When Your Child Joins The Peace Corps In Guatemala: How To Provide Support

Lexa Pennington's picture

If your child has announced a desire to join the Peace Corps in Guatemala, it has probably weighed at least a little heavily on your mind. 

There are many risks, dangers, and unknowns that your child will face. As their parent, you are naturally worried for their health, safety, and overall well-being. It is easy to feel helpless, especially since they will be so far away and out of your reach. 

But this decision is a huge one in their life and one worthy of respect, as well. More than ever, your child will need your support to ensure a positive and successful experience. 

While they will be far away and in very different settings in Guatemala, there are still many tangible and important ways that you can offer your child vital support during their time in the Peace Corps. 

When Your Child Joins The Peace Corps In Guatemala: How To Provide Support

Be Proud – The Importance of Moral Support

First of all, be proud of your child and support them - of course!

To be accepted into the Peace Corps is a very competitive endeavor. It is not easily accomplished. The fact that your child has been accepted in itself says a lot about them.

Another important thing to remember is that the work they will do in Guatemala, helping rural communities develop and improve health, youth, and food programming, is honorable and worthy of admiration. 

Your child is showing maturity and character in their desire to serve in this capacity.

It also helps to remember the immeasurable personal development and growth such an experience will provide. It will transform them and their future opportunities in unimaginable ways. Talk with returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs) to get a picture of what sort of support they might need.

So appreciate what your child is committing to and let them know you are proud of them and want to support them. The moral support will do so much more than you might imagine in helping them get through the tough times. 

When Your Child Joins The Peace Corps In Guatemala: How To Provide Support

Communicate Often 

Especially with the ever-growing reach of technology, even Peace Corps volunteers placed in the most rural settings often get access to computers, internet and phones. Reaching your child will not be impossible. Furthermore, it will be incredibly vital. 

During their two years of service, they will go through serious culture shock, and many will experience a much, much slower pace of life, which can be hard to adjust to. Undergoing shifts in world views will also take a toll on them emotionally. 

More than ever, they will need to hear from home. Send letters and packages, send emailss and arrange video calls. Especially with technology, you can help your child get support from home on a regular basis, and help prevent emotional crises from ever developing. 

They will also be encouraged by the opportunity to share all of their work with you. Be an active part in their work by eagerly arranging times to hear from them about it - and TRULY listen. 


In most volunteer locations, family members can schedule times to visit their child. It will take careful planning and arranging, and your child will have to seek permission from the Peace Corps and host country, but a visit is definitely encouraged. 

Helping Financially 

While the Peace Corps does do a lot to ensure their volunteer’s financial needs are met during their 2 years of service, their provisions are focused on those two years and meeting their basic standard needs. 

Their travel will be paid for, they will be provided a stipend that enables them to live at the same quality level as the communities in which they live, and they are also provided health and dental care. Furthermore, they will be discharged with a stipend to help them transition from their volunteer time back into life in the US. 

However, what will not be covered are any debts that your child might leave behind, and there certainly will not be any extra provision for those. While the Peace Corps is focused on service, there may be opportunities for additional travel during those two years, and additional expenses might arise out of need or want. 

One way you can help them take care of their financial burdens is by helping take over or manage their financial responsibilities back home. 

Should they need additional funds for one reason or another in their service location and they have an account with a local bank, you could process a Pangea money transfer and send money quickly and directly. 

Colorful masks in the market. From When Your Child Joins The Peace Corps In Guatemala: How To Provide Support

Help Manage Their Responsibilities Back Home 

Finally, another massive way that you can support your child’s endeavor is by looking after their responsibilities back home. 

Whether it’s by watching over their property, helping cover or manage taxes or other bills, or other responsibilities, committing to helping manage those concerns will provide significant relief to your child and allow them to stay focused on their time in the Peace Corps. 


Have you had a child join the Peace Corps? Please share your best tips below!