Learning AFAR Travel Programs for Youth

In partnership with AFAR Media, we are creating a place that opens the mind and perspectives of today’s disadvantaged youth by showing them the world. AFAR Media believes in deeper, richer, and more meaningful travel experiences. We know that immersing yourself in other cultures and exploring communities outside your own allows you to see yourself in a new way. Learning AFAR makes it possible for all youth to have the opportunity to explore their world, realize their potential, and transform their communities through their experiences.


Nationwide, 31 million school-aged children live in poverty with only 50% of low-income students graduating from high school. Many young people live in neighborhoods where poverty and crime are common and job and education opportunities are not. Underserved youth and students with mixed abilities must continually advocate for themselves to receive accessible opportunities to grow and develop into the leaders we need more than ever today. This puts these young people at a serious disadvantage when it comes to having a chance at economic self-sufficiency, full civic participation and becoming leaders for sustainable change. They lack a passion or vision for the future because they haven’t seen a dream come true. Closing this gap by giving them hope, knowledge, and a vision is more important than ever.


No Barriers can change the trajectory of the lives of young people through transformative experiences, educational content and community building activities that foster positive development for youth ages 12-19. No Barriers has been changing these youth’s life course for 16 years. We help our future leaders see what’s possible in their lives and in the world, setting participants on a path to fulfill their potential, both personally and as agents of positive change in the world.

Our programs provide opportunities for youth to develop a sense of purpose and competence, grow through challenges, connect with others and give back as leaders who serve. The result is youth who are equipped with the tools to face personal and global challenges, and who transition into adulthood inspired to fulfill their potential.

Our open enrollment and Learning AFAR scholarship programs aim to ensure that all youth, regardless of background or ability, have opportunities to experience the world and their place within it, because too many of today’s youth are being left behind.


The No Barriers Life framework is the basis for our curriculum and experiences. The framework is made up of 7 elements, or characteristics, for living a No Barriers Life. No Barriers developed these elements to exemplify the mindset and actions that allow us to break through barriers, unleash individual and collective potential, and have a positive impact on the world. Through life-changing experiences, whether in the field or online, participants learn about the elements and internalize them through activities designed to help them reframe and overcome the barriers in their lives.

  • Vision: be inspired to give your best back to the world
  • Reach: move beyond your comfort zone to grow and reach goals
  • Pioneer: persevere through challenges to innovate
  • Rope Team: collaborate and connect to build strong communities
  • Alchemy: harness life experience into optimism and success
  • Summits: find the gifts earned through the struggle
  • Elevate: impact the world as a leader who serves


the impact of learning afar on youth by the numbers

Students’ Perspectives

“No Barriers has impacted me in many ways. The first thing is teaching me to overcome my fears. The one thing I learned is that stepping outside your comfort zone might be scary but in the end it’s totally worth it. It taught me to not fear.”

“This program has helped me with problem solving and making a better social life. Thank you No Barriers for helping me with my social life.”

“It has made me remember how important it is to stay in touch with nature and to have people that you can count on when you need help or support.”

Cambodia trip with No Barriers Youth and Learning AFAR. Sponsored by Cathay Pacific. Photo by Ashley Moradipour (https://instagram.com/ashleymo_rad/

Teachers’ Perspective

“To have a transformative effect on a single student is something that every educator strives towards. Meaningfully impacting the life of a few students over a career would be deemed a success. But this program, through the generous support of our donors, allows us to deeply impact far more than a few. It would not be an exaggeration to say that this trip has touched an entire school community.”

Amy BoyleAssistant Principal, Coliseum College Prep Academy [Learning AFAR Partner School]

“It is almost impossible to show students that they can be more without putting them in a situation where they ARE more.”

Peter KarpPrincipal, Institute for Collaborative Education [Learning AFAR Partner School]

Programs & Expeditions

Leading the Way program in the Grand Canyon with Learning AFAR

Leading the Way

In partnership with Grand Canyon Youth and the National Park Service Natural Sounds and Night Skies Division, our “Leading the Way” program is for students who are blind/ visually impaired or fully-sighted.

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Foster Care

Check out our fully-funded annual Foster Care Expedition for students who are in foster care or have been in the system previously.

More program info »

Power2Change Foundation and No Barriers/Learning AFAR teamed up to send a group of young women on a journey of discovery and transformation in the American Southwest. Photo by Nina Ham (http://ninalaviva.com/). Image # P2C-NB_2018-48_NH

Children of the Fallen

The Children of the Fallen program invites children of fallen service members and first responders to carry on the legacy of their loved ones as they experience the transformational power of rafting.

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School Groups

Our transformational educational travel programs combine authentic interaction with local people and the global challenges they face, while supporting students to break through personal barriers. They come back as leaders who serve.

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In the News

Authentic Adventures
Modern Luxuries Silicon Valley | April 25, 2019

What Traveling Has Done for Me, My Worldview, and My Self-Esteem
The Good Men Project | July 12, 2018

The startup helping low-income students see the world
CNN | April 25, 2016