Saturday, April 10, 2021

Gap Year Ideas for High Schoolers


When my son finished college early, and he didn't know exactly what he wanted to do, we research and found different options for him. 

My research found these options:


Pre-College/College Age


Volunteer for the Year:

Service Year:

Generation Initiative:

Social Innovation:

Volunteer: GreenpeaceHabitat for HumanityThe Water Project






Travel Options: Consider options like Couchsurfingbackpackinghomestaysau pairingworkawayshouse sittingteaching English abroad, or crewing on a yacht to make your travels more affordable or help fund them.


Apprentice Programs: and

VentureAmerica (Learn to be a Venture Capitalist)

ReportAmerica -

TeachAbroad - and and

World Wide Organics:

Red Cross:

Accelerators like Y Combinator, the Thiel Fellowship, or Echoing Green.

Service Year Org:

AmeriCorps*VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America)- Sponsored by the U.S. government offers 1 and some 2-year full-time community service programs providing a subsistence allowance, health insurance, loan deferment, and an educational voucher upon completion. Participants work in nonprofit or government organizations.

AmeriCorps*NCCC(National Civilian Community Corps)- A ten-month, full-time residential service program for men and women age 18 to 24. Members address education, public safety, and other issues, however, their first priority is improving the environment. AmeriCorps*NCCC promotes leadership and team building skills.

BAYAC AmeriCorpsA 10-month program. with a collaborative of over 30 community service organizations that serve youth and families in the San Francisco Bay Area. Members provide direct services to youth in the areas of tutoring, safe and structured after school activities, and health education.

City Year Youth Service Corps- For people ages 17 to 24 from diverse economic, racial, and geographical backgrounds a year of full-time service to communities. During the ten-month program corps members engage in a variety of activities to meet critical needs in their communities. Primarily focused on the education and development of youth, serving as mentors for children in partnership with public schools and organizing and running after-school programs and curricula on important social issues including domestic violence prevention, AIDS awareness, and diversity. City Year accepts applications during four cycles each year: Nov. 30, Feb. 15, April 15, and May 31. Programs in 16 locations around the U.S.  

Congressional Hunger Center- Bill Emerson National Hunger Fellows Program- Application deadline: January to begin the following August. A 12-month paid service and learning opportunity in direct service program development public policy related to hunger and poverty issues. Fellows work for 6 months with both urban and rural organizations involved in direct humanitarian efforts, e.g. food banks, local advocacy organizations and comprehensive empowerment programs. Then for 6 months in Washington, D.C. to process and evaluate field experiences and participate in placements with national nonprofits. Includes living allowance for the year and housing provided in the host community during the 6-month field placement. Leland International Hunger Fellows Program - trains emerging leaders in the fight to end hunger worldwide.

Public Allies Identifies talented young adults from diverse backgrounds and advances their leadership through a 10-month program of full-time, paid apprenticeships in nonprofit organizations, weekly leadership trainings, and team service projects. Public Allies operates in 10 communities and has more than 1,500 Alumni nationwide.

Public Interest Research Group2-year fellowships for recent grads interested in public interest advocacy and administration. Locations nationwide. Designed to develop leaders for the public interest movement. Offers a unique combination of mentorship, training, and hands-on advocacy and organizing experience. PIRG Fellows receive extensive classroom training conducted by national experts on public interest issues and strategies. Working side by side with experienced advocates and organizers Fellows function as adjunct advocates and organizers. Work may include lobbying, research and report writing, contact with the media, coalition organizing, and running grassroots citizen outreach campaigns.

Everett Public Service Internship ProgramFunds over 150 paid summer internships at progressive public service organizations in DC and NY. Each internship lasts ten weeks and provides $230 weekly for expenses. Listed on the Green America website.

Echoing Green Public Service FellowshipDuring their first two years, Fellows receive up to $90,000, participate in leadership development gatherings, and will access the powerful network of Echoing Green Fellows, partners, and friends (students or alumni within 10 years of graduation) who are emerging social innovators.  Fellowships  are awarded to individuals with innovative ideas for creating new models for tackling seemingly unsolvable social challenges. Areas: Global Fellowship, Black Male Achievement, Climate Fellowship.   



The White House Fellows ProgramSeeks outstanding people with substantive public service background and advanced degree, to serve for one year as full-time paid assistants to senior White House staff. Deadline February 1.

