GIVE Volunteers

GIVE Volunteers

About

GIVE is an established leader in sustainable volunteer and responsible adventure travel offering meaningful trips in the USA, Nicaragua, Tanzania, Thailand, and Laos. We are dedicated to inspiring growth, empowering global citizens, and igniting sustainable change worldwide. GIVE has adopted the Asset-based community development (ABCD) model which is a set of proven best practices in sustainable development that mobilizes a community's own assets and resources as the basis for development. Join us in exploring incredible and remote corners of the globe while uplifting host communities and changing your life. Live your passion by volunteering abroad and embarking on adventure; or take our Wilderness & International Leadership Development (WILD) Program to turn your passion into a profession.

Reviews

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Jacob
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

GIVE - Hawaii Forest Conservation & Responsible Tourism Excursion

To begin, I want to thank Traven and Mana for welcoming me to Hawaii, and inspiring me more than one realizes. I want to thank Dylan for his energy, smile, and excitement for each new day. This trip was beyond incredible, and a wonderful start to 2022. If you want a change, a new perspective, or refresh this trip is definitely for you. This was my first time traveling by myself, and I think the Hawaii experience is a perfect start for those wanting to get into international traveling. Also, I have to thank Brandon and Thomas for connecting me with Give, and giving me the opportunity to take on this incredible adventure. My thoughts on traveling really did change, and how I want to travel in the future. I want to continue emphasizing the give and take relationship. Just go, be open-minded, learn, and have fun. Thank you everyone once again, and I am ready for the next adventure :)

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Nathaniel
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Hawaii Experience

Volunteering in Hawaii was transformative and educational in all aspects. I knew little about Hawaii's culture and its way of life before taking on this experience. Aside from the stereotypes and levels of tourism it has, there was an abundance of learning I was able to gain during my time in Hawaii. It was amazing to learn about the diversity of the agriculture Hawaii has alongside the people who are beyond passionate about the conservation and sustainability of the island. This was an incredible experience shared with amazing individuals who I went from calling strangers to family.

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
On the last day in Hawaii, we went to see manta rays at night and it was one of the most fascinating and mesmerizing things I have ever witnessed. During our session with them, our guide provided deep information and insightful jokes about the manta rays. From how they reproduce, feed, and their importance to the ocean. It was an experience I will never forget.
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Nathaniel
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Nicaragua Experience

This experience touched my heart, mind, and soul in various ways. To have the opportunity to work with the community and be immersed in Nicaragua's culture was life-changing. I was fortunate enough to be granted a scholarship to embark on this experience and it changed my perspective of how much of a difference you can make in a short amount of time. The two incredible and amazing guides that worked with me and the other volunteers made it a much more incredible experience. With having three meals provided daily to visiting active volcanos and teaching English to some of the local students, words cannot describe how impactful this experience was. I never would have thought to become so close to the people of the community and those I volunteered with.

What was your funniest moment?
My funniest moment was dancing the night away with my group!
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Serena
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Tanzania

If you have the opportunity to go to Tanzania, East Africa, go. This trip for me was absolutely life changing, and exactly what one needs. I was able to learn and expand my knowledge about being a global citizen, traveling with purpose, volunteering, culture, and all while having fun. You are going to meet so many amazing and wize people, so become a sponge and soak up all the experiences and life long lessons you'll learn. Ask questions to the locals and learn about their lives and culture. For example, hearing the locals stories, or how they got involved in GIVE, was inspiring. Not only do you have so much fun while volunteering, you're making a huge impact in their community. The kairo give school, gives the opportunity to everyone to gain an education and learn english. Everyday involved multiple highlights, but there were some that were both outstanding and inspiring. For example, the moment I got there the volunteers were welcomed with open arms by the locals and GIVE workers into their family, life, and culture. That is something I raley witness in my life, and it made the whole trip more memorable.To be constantly surrounded by so much happiness and love and ambition was definitely one of the best highlights. Also, to be immersed into their culture and traditions. After leaving, I created life long friendships with some of the volunteers and locals. Being in such a beautiful place, surrounded by beautiful people inside and out, and making a huge impact on their lives is something you can not pass up.

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
I did not know what to expect with our meals, but the last thing I expected to be eating was goat.
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Ashley
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Nicaragua GIVE Trip December 2021

This trip was a life-changing and unforgettable experience. As soon as I landed in Nicaragua and meet with the guides, I instantly felt like I was at home. Everyday was filled with adventure. From teaching the local kids, to doing cultural activities, to playing card games until midnight, every bit was the time of my life. The local communities are also so welcoming and the nicest people. I would 1000% recommend going on this trip, or any trip with GIVE. I have grown so much as a person, made the best of new friends, and my life has been put into perspective.

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
Sanboarding down Cerro Negro! This was nerve-racking to me as I was scared that I would tumble down the volcano and get hurt (because I am very clumsy :) ). After watching the other volunteers go down, I told myself that everything would be fine and if they could do it, I could too. I also had wonderful encouragement from other volunteers that were still waiting to go down. We were all nervous, so it was comforting that I wasn't alone. Once I was at the bottom of the volcano, I had a blast sand boarding and would definitely do it again!

Programs

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Alumni Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with verified alumni.

Why did you choose this program?

