For Parents & Guardians
Your child wants to embark on a journey to change the world.
We promise that it will be much more than a stamp in their passport. It will be a one-of-a-kind, life-changing experience! Not only will your son or daughter meet new people and explore new cultures, it will also be a voyage of self-discovery, serving as a meaningful rite of passage on the path to adulthood.
ME to WE Trips have a habit of creating global citizens.
We are here to help you understand the benefits your child will derive from this volunteer adventure, as well as to share with you our rigorous safety procedures and outline the trip’s value.
Your child will derive many benefits from taking a ME to WE Trip—because travelling with purpose means being part of something bigger than oneself.
See why ME to We Trips are different
They will gain self-confidence, intellectual maturity, and an appreciation for their own culture, as well as the diversity of others’.
A ME to WE Trip will also support a positive transition to adulthood. In North America, rites of passage are marked by one-time events, like getting a driver’s license or attending a prom. But in order to define who they are, young people often need to face and overcome challenges, learn to work as a team, interact with new cultures, and step outside of their comfort zone. ME to WE Trips serve as a meaningful rite of passage to help young people gain an increased sense of independence and responsibility. (They might even take out the garbage when they get home!)
Among the many benefits of a ME to WE Trip, young people connect with team members of the same age and they will make lifelong friendships as they work together as a team toward a common goal. Together, they will build wells, schools and medical clinics; teach English; and work side-by-side with rural community members on development projects. They will also have ample time for personal growth and reflection.
We can assure you that safety is our top priority. And communication with parents and guardians is of the utmost importance to us.
A ME to WE Trip is a big decision for the entire family. We understand parents are the main decision-makers. We are transparent and share our safety and risk management practices to ensure that all parental concerns are addressed.
More than 6,500 youth have travelled with us across the world to Ecuador, Kenya, China, India, Ghana, Nicaragua and Arizona without incident since 2002.
Serious measures and precautions are taken to maintain the safety of each youth participant through the duration of the trip. Two to three ME to WE facilitators are with the group 24 hours a day. They are certified, trained, highly educated and well-travelled individuals that take care of everything participants may need. Some are even educators with extensive backgrounds working with youth. If an emergency situation should arise, facilitators have access to Western standard hospitals and medical care.
All points of the experience are checked against stringent safety regulations—from purified water to proper food preparations. Participants travel by all-terrain vehicles while in the host country. ME to WE also monitors all travel advisories to keep up-to-date with the latest information.
Additionally, all safety equipment is provided for build site projects including goggles, foot protection and hard hats.
At ME to WE, we also recognize that volunteering overseas isn’t for everyone.
As part of our registration process, we work closely with parents to understand any pre-existing health conditions their children have. There are some mental and physical health conditions that we are not able to adequately support on our trips.
You can read more detailed information about these specific protocols here:
Upon signing up for a ME to WE Trip, you and your child will be referred to the Trips Coordination Team. Well before your child departs on their exciting adventure abroad, you will work alongside a knowledgeable trip coordinator who will ensure that all of your questions and concerns are addressed. ME to WE Trip coordinators will help guide you from the initial idea of a trip, to feeling well-prepared and comfortable sending your child abroad with ME to WE. They will:
- Guide you through all the necessary paperwork
- Confidentially gather your child’s medical information from their trip application, ensuring that the Associate Director of Risk Management and the ME to WE Country Office are well-briefed on any specific medical needs your child has
- Help you purchase a comprehensive insurance package for your child (if they don’t already have one), which includes trip cancellation, trip interruption and medical coverage
- Guide you through the application process should your child require a visa for their trip
- Guide you through the packing list, ensuring your child packs the necessary gear to keep them safe, happy and healthy during their trip (e.g. long pants, water bottle, sunscreen)
- Conduct a pre-departure presentation, in person or via webinar
- Have a candid conversation with your child regarding their upcoming trip that will:
- Address any questions they may have
- Go over the rules and expectations held for all of our trip participants
- Speak to the highlights your child will experience on their trip and what they can look forward to
- Recommend that your child visits a travel doctor to discuss any necessary vaccinations or medications they may need for their trip
- Ensure that your child’s airport departure runs smoothly, and welcome your child upon their return home
- If your child is travelling with a school or community group, the trip coordinator will book the group flights and monitor connecting flights, ensuring that everyone’s travel plans are well in place prior to departure
- Once your child’s group arrives at the airport we will ensure (in conjunction with the school) that the airport check-in is as smooth as possible
Well before your child departs for their volunteer experience, ME to WE staff who live and work full-time abroad take numerous precautionary measures to ensure your child is kept safe, happy and healthy throughout their entire experience. These precautionary measures include but are not limited to:
- Our extensive facilitator training program, held twice a year, includes emergency evacuation protocols, standard operating procedures and crisis prevention/management training
- Local hospitals with Western medical standards are aware of our trips and prepared to handle any minor or major medical situations.
