In the wake of the recent incomprehensible violence at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida and Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe, Texas, we wanted to take a moment to reach out. Our hearts are broken, we are hurting, and although we cannot pretend to know the heartache felt by those who lost loved ones this week, we extend our thoughts to everyone in all of the communities throughout the years affected by senseless violence.
It is easy to feel disheartened and powerless in these incredibly difficult and confusing times. If we teach empathy, look out for the lonely, stand up for each other, and create places where everyone can feel safe and supported, we can renew hope.
To students everywhere who are our future leaders: You have a strong voice. Wherever and whoever you are, speak your truth. Take a stand, empower change, no matter how small, because you CAN make a difference.
It may be necessary to lean into the discomfort of facing criticism and doubters. Let it make you stronger. Let it further inspire you, let it shape your character, and let it help you stay true to who you are. Today can be and should be your time.
It is our hope that together we can be advocates for change and shape a better tomorrow.
We believe in relevant, collaborative, and responsible community service travel experiences that help contribute to a more equitable world where our students can connect with others different from themselves and forge life-changing experiences and lasting relationships.
Every year, scores of young people travel the world to participate in community service programs as volunteers. Twenty-five years ago when we first began The Road Less Traveled, few if any of these programs existed. Today there are many, each offering their own interpretation of “community service.” Some programs focus solely on the traveler's experience, and many rarely consider the impact on, or sacrifice of, the communities they are there to serve.
Community service on The Road Less Traveled is based on our own personal philosophy of what we call “accompaniment.” It is also rooted in a commitment to “Do No Harm” in all that we do. We recognize that the individuals and communities that we visit, and the students who are honored enough to share in the experience, are both uniquely impacted in ways that are life-changing.
One of the gifts our The Road Less Traveled offers is the opportunity to explore diversity and to provide the experience to ALL students. We accomplish this through a healthy and robust scholarship program known as Geography of Hope, which supports nearly 20% of our total travelers each year.
The Road Less Traveled service experience is community driven - as is our company. This is why we as an organization became the first certified B-Corp in Illinois. Committed to more than just sustainability (which is the ability to continue a defined behavior indefinitely), we strive to go above and beyond, meeting rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency.
Our students walk beside communities, struggle with their desire to do something right, discuss, reflect, and try to make sense of the overall experience and what it means for them. Most importantly, they return home and contemplate how they can continue to be a part of something bigger than themselves that contributes to lasting hope and change.
We have specific standards that we adhere to. We believe in programming that emphasizes the benefits of exploring what service means, and learning from the relationships that are built out of an experience where all parties are equal and share a mutually beneficial and rewarding experience.
We have longstanding relationships in all the areas of the world we travel to, and the members of the communities we visit have the strongest voice when it comes to the creation and management of both programming and service projects.
The RLT experience is distinguished by the intercultural relationships formed on our trips, the responsible preparation of both our travelers and the community, our commitment to use local sourcing for all our project needs, our emphasis on cultural and personal reflection and above all, our unique service philosophy.
As it becomes ever more difficult in the world of the web to separate the average from the exceptional, knowing who you are choosing to travel with and where your adventure will really take you is vital. Please give Jim, Donna or any of our dedicated staff a call at 773.342.5200 if you have any questions.