Have you thought about taking a “voluntrip” to a far away, exotic land to help build schools or dig wells, then venture out into wild jungles or explore ancient cities? Sounds like a great idea, right? While traveling and volunteering abroad can be a rewarding experience*, voluntourism can be just as much fun and rewarding closer to home. It can be a trip to any place, even if it is just down the road.
If you’re thinking of being a voluntourist, think local. Louisiana is a great place for voluntourism. Not only is there always a need and opportunity to volunteer, there are so many interesting and unique places to visit in the state, from remote parks to the heart of thriving cities. Voluntourism can allow you the opportunity to see many of the beautiful and natural resources in our own state. In Louisiana, most places are easily reached by driving and the drive itself can be an adventure.
Here are some ideas to get you started on planning your voluntrip…
New Orleans remains one of the most popular places to visit and to volunteer. Last year, New Orleans is celebrated its 300th anniversary and kicked off an impressive volunteer initiative – “300,000 for the Next 300”. HandsOn New Orleans, Network Volunteers, United Way of Southeast Louisiana and the Tricentennial Commission joined forces to host 300 volunteer opportunities in the New Orleans area throughout 2018.
In addition to New Orleans, there are numerous volunteer opportunities throughout the state. From flood recovery and rebuilding work to food banks and hospitals, to community events and festivals. There are a variety of ways to get involved. The best way to get connected to opportunities in your area is to contact your local United Way agency or visit VolunteerLouisiana.gov to find your local agency which connects volunteers to opportunities.
The next time you have the urge to travel, even if just for a weekend, think about a #staycation in Louisiana and include a little volunteering as part of your trip. Volunteering is good for the soul, visiting new areas of our state is good for the soul, and in #OnlyLouisiana, you can always #GeauxVolunteer and #FeedYourSoul.
*A note about voluntourism abroad: there have been reports of organizations that may not operate in the best interest of the population they serve. We recommend researching organizations and checking references before booking trips abroad.