Category Archives: Volunteer Work

Ecotourism Jobs

In 2006, the New York Times named “ecotourism” the buzzword of the year, citing efforts by numerous countries to cash in on their natural resources and boost their tourism revenue. Five years on, the not-so-fledgling industry continues to generate hype, helping economies and the environment along the way. It’s no surprise that an increasing number of college graduates are eyeing careers in ecotourism, and that the field is growing wider and more competitive by the day.

Ecotourism jobs span a broad range of fields, including business, management, finance, science, arts and communication, and the social sciences. Indeed, there are ways to apply just about any skill in the quest to save the planet. Sites like Treehugger.com (owned by the Discovery network) offer comprehensive job boards in ecotourism and other “green collar” jobs.

Perhaps the most direct way to get into ecotourism is to specialize in the sciences. Chemistry, biology, and environmental science are all in high demand among green companies. Graduates from these fields can make a living doing research for private and public agencies, helping them find ways to preserve endangered sites and maintain wildlife populations.

 

If you’re more attracted to hospitality jobs, ecotourism also offers ample opportunities. With the right training, you can work for hotels, restaurants, airlines, and other travel firms with an environmental thrust. You can also occupy information desks and help people plan sustainable vacations. If you love to travel, this field may be your best bet. A degree in tourism or management can come in handy.

Management and business professionals often end up at the helm of operations, or even running the outfit themselves. If you work well with a team and are able to make smart decisions, you can launch and head your own ecotourism projects, promoting local sites or traveling to other destinations. If your skills lie more on the creative side, you can go into environmental journalism, public relations, or marketing, where communication skills and a bit of creative flair are valuable.

Ecotourism is a broad discipline, and its rapid growth over the years is proof that it’s here to stay. And that’s a good thing, because it opens doors for people who would otherwise enter an already crowded job market. Whether you’re just starting or looking to change career paths, you’re sure to find a wealth of opportunities in ecotourism. As an added perk, you get to travel, meet interesting people, and make the world a better place while you’re at it.

Volunteer Los Angeles

In a bustling city like Los Angeles, it’s hard to imagine making time for volunteer work. But the volunteer community is surprisingly active in LA, and the number of people who take time out of their busy schedules to help is certainly inspiring. Animal shelters, environmental groups, human rights advocates, and health centers are just among the most popular charities. If you’ve got time or money to spare, you may want to consider giving these groups a hand.

Most major international charities have a strong presence in LA, but there are also small outfits catering to various communities. While not all of them need help throughout the year, it won’t hurt to offer an extra hand if you have some free time. Start by looking up causes you’re interested in, and calling up relevant charities in your area. Find out what kind of work they do and how you can pitch in, depending on your skills and experience.

Some types of volunteer work don’t require any particular experience. These are usually menial tasks like sorting clothes or serving food at a soup kitchen. If you want to take on more responsibility, you can look into administrative, managerial, or marketing positions. You may need to be more experienced and undergo some form of training. The same goes for research, although you may get a recommendation from your school or company. Front-line work, such as manning information booths, may also call for previous work in the field.

If you’re just visiting or don’t want to commit to charity work just yet, consider helping out at seasonal events. Los Angeles hosts music festivals, art shows, and other cultural events throughout the year, and many will be more than happy to take you on board. You can help usher attendees or set up stages, or if you have the skills, you can help organize and promote the event. Most of them are supported by the government and provide excellent professional experience.

One advantage to doing volunteer work is that you get to meet people who share your interests. Many first-timers start out with just a passing interest and end up working with volunteer Los Angeles groups as a career. Some use it as a springboard for other career paths, such as medicine, education, or research. Others just do it for the company. No matter what your reason is, you’re sure to touch other people’s lives just as they’ve touched yours.

Become a Soup Kitchen Volunteer

Soup kitchens came about in the U.S. in the wake of the Great Depression of the 1930s, which left millions unemployed and unable to meet basic food needs. Today they remain a valuable contribution in poor communities, even in relatively prosperous areas. But what’s great about soup kitchens today is that they are run almost entirely by volunteers, people dedicating their time to helping those in need.

Working as a soup kitchen volunteer isn’t as groundbreaking as delivering vaccines to African children, nor is it as professionally rewarding. But its appeal lies in helping people in the most basic of ways—giving them food and water where they would otherwise go hungry. It may not seem obvious, but even in the United States—the world’s epitome of wealth and excess—more than 30 million people go hungry every day. The sheer dedication of volunteers, in soup kitchens and elsewhere, is what keeps these people going and gives them a chance at rebuilding their lives.

