The MEXICO Report
By Susie Albin-Najera
You have one week off, maybe two if you’re lucky (and maybe a month if you’re European). You would like to vacation in Mexico because of its proximity, price and paradise-factor. However, in lieu of focusing on which destination in Mexico has the best beach, why not consider taking a volunteer vacation in Mexico?
This might sound crazy to some. Why would you want to spend you hard-earned vacation time not vacationing?
Some volunteer opportunities are referred to as work projects, medical missions, mission trips, educational visits or travel seminars. Incorporating a volunteer effort on your next trip to Mexico is fantastic option regardless if you are single or traveling with a family or a group. And there is a wide selection when it comes to options to complement your trip.
For example, you can choose from serving in many different areas such as: hospitality, biology, technology, healthcare, farming, botanics, education, economics, environment, media arts, sports and so on. To give you an idea, you can feed children, saddle horses, plant a tree, build a home, teach English, introduce computers, demonstrate best health practices, create a web page, scuba dive and learn about the environment. You can help preserve endangered sea turtles, assist local biologists researching jaguars and pumas in their local habitats, save coral reefs, work side by side with local doctors immersed in a small community or help feed animals at a working ranch.
These are the main reasons I recommend volunteering on your vacation:
- Obtain a better knowledge of the area and understanding of the local community and its needs
- See a destination through different eyes
- Make new friends and contacts in unlikely places
- Sway from your norm and do something different or new
- Embrace an experience that will change your life forever and for the better
- Personally rewarding and/or family bonding experience
- Inspire others to do the same good will
- Challenge of thinking outward, not inward
- Be welcomed with loving arms and open hearts
- Have a special story to share with friends
- Return home with new energy and a new outlook on life
Many organizations offer volunteer opportunities ranging from one week up to a year, and some options require fees for accommodations, food and supplies. The main thing is to do all of your research, decide which options work best for you, your family or group and then pre-arrange.
Meet Katherine Fisher, the face behind the newly formed volunteer vacation company, Destination: PEACE, headquartered at Sagrada Wellness Mexico in San Miguel de Allende. Sidenote: (Sisters Molly Mendez Fisher and Katherine Fisher came up with the concept of PEACE Volunteer Vacations.) Each of their five-day vacations combine volunteerism with activities such as yoga, cultural activities and adventure activities including fresh food creations using native plants, whale watching or even guiding baby turtles into their new world. Here are some resources to help you get started:
- PEACE (Mexico)
- Volunteer in Mexico
- GO! Overseas – Volunteer in Mexico (Teach, Study, Volunteer, Intern)
- Volunteer Opportunities in Mexico:
- Volunteer Abroad in Mexico
- AmeriSpan: Volunteer in Mexico
- United Planet
- Cadip Canada
- Projects Abroad
- A Child’s Hope Foundation
Also please visit The MEXICO Report’s list of non-profits doing amazing work in Mexico.
Whichever option you might choose, volunteering enriches your soul, makes our world a better place and you a better individual. And as Maya Angelou puts it, “We are at our greatest when we encourage and connect with another human being.”
Have a great trip!