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Make Your Vacation a Volunteer Affair

Are you thinking about what to do for your next vacation—and wondering how to squeeze the most out of it while having a lasting impact? Try incorporating some community improvement!

Whether you’re visiting far off locales or taking a needed staycation near home, there are fun and meaningful ways to do good during your down time.

Travelers’ delight

If you want a new adventure in a new place while promoting peace, Global Citizen Network (GCN) or Cross-Cultural Solutions may be right for you. These organizations partner with indigenous communities in Africa, Asia and Central and South America to immerse volunteers in native cultures. You’ll expand your cultural awareness and promote peace while enhancing the quality of life for others. You can also visit tribes in Minnesota and Washington through GCN.

Do you prefer to explore the sea, learn about its creatures and help protect its variety? Try a volunteer vacation with the Oceanic Society. You’ll be able to dive right in with no prior research experience. Volunteers get to swim alongside biologists, collecting valuable data on marine species and habitats.

Head outside to help

Youth volunteers are the “core” of the Corps Network, which engages young people in environmental and community service projects across the U.S. It’s a direct descendant of the Depression-era Civilian Conservation Corps. The comprehensive programs include job training, academic programming, leadership skills and support.

Is there a national park near you? If so, there’s an easy way to help. The National Park Service relies on people like you to preserve our nation’s natural treasures. Kids can join the fun too, including one program strictly for ages 15-18.

Keep close to home

If you opt for a staycation this year, there are plenty of ways to have a big impact in your community:

  • Food and wellness: Organize a nearby food drivesponsor a family or get involved through Meals on Wheels. Also consider Rock and Wrap It Up: You or your family pick up food from venues such as arenas and deliver it to places of need. Then, use the Whole Earth Calculator app to add up how many meals you’ve delivered. Share your results on social media to spark even more good giving in your community.
  • Moms in need: Help moms with baby items by preparing gift bags filled with t-shirts, blankets, hats or toys. Load up a backpack or a canvas bag with these new or gently used items, and then ask other families to make their own after you connect with a local shelter, hospital, clinic or agency that’s eager to distribute them. And the backpack can be put to good use when the toddler begins school!
  • Kids: There are lots of ways to work with kids in your community. Help them keep up their studies during the summer by practicing sound financial literacyor getting their supplies ready for the fall. Try holding a gently used backpack drive and compiling all of the supplies in the bags for a helpful donation to your local school.
  • Emotional support: Have a knack for compassionate listening and an open ear? Volunteer from home to be a crisis support phone counselor.

Discover more ideas

Ready to volunteer now? Find a service opportunity near you with Create the Good.

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Keep your community safe this summer

Help your neighbors stay cool during times of extreme heat by checking on your community members and offering to drive them to an air-conditioned location.

Travel with purpose

Wherever you go, make the most of your trip by planning ahead—and consider transforming a community with voluntourism.