Carnegie Endowment for International PeaceIn Washington, D.C., a 12-month paid Junior Fellowship for graduating seniors. Substantive experience in foreign affairs.  Must be nominated by your university. Contact National Scholarship Director if interested. Deadline in November.

The Herbert Scoville Jr. Peace FellowshipProvides 4 - 6 month paid fellowships on arms control research and/or advocacy at one of 20+ organizations in Washington, DC. Supported by a salary, the fellows serve as full-time junior staff members at the participating organization of their choice. The program also arranges meetings for the fellows with policy experts. Many former Scoville Fellows have gone on to pursue graduate degrees in international relations and related fields and taken prominent positions in the field of peace and security with public-interest organizations, the Federal Government, academia, and media.



Teach for AmericaA national corps of recent BA/BS level graduates who commit two years to teach in under-resourced urban and rural public schools and earn entry-level teacher’s salary. Included a 5-week summer training program.

New York City Teacher Fellowship ProgramFellows pursue teacher education through a subsidized Master's degree program and are placed in teaching positions with New York City Schools.



Environmental Careers Organization (ECO)Offers paid, short-term environmental positions nationwide for seniors, graduate students, and entry-level environmental job seekers.

Green Corps- Environmental Leadership Training ProgramTraining program in grass roots organizing for recent graduates. A paid, 13-month, full-time, field school for environmental organizing and activism. The program features classroom, fieldwork, and career placement components.

Student Conservation Association’s Resource Assistant Program- Provides room, board and travel allowance for 3-month environmental projects, primarily in national parks.

WWOOF- Willing Workers on Organic Farms- Connects volunteers with organic farmers both domestically and internationally. WWOOF has independent national level organizations. Volunteers learn organic farming techniques from organic farmers. By working and living with the host family, they also learn about life and culture in another country. In exchange for hospitality, meals and accommodations with host families, volunteers are expected to work at least six hours a day and six days per week.

National Association of Service and Conservation Corps Serves as an advocate and central reference point, and provider of training and technical assistance, for youth service and conservation corps programs across the country. Select “The Corps” then “Corps Jobs”


WEBSITES THAT ADVERTISE POST-GRADUATION ALTERNATIVE OPPORTUNITIES Are you looking for opportunities to work, travel, play, learn, help, create, experience and grow in the U.S. or worldwide? Short-Term Job Adventures is simply about discovering life's options and finding your place in the world (and that's real exciting stuff). So come explore, dream, discover and do! Opportunities include U.S., worldwide, wilderness, environmental, sustainable living, teaching, and volunteer positions.

Center for Social Concerns (sponsored by the University of Notre Dame)- List links to post-graduation opportunities in the following categories: domestic, international, teaching, secular.

Global Services CorpsGSC has been a leader in the field of international volunteerism designing and implementing effective community development volunteer service-learning programs in Africa and Asia since 1993. GSC community training and development programs are offered year round, from two weeks to one year, in HIV/AIDS Education and Prevention, Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security, International Public Health, Cultural & Buddhist Immersion, Orphanage Care, and Teach English Abroad. Through the development of these community training programs, GSC has also attained NGO status and is a respected international development organization.

Habitat for HumanityProvides volunteer and full-time work positions like... Global Village Program: Help build decent, affordable housing around the world. U.S. Volunteer Program: Volunteer your skills at our international headquarters in Americus, Georgia. Gulf Recovery Effort: Join in continuing recovery efforts to help hurricane-affected families in Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas and Alabama. Women Build: Learn construction skills alongside other women in an non-intimidating environment.International Volunteer Program: Spend 6 to 12 months volunteering in Habitat offices overseas. Habitat AmeriCorps/VISTA: Serve communities, earn stipends and educational awards through this residential service program. (specifically for one-year opportunities)- One of the largest job posting boards focused on opportunities in the nonprofit world, including full-time, part-time, volunteer, internships, etc.

Projects AbroadProjects Abroad is the leading volunteer abroad organization. We offer a diverse range of international service projects, plus the opportunity to become part of one of our volunteer communities abroad. Our continuous presence overseas and unparalleled in-country support from our international staff ensure that your experience will be far more worthwhile and genuine than those of the average tourist.

UMD National Scholarships Office- Aims to provide undergraduates with the best possible information, for guidance and support as they learn about and apply for national scholarships. We invite you to explore our website to learn more about national scholarship opportunities, and to contact us with any questions you may have. You can request an appointment or send us a question by email.

