Volunteer Vacations. You know when you're a single mom with two teenage kids, "charity begins at home."
I kept telling myself that, knowing that there was only so much of me to go around and that these children I was raising on my own are the most important way of all for me to "give back" to my world.
For some reason some people think that children take the most care when they are babies and toddlers. Wrong! You only have to keep small children safe, fed, clothed and sheltered.
Teenage years are the most crucial! Way beyond those basic necessities, you have to always try to figure out what's going on in their heads, and keep the lines of communication open even when they act like they want their "space."
You have to be involved and know who their friends are. The list is endless and it is exhausting -- physically and emotionally! It's very rewarding and the greatest achievement of your life as far as I'm concerned -- but it is exhausting! So I had to focus on the basics and the teenagers.
But there has always been a tug on my heart that makes me wish for a day when my life was about giving back through volunteering, and everything else wrapped around that. I'm not quite there yet! Volunteer vacations are a good start!
My husband actually was the one to suggest that we start taking volunteer vacations because he ran across something about them on the internet. We started researching what is available and were amazed.
I know you might be shocked at this, but some people get bored when they go on vacation and they can only take so much time lounging at the beach. I admit I enjoy active vacations and can only do so much lounging.
If charity isn't enough, according to MSN Money volunteer vacations are generally cheaper that paying individual rates for hotels and dining, especially when visiting a foreign country.
The charity you are volunteering for likely has received reduced, group rates. Plus a portion of the costs may be tax-deductible. You would need to consult with your accountant and go through the fine print since individual circumstances do vary and the rules are strict.
There are so many opportunities. I found a site that is trying to pull it all together called Charity Guide. They created a directory. You just click a cause from:
New IdeasAnimal WelfareChildren's IssuesCommunity DevelopmentEnvironmentHealth & SafetyPoverty
Then a slew of opportunities focused on that cause are presented to you with all of the details.
So I clicked on "Children's Issues" and a long list of opportunities came up.
From those I chose "Cultivate Music Appreciation Among Children." Then I come to a page describing the myriad of ways you can make a difference.
I scan the page and of course, Brazil catches my eye!
Global Crossroad is participating in a project in Brazil at the Center for Music Education. So I click on it to find out more. Wow! I find all the details on the project and exactly what is expected of me! This is perfect! I'm ready to pack my bags!
From there I can make an inquiry for more information or just book it now!
Pretty cool, huh?
You know, you're taking vacations anyway. What better way to vacation than to volunteer?
Give volunteer vacations a try. You and all the lives you touch will be glad you did!