COVID-19 and FOCUS Missions: March 2021
As we look forward to the upcoming mission seasons, we recognize the increased needs in our communities 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 safety and health of our communities. The need is greater than ever, and the invitation from our Lord to serve the poor is just as pressing as it has always been.
The priority of FOCUS Missions is always the safety of our participants, staff, and the people we serve on mission. With the safety and health measures we have put into practice over the past eleven months, FOCUS Missions has successfully completed multiple mission trips this academic year with healthy and safe outcomes for every one involved. We are continuing to use these effective practices for mission in the spring and summer, always urging our participants to act in safe and responsible ways.
FOCUS takes into account many factors when deciding whether to serve in a specific location, and FOCUS Missions continues to closely monitor every mission site and operate within the local COVID guidelines. FOCUS Missions also strongly recommends the purchase of extra insurance for all our participants to cover any cancellations that may arise from situations outside of our control. For more details, please see our Insuring Your Trip page.
We welcome your questions and please know that we are working hard to assist you in mission this upcoming year. We ask you to join us in praying for all those affected by COVID-19.
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 have a scholarship from a trip that was cancelled due to Covid. How do I use it?
- Apply to a FOCUS Mission trip during the MY21 mission season at apply.focusmissions.org. MY21 mission trips depart between October 2020 and July 2021.
- Upon being assigned to a trip, submit the necessary documents to activate your personal fundraising page.
- Submit a support ticket at https://focusoncampus.org/missions/contact-us, and include the following: Your full name, The MY21 trip you have been assigned to, a statement similar to: “Please apply my trip scholarship to the above trip.” Or, if you wish to transfer your scholarship to another person: “I would like to give my full scholarship amount to First name, Last name to go on a mission trip in my place.”
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 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 provided by the US Department of State and the United States Center for Disease Control.
- 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]