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Volunteer Abroad And Be Proactive

on Aug 24, 2019 10:36:20 AM By | Randy LeGrant | 0 Comments | Reasons To Volunteer Abroad Guilford Randy LeGrant
Two years ago this weekend I was packing for a 12-day trip throughout Asia.  I had just gone to the Guilford Fair Parade with my children.  So here we were again, sitting along the street with friends to watch a parade of history that identifies Guilford to this very day.  Guilford is an agricultural community and a seaport fishing town full of rich history going back to it's roots in 1639. And it is also back to school...some of the floats in the parade are from the different schools in the area, celebrating Guilford's strong commitment to education.  The nights are considerably cooler, needing a cotton jumper to keep the evening chill away.  And we are watching the Red Sox baseball team.  We are one game of clinching a playoff spot.  Around here October is actually Soxtober. Our staff has returned from all of their summer assignments...most looking for more!  Staff in our Paris office ventured to South America and found time to hike all around Machu Picchu.  Our staff in Bangkok spent time in Malaysia and then ventured to Cape Town to view new projects we will announce soon there and in Soweto. Our staff in Boston headed for Madrid, Santander (northern Spain) and then Istanbul.  The result of the trip to Istanbul is an amazing Language Partner program where we will even provide round trip airfare for anyone headed to Istanbul to teach conversational English for 1, 2 or 3 months. For me, I took to the back streets of Paris and then London.  I met with our partners from France and Germany in the Jardin du Luxembourg for a light meal and discussions on how we can make the conversational English programs in both countries even stronger.  The result?  The price for our programs in France and Spain went from $1795 to $1295. It was a great summer season of travel with remarkable results that benefits our incredibly giving volunteers.  If we can provide airfare on some programs, if we can lower fees by $500 then staff travel is for the right reasons.  Those decisions mean we can provide more help abroad to those families and communities most in need of GeoVisions' services. Kevin, Jim, Ray, Rebecca and I have just completed five days in New York City where we had 72 meetings with global agencies looking for our help to sustain their efforts in their own communities.  We are exhausted but be sure to keep checking our website to find even more meaningful projects that will take us to the end of 2008 and help usher in 2009. I am reminded of a quote I read somewhere recently that goes, "The more proactive you are, the less reactive you'll need to be!"  That sums up the volunteers from GeoVisions.  Being proactive enough to go abroad and make a difference in lives and make a sustainable difference in communities means our volunteers believe that being proactive solves problems now, provides sustainable tools and resources to people and communities, and leaves far less with which to be reactive.  Remember, Lucretius tells us, "Drops of rain make a hole in the stone not by violence, but by oft falling." The above photo is one of the bands in the Guilford Parade.  I couldn't resist adding it.  Enjoy. Randy LeGrant Executive Director
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The First Five Things I Wish I Knew When I Decided To Travel Abroad

on Feb 11, 2013 11:06:00 AM By | Randy LeGrant | 0 Comments | The Well Prepared Traveler Make Something Happen Randy LeGrant
I took my first trip abroad in 1976. As an American, that was our Bicentennial year and so my passport was in celebration of that fact. I still have it.
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Ever Heard Of Voluntourism? Stick A Thousand Needles In My Eye

on Jul 2, 2010 10:34:00 AM By | Randy LeGrant | 14 Comments | Staying Involved Volunteering Abroad Randy LeGrant
Where can I go to volunteer abroad? Who offers voluntourism programs? What projects are available? What will it cost? Are there any pitfalls?
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Volunteer Abroad: An Exchange of Ideas and People

Shaw once wrote, "If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange these apples then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas." There are more organizations offering Voluntourism this year than last.  And more colleges and universities are providing their own volunteer experiences too.  That's always a good thing.  When I travel, I do my best to visit other organizations offering volunteer abroad or teach abroad programs.  And when I'm really stumped about what to do, how to respond to a crisis, I have found some them to be the best people to talk with about the problem. The problem I have is with people wanting to exchange an apple with me rather than an idea.  I only really need one apple a day "to keep the doctor away" but I really need a lot of ideas. If you type "exchanging ideas" in the little Google search bar on your Internet browser, two things come to mind.  1) You have a lot of time on your hands and 2) 5,440,000 results.  People are exchanging ideas on software features, hearing loss, medicine, art, and I even noticed someone called exchanging ideas a "circulation of knowledge."  If you type in "exchanging apples" a) you REALLY have too much time on your hands and b) most of the entries are either math related for grade school children or you'd better have an Apple computer.  But I guess, therein lies the point of Shaw's quote. If, when we experience the miracle of spending time together we exchange computers or we learn that if Dick has one apple and Jane has one apple and after they trade apples, how many apples do Dick and Jane have?...we really don't walk away with much.  Unless I give you my old Mac Classic and you give me a new iMac.  But I doubt Shaw had any of that in mind. In 1961, President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps with three simple goals: Help the people of interested countries meet their need for trained men and women. Help promote a better understanding of Americans on the part of the peoples served. Help promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of Americans. In 1914,  A. Piatt Andrew organized the American Field Service (AFS) whose mission was to transport wounded French soldiers.  By 1917, AFS had grown to 2,500 volunteers who had carried more than 500,000 wounded to hospitals.  127 AFS volunteers would lose their lives. I have doubts that President Kennedy or Mr. Andrew were very keen on exchanging apples of any kind.  They exchanged ideas with others and you can see, here, only a couple of results.  They also believed in exchanging people, who could exchange THEIR ideas.  From there, the exchange never ends. We continue to get testimonials from our volunteers who are exchanging ideas, in many cases exchanging sweat and tears, and whose lives and hearts have been changed forever and have changed the hearts and minds of their host communities forever.  It typifies what President Kennedy and Mr. Andrew knew would happen.  We are proud that you are a part of that. I started this post with a quote.  I suppose I should end with one.  How 'bout Emerson.  "It is one of the most beautiful compensations in life...we can never help another without helping ourselves."
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Volunteer Abroad-We Have A Lot To Live Up To

on Oct 22, 2009 2:58:00 PM By | Randy LeGrant | 0 Comments | Reasons To Volunteer Abroad Guilford Randy LeGrant
It is just stunning here in Guilford, CT today.  It's hard to be inside working.  All of us here know we're coming to the long winter slog and so when we are afforded days like today…bright sun, 70 degrees and bright fall leaves…we want to be outside as much as possible. Coming back from lunch I walked on the town Green.  Guilford is the 7th oldest town in Connecticut, founded in 1639.  We have two harbors and two tidal rivers.  The granite quarries here supplied stone for the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor, just a few miles from here.  My daughter, Molly, attends Abraham Baldwin Middle School.  Baldwin is a signer of the U.S. Constitution. Our soldiers have fallen from Antietam, Port Royal, Fredericksburg, and Gettysburg defending the Union all the way to the recent conflict in Iraq.  We have a history of volunteering that started back in the 1600s. It is beautiful here and I just thought I'd put up a post about where we call home, where your applications end up and where the staff of GeoVisions works.  And when you call…you'll have an idea of where we are. Thank you for your trust in GeoVisions.  We love living and working in Guilford and being involved in such a rich history.  We take it seriously and we think it shows when you talk to us.  We have a lot to live up to…and we try our best everyday.
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