We interviewed a “Lattitude parent”, Susan Hoolaeff, on how she supported her daughter’s volunteer experience abroad. She gave us valuable insight into her own experience of the process and Lattitude’s support throughout.
Thank you so much for giving us insight into your family’s experience with Lattitude! For starters, can you give us your child’s name, volunteer placement, and year they traveled :
My daughter Daniela Hoolaeff volunteered in Ghana as a medical assistant from September 2018 to February 2019.
Did you previously consider that she would choose to take a Gap Year?
No I didn’t, seeing as she was accepted into a local college to commence her post secondary education in September 2018, after she graduated high school.
Did you see value in her choosing an educational volunteer abroad trip?
Oh absolutely! I began to see the likely benefits of personal growth through the type of experience Lattitude was providing by volunteering abroad, especially after attending the pre-departure briefing.
How did Lattitude stand out to you?
I had never heard of Lattitude before Daniela wanted to volunteer abroad. After she had shared with us her passion to travel and volunteer, I did some research online, and discovered many stories and amazing experiences from people who had joined. As an organization Lattitude stands out to me through their specific placements, dedication to supporting youth, and their way of connecting with people. Face-to-face interactions certainly maximized the comfort levels!
How did Lattitude impact the process of preparing, educating, and supporting her?
Lattitude was amazing preparing Daniela for her volunteer experience. The step by step process was great, and it was a very good chance to take a step up with independence as all of the preparing directions were sent to her. I had numerous questions: safety concerns, diet (as she is a vegetarian), health, malaria and other illnesses. Many of m concerns and questions were gladly answered over skype. Lattitude staff made us feel that we could contact them at anytime if we had any more questions before she departed, something we really appreciated. They had a very good understanding of the somewhat stressful and anxiety inducing process a parent might endure, and they were great at giving the necessary information to enable us to be trusting and comfortable.
Did Lattitude’s efforts bring comfort to you?
Was it difficult having your daughter away for months at a time? If so, how did you overcome those challenges?
The first two months were the most difficult for me, however knowing she arrived safely, that she had cellphone reception in her home, and that she was ultimately just really happy within her new setting was the reassurance I think I needed.
Did you notice personal growth within your daughter? How so?
Yes, absolutely. In my opinion, this experience has specifically made Daniela more mature and empathetic. She still feels a strong connection to her host family, and has a tremendous desire to return to Ghana as she had a phenomenal experience there.
Overall how would you describe your experience as a parent with Lattitude Global Volunteering?
My experience as a parent with Lattitude was great. I enjoy being up to date on the journeys of new volunteers via Instagram and Facebook.
Any additional comments you’d like to add?
The overall experience going through Lattitude Global Volunteering was wonderful, there wasn’t a time I thought they should have done something a different way. I would certainly recommend this organization to anyone looking for safe option for their child to volunteer abroad, and gain an endless amount of knowledge and experience doing so.