Did you know that travel and voluntarism are not mutually exclusive? According to sustainable tourism research by industry experts at Virginia Tech, more than 10 million individuals spend up to $2 billion each year for the opportunity to “travel with a purpose.”
Because there is no regulatory body to ensure that the volunteer work performed is helpful for the recipients, experts recommend working with an organization whose fundraising and spending are transparent, and whose work is documented over the long term.
For those interested in combining their vacation with volunteer work, check out these organizations:
Wild Dolphin Foundation – participants spend a minimum of six weeks in Hawaii, participating in marine environment research that helps develop and maintain conservation efforts for dolphin populations. Participants must be willing and able to spend time in small boats, as well as be capable of snorkeling. Travel and living expenses are the responsibility of the volunteer participant. For more information, visit www.wilddolphinfoundation.org/volunteer.
Alaska Raptor Center – rehabilitating large wild birds of prey is part of the mission of this center, where volunteers spend 30 hours in a single week working for the organization. The center provides research, education, and conservation efforts, primarily around owls, hawks, osprey, and bald eagle populations in extreme North America. Travel and living expenses are the responsibility of the volunteer participant. For more information, visit www.alaskaraptor.org.
Four Corners School – located in the heart of the American West, the Four Corners School provides the opportunity for volunteers to participate in eco-tours, service work, even rafting trips, designed to protect the historical sites of Native Americans on public lands. Programs include preserving Hopi Arts & Cultural sites and artifacts, mapping ruins in Ute tribal lands, trail and land rehabilitation and preservation, and protection of archaeological sites in the Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona areas. For more information, visit www.fourcornersschool.cor.
Cross Cultural Solutions – is an organization that enables volunteer travelers to help build and launch projects and programs designed by local individuals to support and improve local communities. With opportunities in Brazil, Costa Rica, Peru, Ghana, India, Russia, Tanzania, Thailand, and Guatemala, Cross Cultural Solutions offers international travel options for voluntourists. Visit www.crossculturalsolutions.org.
With an emphasis on quality finishes – including 30-year roof shingles and Hardiplank cement siding – as well regular professional maintenance of lawns, shrubs, and seasonal plantings, Windsong communities are the perfect option for Active Adult voluntourists, who can “lock and leave” without worry.
Welcome to Windsong – Where Life’s A Breeze!