Making a Difference Through Volunteering

Making a Difference Through Volunteering

As the world economy struggles to regain it’s footing, and populations all over the planet begin to revolt, demanding humane treatment, we become more acutely aware of the madness that surrounds us in our daily lives. It’s no wonder that so many people are beginning question their value systems and those of their governments. While it is easy to find reasons to get angry, and be discontented with the current state of affairs, there is a growing population of people who have become committed to providing solutions, rather than simply lamenting the problems.

As miserable as we may feel in our daily lives, it is a sobering moment to realize that our worst day, is often better than the best day of many of our planet’s population. For some, this realization only hardens the heart, but for others, it melts it. For those that recognize the bottomless need for people with helpful skills, patience and a big heart, this is often a turning point.

They begin to realize how easy it is to improve the lives of those less fortunate. The good news is that there are plenty of Aid organizations out there that match skill-sets with populations that need them, and as a result the world of volunteer labour is growing by leaps and bounds.

Central America for instance, has tremendous need for those with expertise in agriculture, medicine, biology, education and more, due to the pressures national governments all over the world are facing. With austerity measures firmly in place to mitigate debt, government services are suffering. Those with skills in the medical field and agriculture are encouraged to volunteer in Guatemala where health care services for the poor are dwindling and resources for agriculture are being stretched thin. And due to recent natural disasters such as flooding, those with expertise in the construction field are encouraged to volunteer in Costa Rica. Their skills are put to use strengthening and repairing facilities and homes weakened and damaged by heavy rains and flooding. There has never been a greater need for people with valuable skills, patience, and heart. Now is the time to put those amazing human resources to good use. Consider becoming a volunteer today!

Different Benefits of Volunteering Services

Different Benefits of Volunteering Services

In today’s busy life, it is very difficult to take out time for volunteering. But still there are many individuals interest in this activity. The rise and popularity of volunteering services has been increasing day by day. This is a practice involving individuals working for some dedicated cause or on behalf of others and that too without getting paid.

Many professional companies today are involved in the business of providing volunteer work to the interested individuals. Today, different types of services are available for the keen individuals starting from skills-based volunteering services, environmental, virtual, school to community. Individuals can choose the one that suit them the best as per their interests and requirements. Let us throw light on some of the major benefits associated with these services.

These include:

Helps in making more and more contacts

This is one of the major benefits offered by the process. It is considered as one of the best ways of making new friends and strengthening existing relationships. During volunteering, you get a chance to meet new people. Not only this, the process exposes you to people that share common interests. You get to know a majority of new things and have fun together.  

Development of social skills

This is the second major benefit offered by the process. It helps in developing social skills as you meet people with common interest every day. This not only increases your self-confidence but also provides you a sense of satisfaction.

Kills depression

This is the most important benefit of these services. Social isolation is one of the key reasons for depression in a majority of individuals. This activity keeps individuals in a regular contact with others. This provides you support and protection against stress and depression when you’re going through tough times.

Helps in career development

If you are planning to start a new career, volunteering can be of great help. The process can help you obtain experience in your area of interest. Even if you’re not planning to change your career, this activity provides you the opportunity to develop various important skills like teamwork, communication, project planning, task management, problem solving, organization, etc.

Thus, it becomes clear from the above discussion that volunteering services are of great help for the individuals. In order to get high quality volunteer work, it is important to choose a reliable company.  In this regard, you can take help from different websites.

Chicago – The Sears Tower

Chicago – The Sears Tower

Chicago is where the Sears Tower is located and this world famous landmark is an attraction that is always popular with local residents and tourists. The Skydeck is the 103rd floor observation landing that is the main draw for people visiting Sears Tower. From this vantage point it is possible to see Illinois, Michigan, Indiana and Wisconsin in the distance. It is also one of the best places to experience the sway of a “tall scraper” as it reacts to the Chicago wind. This 108 story building was completed in 1973, and its height of 442m gave it the distinction of being the world’s tallest building at that time. Today it is the tallest freestanding structure in the US, but it is only the 4th tallest in the world.

This mighty skyscraper will soon be undergoing a name change in 2009. The Sears’ Company lost the naming rights in 2003. When the right to the name expired, it was still being referred to as the Sears Tower but for the past 6 years this name has been unofficial.

