the Youthlinc Team Leaders, Mentors and Alum participants possess! From the outset, these people put in 110% effort to make sure the trips are a success. My parental anxiety was put at ease on more than one occasion by these wonderful, caring people.

I can’t fully express how incredible this journey has been, not only for my daughter, but for our entire family. Like other Youthlinc parents will attest, the Youthlinc experience is indeed life-changing for these students. I don’t think I can mention any accolades or praises here that have not already been said by other parents, and I could go on for pages and pages about all the great things that Youthlinc truly is… but what I will say (or reiterate) here, is that as a parent of a Youthlinc student, you TOO will benefit from this incredible experience. Simply put, your child will become a better person because of Youthlinc (what more could a parent ask for?). Youthlinc is all about creating lifetime humanitarians, and as an added bonus, it is wonderfully ‘contagious’. My younger 13-year old daughter is now counting the days until she is old enough to apply for Youthlinc service.

Youthlinc’s unique platform is a winning combination of engaging students with their peers, in both local and international service, and truly provides a broad introduction of humanitarian service opportunities, which many young people may not otherwise get the chance to experience.

If your son or daughter is even remotely interested in Youthlinc and gets this chance, I urge you NOT to pass it up!

~ Teresa Larsen
Youthlinc parent, 2010-2011

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