Globe Aware, a nonprofit 501 (c) (3) develops short-term volunteer programs in international environments that encourage people to immerse themselves in a unique way of giving back.
Globe Aware has been featured and profiled in numerous news outlets, among them: CNN, The New York Times, Business Week, NBC Today Show, NPR (National Public Radio), Newsweek, Budget Travel, Travel&Leisure Magazine, Men's Fitness, Toronto Globe and Mail, and many others. Globe Aware has also been the subject of several major documentaries, among them a 9 part series titled Journeys of the Heart shot in high definition chronicling a group's developments in our Care for Cusco program. This series, produced by Concrete Productions, runs on the Dish Network's Equator Channel. Another documentary on Globe Aware was produced by Asterisk Productions called Vacations from the Heart which aired several times coast to coast in Canada on the Global Network and in the UK. Asterisk is a world renown production company with a special interest in social and environmental issues, for more on their inspiring work.
Every activity in which we engage is intended to accomplish one of two things: promote cultural awareness and/or promote sustainability. For us the concept of cultural awareness means to recognize and appreciate the real beauties and real challenges of a culture, but not to change it. The concept of sustainability is to help others stand on their own two feet; to teach skills rather than reliance.
Chosen projects meet several key criteria: safe, culturally interesting, genuinely beneficial to a needy community, and involve significant interaction with the host community. Globe Aware reviews volunteer feedback on a weekly basis to incorporate changes, and continually meets with the communities to monitor and review projects. Simultaneously Globe Aware organizes several optional cultural excursions throughout every program, designed to highlight local culture in a way the typical tourist can rarely experience. The organization has no political or religious affiliation.
Volunteers help to empower the host communities in creating renewable, sustainable programs. While Globe Aware's financial assistance benefits the community economically, it is actually the involvement and collaboration between the volunteers and community that is the greatest mutual benefit. Globe Aware is not a foundation that focuses on giving out charity, but rather an organization which focuses on creating self reliance.
We feel it is of supreme importance to respect the culture and heritage in which the volunteer is working. The goal is not for volunteers to change the host communities, but rather to help them in the needs that the host community has identified as important. Those who will enjoy the experience the most are those who bring an open mind and willingness to help. The natural, healthy exchange of ideas and opinions lead s to a mutual understanding of cultures.
Unlike a regular vacation, during which you may spend a good deal of time on a tourist bus and in lines at museums, our trips allow you to learn things such as how to cook local cuisine, sing with local school children, work side by side on local community projects. Few vacations provide a way to bond so closely with local cultures in so short a time. The experience will likely change how you see the world.
Together, Globe Aware's founders have been arranging cultural missions for 15 years in developing nations and organizing volunteer missions since 2000. The first programs were run in Peru and Costa Rica, with several in Asia to follow.
Locations are chosen based on a huge number of factors, but generally are communities that are safe, genuinely needy, organized (in terms of proper NGO status), with significant cultural differences from the typical North American lifestyle, and willing to accept our involvement. Our nonprofit status was recognized in 2003.
In addition to being granted not-for-profit status by the United States Internal Revenue Service, Globe Aware is also registered with The Texas State Attorney General's Charities Bureau which is responsible for supervising the activity of charities to ensure that their funds are properly used.
Why Volunteer Vacation?
So many reasons! Perhaps you would love to have joined the Peace Corps, but now the thought of a 2+year commitment is not feasible given the obligations and responsibilities of your life. One of the best reasons to volunteer vacation is the satisfaction you get by helping people who are trying to build a better life for themselves. And by traveling with Globe Aware, you will interact with local community members, not only getting a chance to see the culture but to understand it on a much deeper level. You can go to the market and help choose the groceries, help cook, dance, sing, and talk with wonderful, warm community members. You will understand what challenges they face, and see how they have chosen to address these issues, and then take part in working on one or more of their community projects. Make no mistake, it can be challenging. The new environment means change from your everyday life, but it will also present you with a wondrous new world.
Some of the objectives of Globe Aware volunteer vacations include:
- To promote contact between people of different cultural and social backgrounds, breaking down linguistic and cultural barriers and creating and understanding an appreciation of others.
- To provide worldly education through experience. To enable volunteers to learn the positive effects of concrete action and to recognize the interrelationship between theory and practice.
- To provide an inter-cultural learning experience and the opportunity to explore a new country and a new culture in a deeper and more respectful way than as tourists.
- To integrate participants into the local community so as to learn from their hosts about the issues which concern them.
- To help develop small scale infrastructure or environmental improvement, and or to preserve cultural heritage and traditions.