FAQ / Costs / Safety
How old do I have to be to participate in a FOCUS Mission trip?
- You must be at least 18 years old by the time of the trip to participate. You can apply if you are 17 as long as you will be 18 when the trip starts. There is no upper age limit, but please keep in mind that our trips are meant for college-aged students, and they will be given preference during the application process. Although we appreciate parents, they are not allowed to accompany their children on a FOCUS Mission trip.
When do the applications close?
- Applications for 2015 closed on January 15. Applications for the 2015-2016 Mission Season will be available September 1st, 2015!
When will applications be launched for Spring Break and Summer mission trips?
- FOCUS Missions strives to launch its applications early in the school year, keeping in mind that students need adequate time to fundraise for their trips. This year we are striving to launch applications in September.
I don’t know how to fundraise/No one wants to give me money to go on a trip!
- Every FOCUS Missions volunteer is trained to effectively fundraise their mission trip cost. As FOCUS Missionaries, we raise our entire salary, trusting in people’s generosity and God’s grace to provide us with our spiritual and physical needs. As Christians, we are all called the good stewards of our time, talent, and treasures. If you feel God is calling you to participate in a FOCUS Mission, He will provide for your needs through the financial contributions of others. Allowing others to support us through their financial commitments and prayers is essential to the success of FOCUS Missions!
I’m not a Catholic, can I still participate on a FOCUS Mission Trip?
- FOCUS Mission Trips are designed to be effective on two fronts: we provide aid to those in most need around the world and aim at building up the faith of those who volunteer on our mission trips. The latter goal, while certainly carried out with a Catholic angle, should not discourage anyone from applying. Catholics and non-Catholics alike are invited to take part in this excellent opportunity to do as Jesus did, working with the poor and “[making] disciples of all nations.” As a volunteer, you are asked to participate in group prayer and join in on faith discussions, but you will not be forced to participate in exclusively Catholic practices (i.e. the rosary, Catholic Mass etc).
I am not a student, can I participate in a FOCUS mission?
- Non-students are allowed to apply for FOCUS mission trips. However, since our organization primarily caters to college students, students will have priority in trip placements. If there is a spot available on a mission trip after all the students have been placed, non-students will then be placed on the trip.
Where can I get more information about FOCUS the organization?
- More information about the Fellowship of Catholic University Students can be found at www.focus.org.
I want to make a financial contribution to FOCUS Missions. How can I do this?
- To support FOCUS Missions and the various mission trips it provides for college students, click the “Donate” tab at the top of this page. You can make an easy, secure payment by credit or debit card online!
Why must I sign a “Statement of Faith” in order to volunteer on a FOCUS mission trip?
- The Statement of Faith document simply is a declaration that you understand the aim of FOCUS mission trips. While you are not expected to make a full adherence to the teachings and practices of the Catholic Faith (if you are not Catholic), you are asked to be respectful of Catholic beliefs. This includes having a positive and open attitude toward dialogue about the Catholic Faith, attendance at formative talks and reflections, and attendance at group prayer time. All volunteers are asked to sign this document to verify they will not disrupt the spiritual progress of the mission.
What’s included in the estimated price of a FOCUS Mission trip?
- Round-trip airfare from a assigned departure city
- All on the ground expenses including:
- Ground Transportation
- General programming expenses
- Building Supplies (where applicable)
- Travel Insurance
What’s NOT included in the estimated price of a FOCUS Mission trip?
- Visa fees and associated costs
- Flights / ground transportation to a given departure city
- Personal Incidentals
- Certain elective entertainment activities
FOCUS Missions strives to create the highest quality, most highly effective Catholic mission trips that exist. Funds donated in support of a mission trip are some of the most direct contributions possible for a charitable cause. For example, if we are building a certain structure, funds that are donated are brought directly with us on the trip and used directly to purchase from local suppliers. Likewise, we recognize that we have great responsibilities as stewards of your generosity and therefore we do our best to ensure your hard earned funds are spent responsibly in accord with your intentions.
FOCUS Missions holds safety as a prime consideration for any mission trip that we establish. When any threats to safety are perceived our goal is to mitigate these factors to the greatest extent possible. In circumstances where we feel that a situation has developed beyond a point where we can prudently take students we will not hesitate to cancel a trip. Beyond extreme circumstances here are some of the practices we have in place to mitigate risk and ensure a safe mission:
- We work very closely with pre-existing religious orders, lay ministries, our Catholic clergy who are keenly familiar with on-the-ground realities of the environment in which we are serving.
- Our mission directors are put through a full course of training in all types of emergency preparedness ranging from minor incidents to natural disasters.
- Our full-time staff members are required to be familiar with all information transmitted by the US Department of State and the United States Center for Disease Control.
- Each of our groups traveling abroad to a 3rd world location is registered with the US Department of State.
- Each student participating in mission has travel insurance coverage that includes live emergency assistance that can connect them with qualified medical professionals at home and abroad.
- Whenever possible students are taken through a stateside orientation retreat that addresses specific safety considerations prior to entering a foreign environment.
Overall, we strive to meet the delicate balance between faith and prudence. Please remember that volunteering and working abroad no more guarantees a lack of security than staying at home guarantees safety. Should you have any additional specific questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us directly.