I chose this program because it is more than just travel. It combines the meaningful ability to volunteer with the wondrous adventures awaiting in these countries to provide an incredible adventure that excites the soul and the mind. I wanted to volunteer and learn about different cultures. I wanted to do something I've never done before in a new place. I got all of that with GIVE.

What did your program provider assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

I didn't have to do anything completely on my own. They helped me with fundraising ideas, connected me to a flight booking center, sent me all the information for travel documents I would need, sent a packing list, and contacted me with reminders to keep me on track to be able to go. The only thing I had to do was go see my doctor for any shots or medications.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

Don't plan everything. Traveling is supposed to be an adventure, complete with highs and lows. If something goes wrong, don't put but; accept the situation as an experience to learn. With that said, nothing really goes wrong. When things are incredible, take the time to appreciate it in person rather than having your phone out the entire time. Go with the flow and when packing, take out a third before leaving.

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

Wake up and have breakfast. Go volunteer. Eat lunch. Volunteer. Free time to fill with various activities depending on location. Dinner and discussion on various topics. Free time before bed. Volunteer days follow this pattern. Adventure days are either scattered throughout the week or at the end and vary depending on location and adventure.

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

I have traveled enough, especially with GIVE, that I have no fears. I know that anything unexpected that may occur will be dealt with by my guides and I enjoy the thrill of not knowing 100% what is coming next. I am always eager to learn about the culture I am in, and what I've learned has definitely changed my perspective on various international issues. The hardest part is the reverse culture shock; that is the shock of coming back to the US and dealing with our culture.

How accommodating is GIVE to different personal preferences? (i.e. food, allergies, medications, etc.)

GIVE will ask you if you have any dietary restrictions or medications when you sign up for a trip, and offer a space to add any other concerns you have about personal preferences. I am a vegetarian and always had something to eat. My friends with allergies always felt safe since the guides have medical kits at all times.

Staff Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with program leaders.

Amber Parucha

Job Title
Lead Guide - Nepal
Amber Parucha is a Lead Guide and Volunteer Fulfillment Specialist for Growth International Volunteer Excursions (GIVE). She has led groups in both Thailand and Nepal. She studied Biology/Psychology with a minor in Leadership and Civic Engagemnt at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
Amber Parucha

What is your favorite travel memory?

There was a time in my life when I wanted to see the world and thought I only had a short amount of time to see it all. I was more concerned about how many stamps I collected in my passport rather than the quality of the time I spent in each place. It was not until I had my first experience in SE Asia with GIVE that I realized I had been doing it all wrong.

We spent 2 weeks living and working within the region, Muang Khong. This experience lifted the superficial veil of travel and allowed me to become part of a community rather than a tourist passing through. We shared meals with the locals, learned from them, and became completely encompassed by the culture. By the end of this experience, we felt like we were part of the family.

I'll never forget trekking through the jungle following in the footsteps of a mahout named Eddy. We spent 2 hours tracking semi-wild elephants. As we passed through lush vegetation, Eddy was telling me about his family, his experiences growing up in the jungle and the special connection he shares with his elephant. Reminiscing on standing face to face with my favorite animal and I still remember my conversation with Eddy above it all. Memories are deeply encoded when you share an emotional connection with that place or the people within it. That is what GIVE provides when you travel, a connection to yourself, others, and this planet, unlike anything you have ever felt before.

How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

Before joining GIVE, I had never truly made the connection that my actions could have an impact. I cared about social issues but lacked guidance and direction. GIVE mobilized that deeper desire within me to be a part of something that was bigger than myself.

I've learned that small choices lead to larger lifestyle changes and one of the best ways to make others more cognizant of their actions is to lead by example. I'm thankful to work for a company that builds up its employees and genuinely cares about the legacy they are leaving behind.

What is the best story you've heard from a return student?

Many of our volunteers return home with an ignited sense of passion and eagerness to spread their knowledge to others. I am always so proud to see folks use social media as a platform for advocacy and environmental stewardship after going on a GIVE trip. The best stories always stem from eco-experience. Those that plant a seed of compassion in the country and nurture it through education and expanding perspective once they return home.

If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?

Of course I would recommend our Thailand and Laos program for anyone who is looking to experience the magic of SE Asia. Not only are these places beautiful to visit but GIVE also shines a light on the colorful cultures and people that call these places home. The programs are jam-packed full of adventure activities for those looking to push their comfort zones. I'm a thrill seeker myself so bungee jumping, zip-lining through the jungle, and chartering a bamboo raft down the mighty Mae Tang river are right up my alley.

If a month in SE Asia is not enough, which of course it's not... We also now offer a separate elephant immersion program that includes 8 days of observing, caring for, and most importantly serving as advocates for a rapidly declining keystone species. Talk about a fricken epic travel memory...

What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?

GIVE practices a specific form of development that is centered around evaluating the strengths and assets within a community rather than focusing on what they are lacking or in "need" of. We do not compromise our values and treat these communities with the respect and dignity they deserve.

Our projects are built upon the ideas of great leaders within these communities and GIVE is the catalyst to make these dreams become reality. I am proud to be part of a team that views sustainable development as a way to invest in people. By practicing responsible tourism, we are not only voting with our dollar to support local initiatives but also gaining perspective and preserving the sacred entity of culture within.

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

I believe the biggest factor for success in our company is to constantly analyze our impact and "walk the walk". How can we meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs? It's all about finding a better way to do things and that is the ripple we hope to spread throughout the world.