August 30, 2012
So you want to have an adventurous volunteer experience—and you’re probably visiting Volunteer Global right now because you want to go abroad. After all, there are many places throughout the world that are both unique and need the attention of volunteers so badly.
Sometimes the thrill of travel can lead us to ignoring the places a bit closer to home that could use a hand—and for Americans, that can include the beautiful but too often destitute Appalachia region of the United States.
This spring, I had the opportunity to spend ten days camping and hiking...
August 28, 2012
Last spring, I had the pleasure of spending a week in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park to do some hiking and camping. It was beautiful—I had thoroughly underestimated the beauty of the Smoky Mountains. As I woke each morning in the sleepy tent, that the air could be so crisp in the campground and yet so milky and vaporous in the mountains above me. What we did not know, on the third morning of our trip, was that tragedy had happened the evening before.
Awake before dawn, we headed out early for our hike up Mt. LeConte. As we drove through the park, however, things were...
August 21, 2012
For most people, volunteering abroad provides the opportunity to do something outside of their normal day-to-day work. However, many nonprofits and NGOs find that in addition to the normal volunteer duties, they need professional help to make up for their usually overworked staff and low budget.
In fact, more and more volunteer abroad organizations are seeing requests from projects for volunteers with skills in areas such as accounting, website design and maintenance, coding, and other professional skills that are often hard to come by.
If you just so happen to be an...
August 16, 2012
Like most students, I went to college with only vague ideas of what I wanted for my future. At best, I knew what I was good at and figured that I could work to get better at it. At worst, I had no idea what I was passionate about or what I could dedicate myself to for the rest of my life.
Luckily for me, I chose to join AmeriCorps after my freshman year, something that would both change most of my viewpoints and give me a cause that I was passionate enough about to work with.
Volunteering, you see, has the unique ability not only to help you gain new skills and...
July 31, 2012
Multiple times in the past year, the philanthropy world has been shaken by different charitable trends that have fizzled out a few weeks later as people begin to understand that their initial view of the organization was just a little one-sided. It's difficult, in a world full of people who want to do something good, to find an opportunity that is legitimately invested in making a difference. The result, however, for just a little bit of research is phenomenal. Here are a few general guidelines to help you make your charity contributions matter the most:
July 19, 2012
I was sixteen, and in the space of a week had learned how to install shingles, paint during a sand storm, and calm an angry horde of hungry nine-year-olds. It was my first ever volunteer experience: a mission trip to help update an aging United Methodist Church in Artesia, New Mexico.
I had a wonderful experience making relationships with the local folks, learning new skills, and helping to give a group of people the means to affect change within their community. I wasn't just on a mission trip, but rather embarking upon the service journey that would eventually...
July 12, 2012
A few weeks ago, I had the honor of attending the 2012 National Conference on Volunteering and Service in the beautiful city of Chicago. As a first time conference goer, I was both excited and a little anxious about what to expect in this huge gathering of people who like me, devote their lives to service in some respect. After all, how amazing could the experience of being surrounded by thousands of like-minded inviduals be?
Lesson Number 1: Service happens anywhere and everywhere
After the second major session of NCVS, I was ecstatic. In the past twenty-...
July 04, 2012
A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to attend the National Conference on Volunteering and Service in Chicago. As I wandered around the beautiful city, I mulled over one of the major themes for this year's conference: A New Generation of Service. Service, it had always seemed to me, was something that took place on a small scale that affected large scale issues.
However, as I thought over the implications of a new generation of service, I realized that I was seriously mistaken. While service is...
June 19, 2012
Here at Volunteer Global, we hear this question pretty often: "What alternatives are there to the Peace Corps?" And we always give the same answer: "There are none."
After all, while there are many long-term volunteer programs including some that are even modeled after the Peace Corps, there is really no comparison. Most traditional volunteer programs have their participants complete long-standing projects by assisting with small areas of the project.
The Peace Corps, however, gives the Volunteers (yep, with a capital "V") the...
June 12, 2012
Somewhere between my second AmeriCorps service and studying abroad in Thailand, I realized what I wanted to do with my life. I had somehow ignored, even though I loved being a full-time volunteer, the idea that this might be what I was good at, my niche. It still surprises me that it took so long, but I finally knew: I wanted to serve.
I know that sounds broad- and it totally is- but this was the first inkling that I had about wanting to devote my life to service, philanthropy, and volunteerism. Shortly after this realization, I had another thought-...