Friday, April 20, 2012

cross-cultural solutions

This is something new for us here at goodiegoodie. In honor of National Volunteer Week we thought we would expand our horizons. After all, that is sort of what international volunteering is all about. Staring this week, we're going to post about some organizations that give back through volunteering!

Four years ago today, I embarked on what was to be a life changing trip. I spent a week in the Central Valley of Costa Rica volunteering at a school for extremely impoverished kids. I went alone and I can admit now that I was totally scared. One week later, I came back with some amazing friends and a completely new attitude and purpose in life. My trip and volunteer program was organized by the international volunteering organization Cross-Cultural Solutions.

Cross-Cultural Solutions' mission is to operate volunteer programs around the world in partnership with sustainable community initiatives, bringing people together to work side-by-side while sharing perspectives and fostering cultural understanding. The CCS approach to volunteer work is effective because they defer to the needs and goals of the communities they serve and connect volunteers with the expertise of local leaders. These aren't a bunch of do-gooders rushing in to tell people how to live their lives - these are caring people helping to fulfill a community's needs.

CCS is an international not-for-profit organization with no political or religious affiliations. They have volunteer placements in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, and Latin America that range in length from one week to twelve weeks. They have trips for students and teens, adults, individuals, families, seniors, and even people with disabilities. You have to pay for your volunteer program, but they provide everything from ground transportation, accommodations, all meals, volunteer placements including financial contributions to the participating programs, even some excursions. And if you're really concerned about the program expense, it's tax deductible.

Be more than a typical tourist on your next vacation. Visit somewhere amazing and make a difference at the same time!

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