Volunteers are fundamental to the delivery of our AFS programs in our communities. What makes AFS unique and enables us to provide a quality program experience is due in great part to our network of volunteers, who ensure that our AFS participants and their families are supported on their programs and in their communities throughout their AFS journey.
AFS-USA believes that appreciating volunteer efforts is important. Volunteer recognition celebrates and acknowledges the important contributions volunteers make to the organization and AFS encourages ways in which we can recognize our volunteers locally, nationally and internationally.
We encourage teams and chapters as part of their annual planning process, to include volunteer recognition. Our volunteers need to be continually reminded and recognized for how their contributions make a positive impact not just locally but globally. Their work in promoting the AFS Mission and their contributions are what make AFS unique in the field of international student exchange.
In some teams, they have annual volunteer recognition events held during National Volunteer Week. National Volunteer Week was organized by the Points of Light Foundation to be an annual celebration typically held during the mid to last part of April. This week is an opportunity to promote, celebrate, and recognize volunteerism.
There are a number of wonderful examples for how teams recognize their volunteers. Your TDS (Team Development Specialist) is a great resource for ideas and support on developing the volunteer recognition plan for your team.
National and International Volunteer Recognition Awards
Families are at the heart of AFS. Indeed, it is quite common to see multiple members of a family actively volunteering for the organization and sharing the #AFSeffect. The Peggy and Art Howe Award, introduced in 2016, honor the outstanding service of AFS volunteer families. The Howe family, who volunteered for AFS for more than six decades, inspired this award. Art Howe was a volunteer AFS Ambulance driver in World War II, President of AFS (1965-1972) and Life trustee until his passing in 2014.
Submit your nomination here. The deadline is October 20th 2017.
Each year AFS-USA offers volunteers the opportunity to chaperone program participants on international flights to and from the United States. The primary responsibility of the Flight Chaperone is to ensure the safety and wellbeing of participants traveling on international and domestic flights. In addition, Flight Chaperones have the opportunity to travel abroad and to interact with participants and AFS partners while learning about a new country and culture.
Belo Tours is an American travel operator based in Chicago specializing in cultural, educational, and tourist trips for international exchange students. Belo USA Travel has contracted with AFS-USA and other exchange organizations for more than 15 years. Belo USA Travel has designed trips specifically for AFS-USA students that will incorporate our mission and the idea of intercultural education. Belo USA Travel has a great appreciation for the AFS-USA mission and the desire for our students to participate in activities that follow these values. All trips will be chaperoned by AFS-USA volunteers/staff and Belo USA Travel staff.
Emerging Leader Award
The Emerging Leader Award recognizes an individual who shows the potential to be as a future leader within the AFS volunteer structure of chapters or teams. This award is intended to recognize emerging leaders regardless of their age.
This year the theme of the Tribute Award is “local volunteer recognition and appreciation.” Has your team done a great job of showing appreciation for local volunteers? Then we invite you to apply for the 2016 Tribute Award. The winning team(s) will receive a financial award to be used at their discretion. Your team will also have a chance to share its achievements and ideas about local volunteer recognition with other teams.
The Mission Award recognizes an individual who holds, or has held, a leadership role at the chapter, team, regional or national level and has made a significant impact in that role while advancing the AFS mission.