In March of 2009 much of this building was leased by Willis Group Holdings, Ltd., a British insurance brokerage firm. The contract was drawn up and approved with the stipulation that the company would have the right to name the building. The new name, as of the summer of 2009, will be the Willis Tower. This is not the only change that is planned; the London based firm is also revamping the outer appearance by painting it silver.

In The Sears Roebuck Company was known as the largest US retailer in the 1960s. Company executives wanted to create an office building to house all of the Chicago based workers. In 1969 they gave the contract for Sears Tower to the architectural firm of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill. From the very first everyone knew that they would be creating one of the largest structures in the world. The chief architect was Bruce Graham and Fazlur Khan was tapped to be the head structural engineer.

The executives knew that many of the floors would be devoted to their own workers, especially the large number of employees that dealt with Merchandise and Sales. However, they also proposed that the additional office space be rented out to others until it was needed by Sears. They wanted smaller sized floors with lots of big windows to make the rental option attractive to smaller firms and professional businessmen. This decision played a part in the overall design of the Tower. With the company pushing for smaller sizes for the floors it meant that the building would have to be even taller than they had first thought. The architects drew up plans that used the larger floor designs in the lower section of the Tower and then they tapered the sizes of all of the other floors. Today this sturdy, unique look is a distinct and identifiable feature of Sears Tower.

Although the company was able to finance the construction costs, the 70s had a devastating impact on the Sears organization. The growth and profits did not materialize and other retailers moved in and took large chunks of their customer base. It became difficult to even find businesses to rent office space in Sears Tower during the 80s. The company was forced to move from the building in 1992 and since this time the landmark has had several different owners. Hopefully 2009 will be the year when this impressive skyscraper will regain the elegance that it displayed when it first opened in 1973.

Top 4 Volunteer abroad books

Top 4 Volunteer abroad books

“No matter how big and powerful government gets, and the many services it provides, it can never take the place of volunteers.”- Ronald Reagan. Volunteering abroad is an endeavor that changes the lives of the volunteers as well as the lives of those being helped. As volunteer, especially those who are first time volunteers, they are excited about the prospect of going abroad and helping out. They have a great deal of anxiety and uncertainty because they don’t have much information on how life is abroad, and the kind of work that they will do. There is information on volunteer work on the internet on blogs, reviews and volunteer service organizations. In addition to information on the internet, there are books available. These books are written by past volunteers on how life is abroad. The authors are writing from firsthand experience on volunteer work abroad, and life in different countries.

These volunteer books are: How to Live Your Dream of Volunteering Abroad It is authored by Joseph Collins, Stefano DeZerega, and Zahara Heckscher. The book is Based on six years of research that included fieldwork in over 25 countries, the book is not just a directory of opportunities, but a critical review of over 80 volunteer placement organizations in this rapidly growing field, as well as a detailed but easy to read manual about everything from why to volunteer to what to do when you get back. It is an in-depth guide for anyone who wants volunteer in Latin America, Africa, Asia, the Middle East or Eastern Europe Volunteer Vacations: Short-Term Adventures That Will Benefit You and Others The authors are Bill McMillon, Doug Cutchins, Anne Geissinger, and Ed Asner. This book provides one to two pages of information on 150 organizations through which travelers can help others while on vacation at locations both in the United States and around the world. The authors state that they have carefully vetted the organizations but they have stopped short of providing reviews or ratings. While essential information on each organization’s work, locations, costs, needed skills, age restrictions, and contact information is provided, the authors encourage readers to research further on their own. They provide tips on how to evaluate an organization, and they intersperse inspiring testimonials from former volunteers throughout the book. This guide is both a good starting point and a sound overview for those interested in undertaking a service-oriented vacation. The International Directory of Voluntary Work It is written by Victoria Pybus. The book is a freshly revised eighth edition of the book that covers all types of voluntary work all over the world. Over 700 organizations worldwide need all types of people, both skilled and unskilled, for all types of work. Residential work available worldwide includes schemes such as organic farming in Thailand, nursing in Chile, archaeological digs in France, re-enacting battles in Pennsylvania, bird observation in the Madagascan rainforest, bee-keeping in Hungary, working with street children in Brazil, studying humpback whales in Hawaii, teaching English in Laos, or running development programs in India. The book also covers non-residential work in the UK and the USA such as planting trees in San Francisco, caring for seal pups in Cornwall, helping to re-house homeless people, working in a dragonfly museum, restoring steam locomotives, and preparing food for dolphins in Florida The straight stuff about joining the Peace Corps It is written by Dillon Banerjee. The book grew from Dillon Banerjee’s personal frustration trying to answer these questions for himself: he couldn’t find a single book written from the perspective of a Volunteer. It is organized around 73 questions starting with “1. What is the application process like?” and ending with “73. Would you go back and do the Peace Corps all over again?” The nine appendices are rich with information including PCV requirements and how to strengthen your own application plus lists of loan programs and RPCV support groups arranged by state.