United PlanetAs an international non-profit organization,United Planet(UP) strives to create a world in which all people understand, respect, and support one another. United Planet's global network of leaders and volunteers fosters cross-cultural understanding and addresses shared challenges to unite the world in a community beyond borders.



Tuesday, September 22, 2020


Last Day of Early Bird Sales!

Yep, it’s the last day of the cheaper-priced tickets, which means this is a GREAT DAY to do a big promotional push! Please, we need everyone to do their absolute best to get the word out as much as you can today – newsletters/emails, social media, and so on. The more everyone pitches in to get the word out, the more folks we will have attend, and the more fun we will have at our virtual conference! So, if you could please send out that email, make that post on your social media, and so on, that would be great!


Wednesday, September 9, 2020

The Reluctant Homeschooling Parent

When I first started homeschooling my child, I didn't want to do it. That was over seven years ago, and fear kept me from pursuing one of the most rewarding accomplishments I have had as a parent. It's alright to not want to do something that doesn't feel comfortable. However, that shouldn't stop you from doing what has to be done anyway.


We all seem to strive for perfection within ourselves, but we need to give ourselves freedom to just be who we are without expectations. Once you stop trying to be like every other homeschooling parent you know or working parent you know, there will be a heavy burden of self imposed stress lifted. Don't just give yourself that pass of perfection, realize your kids feel the same way too. When they come home to homeschool, they experience many psychological and social changes that at their young age, they have no idea how to process.


Don't try to push tons of curriculums, schedules, work or more onto your plate or your child when you first start to homeschool. Spend the first weeks or months filling in any educational gaps, making learning fun, and getting to know your child on a level you may not have been able to before. By spending the time to get to know your child's moods, abilities and build a foundation in learning, you will gain confidence in homeschooling.


Managing homeschooling while working can be daunting. Stick to the core subjects, but make it a point to play with your child for all other subjects that have some flexibility. Giving yourself and your child a planned moment of rest will allow you to thrive in many ways. A thirty minute nap can make a huge difference in your attitude and your child's mood no matter how old.

TURN RELUCTANCE INTO SUCCESS by making it a point to stay in the negative head space that is hindering your success.

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Back To School Conference Time!



It's here everyone~A Kick Off Conference for Christian Based Homeschool Learning

I am a speaker at the conference and am looking forward to seeing you all there!

Want to live a courageous life driven by the power of the Holy Spirit as you homeschool?
Want to restore your children's hearts to Jesus?
Want to intentionally create success for the next generation?

Global Christian Homeschool Conference
Virtual Speakers Pouring their Wisdom
August 17-21, 2020, 5 Days
Cost is only $20 – No, Really!

What makes this Homeschool Conference unique? God downloaded to me the idea of encouraging my brothers and sisters in Christ throughout the global homeschooling community. I chose mature Christian women and men who want to speak words of life into you, the homeschooling parent, so that you can stay home and mentor your children!

This year’s themes include:
1. The ABC’s of Homeschool, Diligent Prep for College,
2. Chats with Real Parents, Health & Wellness for Parents & Students
3. Courageous Living Teen Track, Unique Special Needs & Gifted Children,
4. Staying Power Marriage & Parenting,
5. Amazing Working Moms & Entrepreneurs

Features include:
• Passionate speakers that pour out words of life into homeschool parents
• Edifying Facebook community group where homeschool parents can interact with speakers, vendors, and homeschooling parents from around the world.
• Online “vendor hall” for attendees (will be photo albums in FB group).
• Giveaways during the “conference” week for attendees.
• Low ticket prices
• Unlimited, lifetime access to the conference (videos and handouts).

The Scripture focus this year is 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24. “23 Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.


Saturday, May 23, 2020


So we redirected the path

Freedom in homeschooling allowed us to be flexible during a time that we thought we had everything planned perfectly for our son.

This May he was supposed to walk across the stage of the online college he had been attending and get his BS in Information Systems Management. He'd already started taking classes to also start his two-year program in Airplane Mechanics. The summer IT internship he was supposed to start got cancelled. He broke his collarbone and had to be laid off from his part-time job that he enjoyed.

Then things drastically changed when his graduation got cancelled, the Aircraft Mechanics program put him back on the waiting list to accommodate students that were displaced with the circumstances of the pandemic and new laws about social distancing.


