Posts Tagged ‘make a difference’

Make a Difference Day – Here’s What You’re Up to Tomorrow

Got plans this weekend? Add something more. Tomorrow, Saturday, October 24, is Make a Difference Day. Million of folks just like us are committing part of their Saturday to improving the lives of others through volunteering. This particular day of service has been going on for 24 years, and it is the single largest national day dedicated to volunteering.

So here is why you can jump in without having a ton of advance planning, research, or particular skills. The Make a Difference Day website aligns you with you passion and/or your place. Just enter your zip code and find projects all around you that are asking for your help. You can check out all the projects that are geographically convenient for you, and refine your search based on the kind of project that inspires you most. Are you looking to add a little sweat equity to an organization focused on disaster relief? Homelessness? Animal rescue? Education? Veteran’s issues? You decide. It is the drum I always beat–there is a perfect fit volunteering gig out there waiting for you, you just may not know it yet. Use this weekend for discovery! For every social good passion there is a project, probably TONS of projects, needing your exact skills, and/or willingness to learn, at the exact time you have to offer. Your biggest hurdle is just showing up.

So this weekend (there are highlight events both Saturday and Sunday across the nation), between the other things you’ve got on the docket, give some time to the world around you. There’s a whole category of activities appropriate to families and kids if that’s your situation. Make a Difference Day is every day, of course, but show up this weekend in particular. It’s a movement you want a piece of, and you want others to see how easy it was for you to act upon your inspiration.

Participatory Travel in Cairo’s “Garbage City”

Photo: Backpacker Concierge

One of the attitudinal roadblocks many people face when deciding whether to participate in a volunteer vacation stems from the same concerns that govern most travel decisions–will I have the time? Will I have the money? There are some who assume it is all upper-class yuppies with arch politically correctness, CEO-level accrued vacation, and money to burn. There are, of course, as many styles and types of service travel trip as there are inspired travelers. Here is a new (or new to me) trip for backpackers, from Backpacker Concierge (an organization dedicated to off-the-beaten-path, responsible tourism to the Middle East), to Cairo’s “Garbage City.” One of the company’s “Eco-Initiatives” (others include a social exchange tourism program in Amman, Jordan and a Cairo program focused on empowering oppressed women and children), the Zebaleen trip is designed to raise awareness of the local residents of Menshiyet Nasr, (Garbage City), who collect, sort, reuse, and resell waste in the big city’s dumping grounds. In addition to interacting with the residents and learning about this predominately Coptic Christian enclave—its monasteries, its churches, and its garbage—you will learn about the controversies surrounding it, and how discarded items are recycled to produce new products. For every 24 travelers, Backpacker Concierge will install a bio-gas digester in the community, bringing energy to local families. It’s a great way to open your eyes and leave a positive impact from your visit.