Soup is usually served because it’s easy to make in large batches, and because it can take a large variety of ingredients according to the season. Most soup kitchens also serve bread, and are even called “bread lines” in some areas. The meals can be served for free or at a low price, and ingredients are often sourced from local food banks. Soup kitchens are most active during the winter holiday season, where more people are seeking shelter and warm food.

Volunteers for soup kitchens usually come from local organizations, such as anti-poverty groups or churches. If you’re already part of such a group, ask around to see if they’re affiliated with soup kitchens or food banks. Otherwise, you can contact soup kitchens themselves and ask how you can volunteer. It’s a lot of work, so they’re usually happy to have a helping hand. Your tasks may include basic kitchen work and cleaning, but you may be expected to serve food and help usher people around as well.

It may not be the most glamorous of pastimes, but becoming a soup kitchen volunteer can be one of the most rewarding ways to spend your free time. Besides helping your community, you also get to meet interesting people and gain valuable life experience. Next time you have a day or two to spare, spend a few hours in a soup kitchen and help brighten someone else’s day.

Nursing Volunteer Abroad

Many poor and developing countries are seriously lacking in healthcare, not least because of their meager workforce. They simply don’t have the resources to train and hire competent doctors, nurses, and other healthcare providers, and their hospitals, if any, can provide little more than basic treatment.

Nursing volunteers are part of the solution to this problem. Nurses, whether active, retired, or in training, can offer hands-on assistance in impoverished clinics and help them provide better, more efficient service. Some nurses go into volunteer work while taking a break in their career, as it gives them a change of environment while allowing them to continue practicing. It’s a great way to gather experience, gain new skills, meet new people, and develop a whole new appreciation for your field.

Some organizations don’t require you to have a nursing license or a certain amount of experience, although these are always useful. As long as you have the skills and a desire to learn, you can join a nursing volunteer abroad program. Of course, positions with more responsibility will require more skills, so you may have to start with simple tasks and learn on the job. Each organization has its own rules, however, so look for one where your training and experience will be most valuable.

Most volunteer nurses help by spending one-on-one time with patients and their families, offering moral and emotional support, and assisting with movement, feeding, and personal hygiene. They are usually supervised by a charge nurse or head nurse, and may have to do a few administrative tasks such as keeping patient files and taking shifts at reception desks.

Your tasks as a nursing volunteer can vary throughout the day and week, and plans are often interrupted by emergency situations. Often, these require cooperation from several doctors and nurses. This is why resourcefulness, teamwork, and the ability to think on your feet are essential to performing well as a volunteer nurse.

You can volunteer as a nurse for as little as a week or over a year. Most organizations, however, recommend staying for at least a couple of weeks to get a real feel of how a volunteer-run clinic works. Many nurses end up working for charities after spending time as volunteers, inspired by the ability to help those in need. No matter what your decision is, the time you spend as a nursing volunteer abroad is always time well spent.

Volunteer Australia

Australia has one of the biggest volunteer communities in the world in proportion to its population. According to Volunteering Australia, more than 5 million people—a third of the adult population—do volunteer work, mostly from influence by friends and family and only marginally out of popular media. This means that at their heart, Australians are helpful people—and that makes the country one of the most attractive places to volunteer.

Volunteer Australia opportunities vary widely from area to area. Most major cities have widespread environmental projects that could use an extra hand year-round, and smaller towns are often home to healthcare and education charities offering services that residents could not access otherwise. Australians are also big animal lovers, and there are government and private animal shelters in all capitals and major suburbs.

As the coastal areas are prone to natural disasters, they are usually open to volunteers for emergency preparedness and disaster relief projects. The Queensland floods attracted lots of volunteers to help distribute resources to affected families and provide emergency care to those who were hurt. If you’re in good shape, have a background or interest in healthcare, or just have excellent people skills, this could be a good opportunity for you.

The country also has a strong environmental thrust, being home to some of the greatest land and marine wonders in the world. For most of the year, the government and various non-profits have projects in place to help preserve the country’s natural heritage and spread awareness. There are also more hands-on projects such as tree planting and shore cleanups. Whether you want to do manual work or do research and administrative support, there’s always room for volunteers in the environment circle.

If you’re visiting Australia over your break, see if there are any seasonal events you can participate in. There’s usually one going on any time of the year, and the bigger ones often need people to serve as ushers or be part of the maintenance crew. Music festivals are especially popular. Not only are you helping enhance the experience for locals and fellow visitors; you also get to meet new people.

Volunteering is one of the best ways to spend your time, whether it’s a few days or a few months—and Australia simply has a way of inspiring people to lend a helping hand. Make your next visit matter and find a volunteer project—it can change someone’s life as much as it can change yours.

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