Making Travel Happen, One Volunteer at a Time

Screen Shot 2013-02-11 at 8.24.43 PMby Danielle Buchbinder

Traveling is one of my greatest passions. Not everyone has the privilege to travel abroad and I am grateful to have the chance. Fortunately, not for profit organizations like Make-A-Wish Foundation and Projects Abroad are providing travel opportunities to children and adults who wouldn’t have had the chance otherwise. These organizations, though quite different, rely on a network of volunteers and are changing lives.

Make-A-Wish “has enriched the lives of children with life-threatening medical conditions through its wish-granting work. The Foundation’s mission reflects the life-changing impact that a Make-A-Wish experience has on children, families, referral sources, donors, sponsors and entire communities.” Some wishes involve traveling to an exotic or longed-for destination anywhere in the world. The foundation has also granted wishes such as attending important sporting events and meeting famous athletes, celebrities and politicians. Their website is filled with testimonials and touching stories from children who have had their wishes granted.

Projects Abroad, on the other hand, “is one of the largest volunteer abroad organizations in the world.” They send “10,000 people abroad each year on a variety of service projects and internships overseas. All participants receive unparalleled in-country support from our full-time, professional staff to ensure that the experience is safe, worthwhile and fun.” Projects Abroad help sojourners realize short-term projects and provide cultural support and immersion. There are a variety of service projects such as internships and volunteering to build houses or provide food. And the experience of understanding and participating in another culture is life-changing for everyone involved.

Both organizations enable even ordinary individuals to make a significant difference in someone’s life. I believe that volunteering and helping others is rewarding and that everyone should give back.

Have you volunteered? If so, where? If not, would you like to be a volunteer? Share your experience in the comments.

Follow Dani on Twitter @danibuchbinder

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