Add Service to your Next Vacation
25 Jun, 2013
By Loop Contributor
VolunTravel is a volunteer travel organization that strives to promote cross-cultural learning, a deepening awareness of our global interdependence, and a commitment to the common good. It is based in Rye and founded by a Rye teacher and former Peace Corps volunteer,
Organizations such as Cross Cultural Solutions, Habitat for Humanity, and the Sierra Club, amongst others, have long been offering volunteer opportunities around the world, but VolunTravel sets itself apart by providing a more family-friendly, group volunteer experience to Westchester and southern Connecticut residents. VolunTravel provides an abbreviated Peace Corps-like experience, where participants travel in intimate groups, interact with the local people, eat at and sleep in locally run accommodations, and conduct service projects devised by local organizations in the host countries. While the reward may seem to lie in the chance to visit the world’s greatest natural and manmade sites, former VolunTravelers attest that their authentic interactions with the local people and the feeling of satisfaction after restoring a dilapidated, trash-filled playground, or providing supplies to and helping out at an orphanage outweighed the awe they experienced while witnessing the splendor of the Galapagos Islands or the majesty of Machu Picchu.
VolunTravel currently caters to Westchester families, couples, and individuals over 18, looking to do more than just take a cruise-ship vacation. Participants often leave as strangers seeking to a make a difference in the world and come back as a family with the world having made a difference in them! Trips are geared towards adventurous family travelers who are flexible and socially-minded. Kids are encouraged to attend 3-4 pre-service meetings where they learn about the destination and the difficulties faced by the society. They help set goals for the service trip and prepare presentations to teach the busy adults about the local culture, history, and goals of the trip in a final, pre-trip group meeting. Community service hours and fundraising help are also offered to VolunTravelers. The family and group bonding that occurs on VolunTravel trips is priceless, however, since VolunTravel is a 501c3 non-profit organization, part of the trip is tax deductible.
VolunTravel is expanding its operations beyond Rye, and is actively seeking participants from Larchmont, Mamaroneck, Scarsdale, Bronxville, New Rochelle, Pelham, Port Chester, Rye Brook, Harrison, and the rest of the lower Hudson Valley. In 2014, VolunTravel will be taking trips to Havana, Cuba (February 15-22) and the Galapagos Islands (April 12-20).
Come learn more at one of three upcoming information sessions at:
- Tuesday, July 9 – Greenwich Library (2nd floor Meeting Room) – 7pm
- Thursday, July 11 – Rye Library (Community Room) – 7pm
- Tuesday, July 16 – Scarsdale Library (Auditorium) – 7pm