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"We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give." -Winston Churchill

There are many ways you can volunteer to help others in your country and throughout the world.  Whether as part of retirement or as part of a vacation.  From helping Indiana Jones dig for artifacts in far off places to maintaining hiking trails.  From health projects to education projects.  If you are reading this you are one of the lucky ones out of the 6 billion of us here on this planet. You are probably not worried about your next meal or surviving another year.

Sure, you can help with money, which is always appreciated, but personally helping others is one of the greatest experiences you can have. We are all here together and only for a little while.  Have the satisfaction of knowing that in the great scheme of things, you personally helped make it a better world before departing.    For volunteer activities within the USA, jump down to that section on this page.
Voluntourism  This is a new term for volunteering when you help others on your vacation. Clicking on the term will give you the results of a Google search.
Wikipedia - Volunteer Vacation  The last time we checked, this was just the beginning of an article on volunteer vacations. We are sure it will expand into a regular, comprehensive article and may have already by the time you read this.  
Charity Navigator  Please visit this website to check out an impartial rating of how well volunteer organizations operate and use the money they receive in contributions.
Specific Web Searches.  For English-speaking people, we suggest you include the word "volunteer", the word "international" or the name of a country, city, region, etc. if you want to volunteer in a specific place, add a word to describe the type of volunteer work you want to do if you have certain interests.  Example: International volunteer hiking trail maintenance
Global Volunteer Directories
DMOZ Open Directory - Travel - VolunteeringExtensive list of websites and organizations that support volunteer vacations.

Global AwareThey are a nonprofit organization that offers  offers volunteer vacations in some countries in Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean and Europe. Each volunteer vacation is for a week and the services focus on cultural-awareness and sustainable community projects. All program costs, including the cost of airfare, are tax-deductible. You don't need any special skills or to speak another language.

Global VolunteersThis is a comprehensive site with information on worldwide volunteer vacation opportunities. Service projects: Teach conversational English, care for vulnerable children, paint, build and repair community buildings, or assist with health care. There are no specialized skills required!
Global Service CorpsGSC is a nonprofit, international volunteer organization that provides opportunities for people worldwide to live and work abroad in developing countries. "We care about people. We care about the earth. We learn and we teach."
Global Volunteer NetworkThis is a comprehensive site with information on worldwide volunteer vacation opportunities.
World Volunteer WebThis is a unique group that supports the volunteer community by providing a global one-stop-shop for information, resources, and organizations linked to volunteerism. It mobilizes individuals, organizations and networks to help achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), a set of time-bound targets to combat poverty, hunger, disease, illiteracy, environmental degradation and discrimination against women. It promotes ties between civilian organizations, governments and individual volunteers.
Other Global Volunteers
Ambassadors for Children  Ambassadors for Children helps children in approximately 20 locations in the world by sending volunteers on short-term humanitarian trips to support local, sustainable programs.
Cross Cultural Solutions.  Their volunteer programs offer a unique opportunity for participants to work side-by-side with local people, on locally designed and driven projects. The programs are designed to facilitate hands-on service and cultural exchange in the aim of fostering cultural understanding.
GoAbroad.com   This is a comprehensive on-line source of information on studying abroad, finding a language school, overseas internships, international volunteer positions, teaching abroad, and finding jobs in other countries.  It also  has comprehensive sections on Eco-Travel and other subjects.  It is the winner of the best study and work abroad internet site.  Go directly to the Volunteer Abroad section.
International Volunteer Educational Exchange  IVPA is an alliance of nonprofit, non-governmental organizations based in the Americas, that are involved in international volunteer and internship exchanges in North, South and Central American countries.
Amizade  Amizade offers travel programs with a mix of community service and recreation.
TravelGate Working Holiday Directory   Good information about wildlife volunteer projects and lots of good links to volunteer organizations and programs.
United Planet   United Planet (UP)  is a leading international, educational, humanitarian, and peace-building, non-profit organization with members and volunteers in over 150 countries. They promote cross-cultural understanding and friendship, support communities in need, and promote social & economic prosperity at the local level.
Environmental Volunteers
EarthShareEarth Share is a nationwide network of the most respected and responsible non-profit environmental and conservation organizations in the United States who are working together to promote environmental awareness and philanthropy through charitable workplace giving. They have many volunteer opportunities within the United States.
Google "Rainforest Volunteer Work"  An extensive list.  If you have a specific country or rainforest you want to volunteer for, do a search on <country/rainforest name> Rainforest Volunteer Work (e.g., Brazil Rainforest Volunteer Work).
Google "Environmental Volunteer Work"  An extensive list.  If you have a specific country or rainforest you want to volunteer for, do a search on <country name> + Volunteer (e.g.. Canada Environmental Volunteer)
Rainforest Action Network They are helping people and the environment in a number of ways besides volunteer work in the rainforest regions of the world. They have a good list of organizations that offer volunteer opportunities worldwide.
Sustainable Harvest International   Sustainable Harvest International (SHI)  helps Central American "farmers reverse rainforest destruction with sustainable land-use practices that allow them to take control of their environmental and economic destinies. . . .There is no better way to experience SHI's work in the field than to sign up for a Smaller World Service Tour.  Travel, experience different cultures and fight poverty and deforestation in Central America."
 USA Volunteers
VolunteerMatchVolunteerMatch is a leading website that offers a variety of online services to support a community of nonprofit, volunteer and business leaders committed to connecting non-profit organizations that need volunteers and those who want to volunteer. Their home page search box makes it easy to find something of interest by entering your zip code, putting in a maximum distance you would be willing to travel and selecting from a pull down menu of types of activities.
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