Exploring Volunteer Vacations in America - Los Angeles News | FOX 11 LA KTTV

Exploring Volunteer Vacations in America

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© Courtesy of Global Citizens © Courtesy of Global Citizens

Looking for new things to do on your family vacation?  Consider a volunteer vacation this year.  Serving together provides a positive way for family members to spend quality time with one another, brings parents and children closer by inspiring important conversations about values, attitudes and beliefs, and offers the gift of intergenerational connections.

Volunteer Vacations can take many forms and be very rewarding.  Not only is there a sense of accomplishment in ‘giving back' to the community you are visiting, but it provides an opportunity to learn the local culture on a deeper level.  So how do you go about planning a volunteer vacation?  Your local church or religious organization may have connections in the area you are planning to visit and can provide some referrals.  Next consider how you and your family would like to volunteer – helping the homeless, children and families, animals?  Once you narrow your search, you can find local organizations that need your help.  If you are interested in the full volunteer vacation experience, we recommend these options:

  • Global Citizens Network is a nonprofit organization and one of only a handful of NGO, secular groups that welcome families with young children, focusing special attention to training its staff and leaders to offer child-friendly resources for an enhanced experience.  Participants immerse themselves in the culture and daily life of a community by partnering with a local grassroots organization active in meeting local needs.


  • Global Volunteers offers service weeks for families with children 8 years or older at the Blackfeet Reservation, Montana and Appalachia, West Virginia.  Founded on UNICEF and World Food Programme guidelines for essential services in the areas of Hunger, Health and improving IQ in children, Global Volunteers has provided structured volunteer opportunities since 1984.


  • The Catalina Island Conservancy's newly forged partnership with the Historic Hermosa Hotel has led to an innovative Volunteer Vacations package that allows visitors to stay on the Island while they help protect and restore Catalina's rare ecology.  These donations of time and energy provide a way to enjoy Catalina's scenic interior and picturesque beaches while being part of a unique conservation initiative. 

I also recommend that you start small – try a local outing first for a few days.  Then graduate up to one of the three domestic recommendations above.  After that, you'll be ready for the big time – international destinations for longer periods.  You and your family will be amazed at how rewarding a Volunteer Vacation can be!  So book your trip and enjoy family bonding time while making a difference in the lives of others.

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