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Know of any good volunteer organizations?
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Angela Zukowski
(AngelaZ) - F

Locale: New England
Know of any good volunteer organizations? on 03/04/2010 07:22:44 MST Print View

I'm considering a lot of options for after my thru-hike. I've looked at Americorp, etc. and have done a lot of research but would love if anyone on here had anything to share. Especially international or wilderness opportunities.
I have previous experience! Hoping there's a few people who will know of options that I've overlooked in my internet searches.

Devin Montgomery
(dsmontgomery) - MLife

Locale: one snowball away from big trouble
Re: Know of any good volunteer organizations? on 03/04/2010 08:04:18 MST Print View

Hi, Angela. I can strongly recommend AmeriCorps - I spent a year building houses with Habitat for Humanity. I think the satisfying, outdoor, physical labor is particularly appealing to those of us who like to be outside. I liked it so much I took on a staff roll with Habitat for two years following my service. I also know there are various AmeriCorps programs that deal in conservation.

Internationally, I can recommend Little Children of the World. I spent five months with the organization helping with their health, education, and livelihood programs at their primary site in Dumaguete, Philippines in 2001. Aside from their mission, what I found so appealing about the organization is how straightforward they are about costs (so many international volunteering programs have high application and other fees). With LCW, you cover your own airfare, and then pay a modest weekly amount that covered housing and lunch five days a week when I was there. As I'm typing I'm reminiscing about my time there: truly amazing. While there, I had a number of friends that were doing Peace Corps, but I found this a nice alternative since I didn't have two years to devote at the time (I was in college).

If you PM me, I can give you all kinds of details about either of these options. More generally, I highly recommend following through on this plan!

Gerry Volpe

Locale: Vermont
Organizations on 03/04/2010 08:07:33 MST Print View

I don't know if you are looking for strictly Volunteer work or a job. If you are looking for employment I can conditionally recomend Eckerd Youth Alternatives Therepeutic Wilderness Programs. Conditionally because it is by far one of the hardest, most demanding lifestyles imaginable. I have worked for them for the past twelve years between the Vermont and Northern New Hampshire locations. Entry level counselors live and work in a group of 10 kids 24/5 year round. You build Cabin Tents, burn wood,participate in outdoor activities and deal with significant behavioral issues in a group settig. Again it is a lifestyle and not a job. Toughest job you'll ever love or maybe hate. Very dificult and very rewarding. I am a teacher having opted for a more normal schedule but in the last 8 months have been able to go on two week long backpacks(heavy institutional style)a weeklong ski trip and numerous experiential activities ( maple sugaring, dogsleding). I would never recomend this job without a multi day site visit and serious thought about your willingness to give up personal time and your ability to depersonalize at risk youths behaviors. Not for everyone but if your interested I could get you more info. There are always openings.

Ryan Linn

Locale: Maine!
Re: Know of any good volunteer organizations? on 03/04/2010 10:34:55 MST Print View

I've already talked with Angela about Americorps, but I'll throw a little more on here, in case anyone else is thinking of it.

I'll second Devin's recommendation for AC, with the caveat that each sponsoring site (the place where you end up working, while your stipend basically comes from Americorps) can vary widely in regards to how organized they are. Talking with other AC members, it seemed some of the sites basically had no reason to need them, so several of the folks had too few projects to work on and no resources to start new projects. Other sites seemed to be extremely well organized and had plenty to keep their AC members busy.

Just to name a few of the organizations I saw that had really good Americorps programs... (I did Americorps in VT so I don't know much about programs in other regions) North Branch Nature Center, VT Institute of Natural Science, The Nature Conservancy, and Vermont Youth Conservation Corps all seemed to be solid organizations with strong Americorps positions.

I think the SCA (Student Conservation Association) and The Nature Conservancy tend to have some good Americorps things going on all over the country, too.

Angela Zukowski
(AngelaZ) - F

Locale: New England
great suggestions on 03/04/2010 19:24:56 MST Print View

Thanks Devin, Gerry and Ryan! I am applying for a teaching fellowship locally... but want to have multiple options, for sure. It is tough finding international opportunities like that, Devin - you're right. So many organizations have you paying fees - and while I understand why, I am going to be on a tight budget!

Gerry, ideally I am looking for employment... but at this point I'm open to almost anything. I'd like to get in touch with both of you, actually - and I really appreciate the responses. My access to internet will be limited this weekend... but expect a PM at some point in the near future!

Thanks again, and if anyone else has other suggestions I'd love to hear them.