by Terence Baker and Lisa Grimaldi | July 01, 2005

A Globe Aware program

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; 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 (, 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 ( organizes environmental-improvement sojourns to Belize and Malaysia.