Return to Home Page

March 24, 2009

Do It Yourself Volunteering

With the rush on “volunteer vacations” — Celine’s Vagablogging article on spring break students comes to mind — there are numerous websites and agencies that, for a fee, will set up your volunteer experience for you.  You pay them (usually between $1000 and the entire costs of everything) and they will find you a spot to plant trees or dig ditches or whatever else you might want to do with your time.  Obviously, the Peace Corps is the most well-known and intense of these options, but smaller options exist (like IVP).

This is an excellent way to volunteer if you aren’t sure how you want to start or what you might be interested in.  But if you have specific skills and don’t want to go through an agency, consider DIY volunteering.  While in Guatemala, I met a gentleman who was working at an orphanage in the boonies; he found it by looking for work with children in Guatemala on Google, and then picking the first place that said they were looking for help.  The Banyan, a women’s mental health rehabilitation clinic in Chennai, has job and volunteer listings on their website, and I heard about them on CBC Radio.

Think about what you might want to do: teach English? Help third world women learn business skills? Bring fresh water to an African village?  Preserve cultural heritage? Then think about where you might want to do those things.  Are there any businesses or nonprofits that you know of that have affiliates in areas you’d like to go?  Planned Parenthood has affiliates all around the world; consider sending them emails to see if they need volunteers.  If you are already working for a nonprofit, consider seeing if they will send you overseas to educate or train; offer to pay your own way.

You can find assistance in books such as “World Volunteers,” from We Care Guides — a directory of listings for both individual groups and larger agencies that need volunteer help.  Ask around to your friends; perhaps they know someone who needs help, or have a friend.  I have one friend who lived in a Guatemalan village for nine months, building their library, and another whose best friend just started a women’s health collective in Panama City.  Ask for letters of recommendation.  Write out a volunteer resume.  The internet and email are your friends for setting up volunteering opportunities on your own.  Consider using Facebook (yeah, I know) to network potential locations.

Most of all, pick something that YOU want to do, that matter deeply to you.  If you care enough to put down your time and money for it, it should be something that makes your heart sing.

(Photo from Flickr: sofauxboho)

Posted by | Comments (2) 
Category: Notes from the collective travel mind


2 Responses to “Do It Yourself Volunteering”

  1. Rosemarie Philen Says:

    Thank you for your attempts that you have put in this particular. very worthwhile info . ?A great exile?utes life is simply no life.? through Leonidas associated with Tarentum.

Leave a Reply

Main

Bio

Books

Stories

Essays

Video

Interviews

Events

Writers

Marco

Paris

Vagabonding.net

Contact


Vagabonding Audio Book at Audible.com

Marco Polo Didnt Go There
Rolf's new book!


Vagabonding
   Vagabonding

RECENT COMMENTS

Paul Morgan: No disrespect , but you are a tourist.

Ivan Mendis: Any disease when comes to a country government should give proper help and...

Charles McCool: Amazing life experience.

Bob: Hi Cheryl. would love to talk but no contanct info. chandubob@hotmail.co.uk

Cheryl: Well…f there’s anyone out there would like to talk about old...

Cheryl: I can see now..at the time.it was just fantastic…..now…ju st...

Cheryl: Please contact me…

Cheryl: Just want to talk to people who were there…not many people in my circle...

Jeanette Matlock: Well written post. Something to think about & shows what you can...

Jeanette Matlock: Well written post that certainly changed my perception. Definitely...

SPONSORED BY :



CATEGORIES

TRAVEL LINKS

ARCHIVES

RECENT ENTRIES

How to choose and use packing cubes
On the road, disorientation is as important as discovery
You have now entered the Tourist Zone
Vagabonding Case Study: Tracey Mansted
Travel, its very motion, ought to suggest hope
Pro’s and Con’s of Traveling Solo
The negative impact of mass tourism
“The Tramps,” by Robert W. Service (1907)
Le Musee du Fumeur: Paris
Vagabonding Case Study: Nicole Brewer


Subscribe to this blog's feed
Follow @rolfpotts