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How You Can Gift Students Travel via Learning AFAR

By Julia Cosgrove

10.02.19

From the November/December issue

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Youth from the New Orleans-based Son of a Saint organization benefit from a Learning AFAR-sponsored trip to Costa Rica in 2018.

Courtesy of Andrew Bui/No Barriers

Youth from the New Orleans-based Son of a Saint organization benefit from a Learning AFAR-sponsored trip to Costa Rica in 2018.

AFAR’s Editor in Chief Julia Cosgrove, a mom herself, muses on how travel can shape and form young minds for the better. Gifting trips to underserved youth is the mission of the AFAR Foundation’s Learning AFAR program.

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This fall I’m bringing my family to New York with me on a business trip; in the winter we’ll spend a month in France while I’m on sabbatical; and next spring we’ll all head to Japan to visit friends. As a parent, I’m so privileged to be able to travel with my daughters and watch them learn about the world and its people in the best way I know. But not every kid is so lucky.

That’s why in 2008, when Greg Sullivan and Joe Diaz launched AFAR, they also started the AFAR Foundation, which sponsors travel for underserved students through its flagship program, Learning AFAR. Committed to the idea that travel is the best form of education, Learning AFAR—with the help of our partner organization No Barriers—has so far sent more than 1,300 students from eight states on trips to destinations including Costa Rica, Belize, the American Southwest, Cambodia, Mexico, Peru, and China.

Ever since the program began, we’ve seen how the young people who travel return with an expanded sense of their place in the world. After the trip, many are inspired to become leaders in their communities. Later this year, a Learning AFAR group from New Orleans will travel to Ghana, the first African destination in the program’s history. The students, part of the Son of a Saint organization, have all lost their fathers to death or incarceration. I know the experiences they’ll have will change how they see the world—and themselves.

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If you’re like us and you think travel is the best form of education, you can help. I invite you to visit afarfoundation.org and contribute what you can to support Learning AFAR’s mission to share the life-changing power of travel.

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