The Newest Thing: LGBT Volunteer Vacations
By Jorge Rodriguez-Jimenez
A philanthropic organization called Global Volunteers announced a new program: International LGBT Volunteer Vacations. This is the first volunteer vacation program that specifically targets LGBT travelers, according to The New York Times. The objective is to engage LGBT people in meaningful short-term exchanges with local partners worldwide, according to Global Volunteers.
The program focuses on connecting LGBT people globally through service and educational exchanges to encourage culture and mutual respect. Participants teach locals English, renovate buildings, clear trails, and provide recreational opportunities for youth and senior citizens. The program also aims to educate volunteers on the issues of local LGBT people and organizations.
“The program is the same [as with the group's other vacations], but with free time I’ll do things like set up chats with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender groups or activists, if they exist locally,” Linda Schlapp, the director of LGBT Programs and Development, told the Times. “But an equally important part is for volunteers to be openly out, to be able to say, ‘this is who we are, and we’ve come to help.’”
The organization sets up the trips in advance and works to ensure a safe environment — all the destinations know that the group is an LGBT group and then the community agrees to it. Trips have alaready been scheduled for Peru, Sept. 20 to 27; Ecuador, Nov. 22 to 29; Costa Rica, April 18 to 25, 2015; and Greece, Aug. 1 to 8, 2015. Check out the full schedule here.