Trips with purpose:
A Globe Aware program
Lolling on a gorgeous beach with a piña colada
in hand certainly has its appeal, but a surprising number of people
prefer to spend their leisure time doing good deeds that leave a
positive impact on the communities they visit. To serve this
growing market, a handful of organizations specialize in organizing
forays for volunteers who help local agencies provide much-needed
services in areas such as health, education and ecology.
For example, the nonprofit, Dallas-based Globe Aware
(214-823-0083; www.globeaware.com) runs volunteer trips for
individuals or groups of eight to 50 to Brazil, Cambodia, Costa
Rica, Cuba, India, Laos, Nepal and Vietnam. The firm arranges
accommodations, food, ground transportation and medical insurance,
and provides on-site coordinators fluent in the local language and
culture, says Kimberly Haley-Coleman, executive director. Only
airline reservations are left to the planner or individual
participants. Program costs are tax-deductible.
Group volunteer activities generally take up about six hours
per day, says Haley-Coleman, and the agenda leaves time for team
building, sightseeing and highlights of the local culture.
Other providers include Global Service Corps (www.globalservicecorps.org), a San Francisco-based
organization that runs health and education trips to Tanzania and
Thailand. Participants can perform tasks such as assisting doctors
in health clinics or helping to teach English in local schools and
orphanages. Similarly, London-based Trekforce Expeditions (www.trekforce.org.uk) organizes
environmental-improvement sojourns to Belize and Malaysia.