Volunteering With Us: A Step-by-Step Guide

We hear countless stories from volunteers of the way their lives have been changed through their time in Greece and Germany.

Why? Because God can work the deepest things when we are out of our comfort zones and hearing of the worst atrocities from people around the world. When we are forced to answer questions about God’s goodness in the middle of brokenness and be dependent on Him for everything, it pulls us closer to His heart.

Our vision is not only to work with displaced people in Europe. It is also to bring young people to a place outside of their “normal American lives” to learn more about God and His vision for the world. In addition, we love to see lives enriched by learning from people from other cultures.

Have you considered volunteering with us but want to know more about what the process is like?

This guide is for you. We’ll cover anything from how you can sign up to what it looks like to buy flights to what we do at our stateside orientation.

1. Fill out our volunteer form

To sign up, visit the volunteer page on our website and fill out the volunteer form. Make sure to complete all the necessary paperwork it requires, like sending passport and profile pictures. The sign-up process takes 20-30 minutes to complete.

As you consider filling out an application, it’s important for you to remain flexible. We value and look for an attitude of “I will do whatever needs to be done, and I will go wherever I am needed”.

We need volunteers in Greece and Germany, so after your application has been accepted, our staff will decide where to send you based on your strengths and the needs on the ground. They will also take your preference into consideration.

Here’s some great advice from our stateside coordinators:

Even if you get to go to your “preferred country,” I can guarantee it will be a different experience than what you were expecting. Even alumni say things change all the time. Just because they’re going to the same place, maybe even the same job, things change and are usually never just like they were when they last left.

Also note that you can request to volunteer for a specific three (3) months (i.e. July-September), but that timeframe won’t be finalized until approximately three months before your departure. We may ask you if you’re willing to change up the timeframe. Because of this, we encourage you to give a range of months you are willing to volunteer.

Our term length is three (3) months, but we do at times give exceptions. For example, teachers, students and families are good candidates for shorter terms. Exceptions like not wanting to leave your job or missing a wedding are less likely to get approved. If you’d like to come for less than three months, please email info@i58greece.org.

2. Get in touch with your pastor

After receiving your application, we send out a pastor reference form. Talk to your pastor about your plans and remind him about the form, if necessary. This helps us get back to you with an answer in a timely manner.

Once your personal application and pastor reference are cleared, we’ll send you an acceptance letter. This letter indicates you have been added to the waitlist, not that you have been accepted to join a specific team or for the specific months you signed up for. That will come later.

3. Find out your destination

Approximately three months before departure, we will reach out about whether you have been accepted to go to Germany, Lesvos, or elsewhere. Again, we appreciate flexibility in this area. Just consider it an adventure!

4. Join the team chat

4-6 weeks before departure, you will be added to a Telegram group chat, which is where some of the last details will be communicated. Following are examples of the info you will receive on this chat:

  • Online training
  • Background checks (this is a requirement if volunteering with us)
  • Current COVID-19 requirements
  • Training and flight details
  • Last minute tasks

Wondering how phone service will work? There will be a SIM card with data for you at your destination, so make sure you have an unlocked smartphone to avoid any problems.

5. Book your flight

Also 4-6 weeks before departure, you will get a ticket quote from Golden Rule Travel for your flight. We use this travel agency for several reasons:

  • They can change the tickets if weather or COVID-19 creates challenges.
  • They make sure the whole team arrives at the final destination around the same time, so our staff doesn’t need to make multiple airport runs.
  • It helps ensure everyone is getting on the right flight, at the right time.
  • It eliminates a lot of stress for both our staff and the team.

Ticket costs range from $700-$1,200 depending on the time of year. You will pay Golden Rule directly for your flight.

6. Send payment to i58

Before traveling, you will need to pay the living expenses for your stay. If you are going to Lesvos, Greece, this adds up to $2100 for a 3-month term. If you will be living in Germany, the cost will be $550 per month (up front costs for Germany are lower due to more expenses being paid by volunteers during their time there).

That amount covers the following:

  • Lodging
  • Transportation
  • One meal per day, 5 days a week (does not apply to Germany)

7. Participate in team orientation

Team orientation is held in Lancaster, PA. If you haven not been to Greece within the past year, attending this is a requirement. Orientation is a day or two long, depending on flight departure times.

Here are a few things we include in orientation:

  • Group games and activities with your team
  • Spiritual enrichment sessions
  • Solo time
  • Logistics for the trip

The training focuses on spiritual and mental preparation, the “why” of the trip, and planting a vision for what God will do in and through you. Lodging is provided during the orientation.

After orientation, we provide transportation to the airport where you will catch the flight connecting you to the adventure ahead!

This article does not fully cover all sign-up details, but we will stay in communication with you throughout the process, giving you what you need for each step.

Thank you for your interest in volunteering with us, and we look forward to hearing from you!