What steps are being taken during COVID-19?
FOCUS Missions is incredibly grateful to our partners in the U.S. and around the world, and to all our participants who joined in serving with us this past academic year. As we look ahead to the 2021-2022 mission year, we recognize the persistent need in our communities, especially during the continued challenge of COVID-19. Now more than ever, we are called to serve the physical and spiritual needs of the poor, and to do so in a way that upholds the health and safety of everyone involved.
FOCUS Missions’ priority is always the health and safety of our participants, staff, and those we serve on mission. Throughout the past twelve months, we have developed and put into practice several critical measures that allowed us to successfully send over 60 mission trips with 1,100+ participants.
These measures included participants testing negative for COVID prior to mission, observing local health ordinances, providing mission groups with COVID tests on the ground, thoroughly researching and monitoring all domestic and international locations with the assistance of our Security Consultant, building out quarantine contingency plans, and more. These measures all contributed to a safe and transformative mission season. Of the more than 1,100 participants, we had only one participant experienced travel interruption due to COVID.
FOCUS Missions considers many factors when deciding whether to serve in a specific location. We will continue to implement the effective practices mentioned above throughout the coming year, in addition to preparing our participants to act in safe and responsible ways. In addition, we will closely monitor every mission site and ensure that our trips are able to operate within the local COVID guidelines.
Applications are now open for Winter, Spring, and Summer mission trips! We welcome your questions and are ready to assist you in participating on a mission trip this upcoming year. We ask you to join us in praying for all those affected by COVID-19 as well as those we will serve.
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 love and appreciate parents, they are not allowed to accompany their children on a FOCUS Mission trip.
When do the applications close?
- Applications for spring break trips close on November 30th and applications for summer trips will close on February 15th.
I don’t know how to fundraise/No one wants to give me money to go on a trip!
- Every FOCUS Missions participant 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. If you feel called to participate in a FOCUS Mission, you will have the tools and support available to fundraise for your trip. A missionary will walk with you throughout the entire fundraising process. 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!
What’s included in the estimated price of a FOCUS Mission trip?
What’s NOT included in the estimated price of a FOCUS Mission trip?
- Cancellation insurance
- Visa fees and associated costs
- Flights / ground transportation to a given departure city
- Personal Incidentals
- Certain elective entertainment activities
*For mission trips that take place in the United States, airfare
is not included in the fundraising cost, as students are expected to secure
their own transportation to domestic mission locations.
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 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 participants, we will not hesitate to reroute or 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 the on-the-ground realities of the environment in which we are serving.
- FOCUS Missions pays for a full-time security consulting firm to monitor all trip locations and recommend the best course of action.
- Our mission directors are put through a full course of training in Risk Mitigation practices and emergency preparedness.
- Our full-time staff members are required to be familiar with all information provided by the US Department of State and the United States Center for Disease Control prior to the trip.
- Each of our groups traveling abroad 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.
- 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 at: [email protected]