Know that you have time and there is no rush when homeschooling. Since my son was only 16 years old, he voiced his desire to have an actual college graduation. He was willing to work on other interest for a year so he would have the chance to walk the stage next year.

He added a minor onto his degree in Marketing since he said he was interested in that subject. He was only required to take three more classes.

In order to redirect and allow our child to explore a new path we:

  • Did a Mind Map and Brainstorm of other interest
  • Pointed out what was important to him
  • Identified areas he needed more help (like networking skills, desire to learn music, need to practice public speaking more)
  • Pointed out experiences he wanted
  • Gave himself permission to put a direction at rest (for now or maybe forever)
  • Pointed out what was most important to him
Speed Racer wanted a graduation. He also decided to table the Aircraft Mechanic program since it was something he'd decided to pursue in support of his dream of becoming a pilot. He did waver on becoming a pilot since the travel industry took a big hit - but we encouraged him to see the benefits of gaining a private pilot license for no reason but for personal and life growth. He agreed he'd still like to pursue the private pilot license and see what happens. 


He has changed his plans to include learning music, improving his breakdancing (hoping to be able to pursue the next Olympics in Break dancing), do a year of canoe racing since he missed the opportunity. For school work, he is minoring in Marketing, graduating in May 2021 with his sister who is graduating with her MS (at age 20 years), taking more computer programming classes, some homeschool classes in speech and debate so he can be around other teens.


In all the redirection, help them to see life as the great path of possibilities. Change is normal and can be fun as well as exciting. Closed paths aren't about the closing but about the learning and growing as a person.

by LM Preston, Author of Homeschooling and Working While Raising Amazing Learners


Monday, April 6, 2020


by LM Preston

Business owners have a survivor nature. They are adventurous, take risk and think outside the box more so than most anyone. An entrepreneur knows about risk. However, knowing how to plan for challenges and crisis isn’t always a priority until it is too late.

The main issue most run into that have the ability to work at doing something they love, is to start to do something they don’t like – in order to make enough money to survive. This means, possibly doing things you originally considered out of scope of not a focus for your household or business.
There was a time when we were launching our real estate business that we needed to find money to advertise, my husband took a paper route delivering newspapers and started delivering pizzas on the slow days to put that money aside for our advertising. He fell back on those jobs throughout our marriage when we needed money fast and wanted the flexibility to make it. I also, took on babysitting other people’s kids overnight that worked night jobs to supplement. We did what we needed to do – not what we liked to do – to reach our goals.

If you live with others or others are invested with your business, everyone should do their part. Setting expectations for sharing the financial load of maintaining a home, a business is important. There will always -always, be a weak link. That is the case even among stars. However, identify the person, resource, or issue and mold it into the best representation of itself.

Any household, business, or person, should strive to have multiple streams of income. Even if one parent decides to stay home, finding another source of income for the family that takes little effort to cultivate is important in relieving stress.

For a business owner, they need to have methods their business can create and funnel in income without it being as time or energy dependent. Some quick tips on how to do this:

-Compress resources: for example, instead of purchasing or doing a long term lease for an office space, do a Day-Office instead where you rent an office for the day or times you need it. This works well for micro-businesses.

-Don’t be the only source of income for your business: For micro-businesses it’s great that you can run everything yourself to make money, but what if you get sick? Fine other sources of income besides your time/body. For instance, I am a career re-imagination coach, education coach and writing coach – but there isn’t enough hours in the day for me to service everyone. I created online courses to support my readers, clients and students.

-Barter and Trades: If your business doesn’t have the funds or your household doesn’t, fine ways to trade your skills, time, efforts with others that will be able to do the same for you.

Now with many being forced to homeschool their kids, try to work from home, and deal with the stress of crisis, taking things bare bones can relieve stress. When homeschooling and working, own your flexibility. Have a schedule of work your kids can do independently based on their learning styles, attention span, educational gaps. Then assess how much one-on-one time you can spend with them each day. Only focus one on one time on Reading, Reading Comprehension, Writing and Building Math Skills. Make all other subjects secondary. Homeschooling is MUCH easier when you do it without state oversight by withdrawing your child from school and stating that you are officially a homeschooler. Doing so, reduces the amount of work required for your child to do and allows you to customize their education. Please see the HSLDA (Homeschool Defense) for the laws in your state:

By LM Preston, Author of Building Your Empowered Steps and Homeschooling and WorkingWhile Raising Amazing Learners.

Purchase on Amazon and Barnes and Noble