Volunteer in Africa

Volunteer in Africa

Volunteering in Africa is a new trend that is rising in the world. Many people are looking to Africa and find ways to help the local communities. Volunteering in Africa provides a host of new opportunities and challenges to whomever who wants to volunteer abroad. Africa is the second largest continent in the world. Second to Asia, it has a billion people with a diverse set of cultures. There are over 1000 languages spoken from Kiswahili to Arabic. Sudan is the largest country while Seychelles is the smallest.  The main official languages spoken are English, French and Spanish. There are also two main religions which are, Christianity and Islam, although there are many more traditional religions or folk religions. The African continent lies on the equator, making most of the countries in Africa being tropical. The main seasons in Africa are mainly summer and autumn.

The rainy seasons are mainly in June to July and November and December. During the rainy seasons there could be flooding which occurs in areas near rivers and lakes. Other than that it’s usually sunny all throughout the year. Except from the southern African countries, where they experience winter in the middle of the year.  The African Geography is also unique with the highest point being in Mount Kilimanjaro, the second largest mountain in the world, while the lowest points lie in the Rift valley in Kenya. The largest desert in the world lies is the Kalahari Desert which cuts across several countries. The longest river lies in Egypt, River Nile. All these make volunteering in Africa to be a unique and a beautiful experience.

 

Volunteer programs and projects

 

Despite the rich beauty and the bountiful resources that are available in Africa, there are a number of problems that continue to plague the continent. One of the main problems that Africa has is unstable governments and human rights abuse which are seen in a couple of countries. For example in the democratic republic of Congo, it is referred to as the rape capital whereby 1 in 5 women have been raped. But in the stable democratic countries in Africa, they have unique volunteer programs and projects available for whoever wants to volunteer. Depending on the country you go to you will find a project where you can be useful. The programs and projects include: orphanage work, teaching kids in primary and secondary school; teaching English as a second language; Health/ Medical work; HIV/AIDS work; community development work; care for the disabled work; conservation work, working with wildlife; teaching basic computer skills; teaching sports; work on marine conservation projects and preserving habitats; help build homes. The opportunities are all different in the countries, like teaching English in Kenya is very different from teaching English in Ghana. The programs prices differ greatly depending on the living standards and the volunteer travel company you use.

 

 

Wildlife and tourism

 

There are over 50 million tourists who visit Africa to see the beautiful landscape and the wild animals. The most popular places visited are the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania, the azure waters in Mauritius, Cape Town in South Africa and the Maasai Mara in Kenya. In Africa there is the largest diversity of animals and plants. It the best continent to tour if you are looking at adventure tours.  The best time to come to Africa is between Julys to December but unfortunately it is the high season. Africa boasts the great wildebeest migration where they move from Kenya and go to Tanzania across the Mara. Africa is the host of the big five animals which are lions, buffalos, elephants, rhino and leopards. For bird lovers, there are ornithological tours which you get to see a great number of species and variety found in certain areas. There are a great number of beaches available to those who prefer lying on the coast.  The tour prices range between the travel agent you are using and the season in which you choose to travel.

 

 

African Culture

 

When you really want to visit and experience Africa then you should see the African culture. With over 1 billion people; 3000 tribes with the Bantu being the largest; 1000 languages, and 1000 folk religions.  Africa is said to be the cradle of mankind with most of the early man being found here. And with the oldest civilization being Egypt, there are many unique and beautiful cultures in Africa to see from sharing a meal in Morocco with a family and doing chores in an orphanage in South Africa. Most African cultures are welcoming and love seeing new people. There are many cultures and tribes which vary from each other across the continent. For example the Zulu are the largest tribe in South Africa; Luhya is the second largest tribe in Kenya. These two differ greatly not only in language but in how they do most of the things but they also share some common habits.