- Air evacuation is used for emergencies, where service is applicable and/or required
- Copies of all passports, medical and travel insurance, emergency contact information, and dietary and medical requirements are collected at least 60 days prior to departure
- Travel advisories for each country location ME to WE operates in are monitored by international and country offices on a regular basis, as issued by:
- The Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade
- The United Kingdom’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office
- The United States Department of State
Throughout their entire experience abroad, your child will be accompanied by ME to WE facilitators and a ME to WE cultural guide. Safety measures employed by these staff members include, but are not limited to:
- Upon arrival, your child will be met at the airport by ME to WE staff members, regardless of whether they are travelling alone or with a group
- All vehicles utilized for in-country transportation are owned and operated by either ME to WE or a trusted transportation provider
- All vehicles follow regular maintenance standards and have functioning seatbelts for every occupant
- Where possible, transportation only happens by day, accompanied by our expert facilitators
- Facilitators are accessible at all times using a variety of methods of communication and speak with the Country Director on a daily basis
- All facilitators are trained in first aid, and carry a first-aid kit at all times
- During project-building activities, all participants are given thorough instructions on the use of simple equipment and wear protective equipment including hard hats, safety goggles and gloves
- All meals are prepared by ME to WE trained cooks, who are knowledgeable of our food preparation standards, and use only filtered water in their preparation
- The exception to this is when groups are in major urban centres such as Quito, Managua and Beijing—in these instances ME to WE groups visit restaurants that maintain Western sanitation standards
- Participants have access to filtered or bottled water at all times
Should your child require medical care for a minor health issue during their trip, ME to WE employs an extensive communication protocol, designed to keep you up-to-date and in touch with treatment given to your child. Below is an example of how ME to WE’s communication protocol is carried out:
- During a soccer game, your child sprains their ankle. After a brief assessment, the facilitator sees that your child is in a lot of pain. Using their emergency cell phone, the facilitator calls the Country Director, who is the senior-most staff member in charge of all ME to WE Trips in that destination.
- After obtaining all of the necessary information, the Country Director makes the decision to bring your child to a nearby medical clinic. The Country Director arranges to meet your child, their facilitator and the ME to WE driver (who is driving an emergency “tail” vehicle) at the clinic. At no point is your child left alone. En-route, the Country Director calls the 24-hour emergency phone in Toronto to loop them in to the situation.
- Upon receiving the Country Director’s phone call on the 24-hour emergency phone, the Associate Director of Risk Management records all details of the incident. They will then call you to inform you that your child is on their way to a clinic for a possible sprained ankle, accompanied by ME to WE staff. Where appropriate, a phone call will be arranged between you and your child before they are seen by a physician. Where applicable, the Associate Director of Risk Management will then open an insurance claim on behalf of your child.
- After being seen by the physician, the Country Director will call the Toronto 24-hour emergency phone with the diagnosis and plan of action (e.g. close monitoring, elevation, light activities on the build site).
- The Associate Director of Risk Management will provide you with the physician’s diagnosis and plan of action. When possible (and if desired), additional phone calls will be arranged between you and your child.
- If applicable, updates on your child’s ankle will be provided to you by the Associate Director of Risk Management.
- Once your child returns home, you will be provided with the medical reports (if applicable) and the insurance claim number, opened on your child’s behalf.
Please note: a similar communication protocol will be employed should an emergency occur at home and you require immediate communication with your child. If you would like to walk through how this communication protocol would change in the event of a more serious medical or political emergency, please feel free to contact our Risk Management Team, at 416.964.8942 x1793.
Our Risk Management team is happy to speak with you regarding any concerns you may have and to help you make the best decision for your family.
Please contact 416.964.8942 x1793
A ME to WE Trip is an inclusive experience with an incredible value. Participants will have unparalleled opportunities to not only interact with a beautiful culture but also benefit from leadership training and engaging talks from development specialists.
From takeoff to landing, all trip details are taken care of, including flights, quality accommodations, transportation and daily meals. We also offer 24-hour emergency service with risk management team members in both North America and the country of travel. We do ask parents and guardians to deal with visas, vaccines and spending money—everything else, we will handle.
In addition to on the ground support for your child, we also support you leading up to the trip. For those looking to fundraise, coordinators are available on a one-on-one basis to help you with resources, workshops and a fundraising platform to set you up for success. In many cases, participants raise enough money to cover the entire cost. Learn more by visiting our Fundraising Page.
We want to provide you with all the information you need to make a decision that best serves you and your child. At ME to WE, we’re not just offering a life-changing experience, we’re here to support you every step of the way as your trip planning partner. Through a trips coordinator, we help you navigate trip planning through our online trips portal. We work to ensure the best possible experience before, during and after the trip. It’s about making it as easy as possible so you can feel assured and confident.
Travel with us and you’ll not only impact a community, you’ll change your own life
93% of participants intend to play a leadership role in social justice activities in their community.
95% of ME to WE Trip participants report feeling a strong sense of responsibility for the well-being of people in developing countries when they return home.
85% of participants are involved in volunteering in their communities after returning from a ME to WE Trip.