Thursday, April 28, 2011


New Service Adventures in Education, Childcare and Labor Available

A Season of New Beginnings in Romania and we want you to be a part of it all.

If your passion lies in serving at-risk youth, working with your hands, or if it's teaching that inspires you, we now have wonderful new opportunities for you to contribute in Romania. We have worked at the Tutova Children's Clinic since 1999 however in recent weeks, that Clinic has closed, and the children were relocated to new facilities. We now have the opportunity to help care for some of those same children at our new work sites, along with many more children needing your support. While we regret the Romanian government's decision to transform Tutova Hospital and Children's Clinic into a senior center, we were heartened by invitations from other child-focused community partners enabling us to serve the broader Barlad community.

One Door Closes...Others Open

Residents and staff of The Elena Farago Center in Barlad await Global Volunteers teams.

You'll be one of the first volunteers serving these new community partners. With that in mind, I'd like to ask you to do two things. First, please let me know which of the following volunteer options appeal to you the most. Second, because of the wide variety of new service opportunities, I ask that you invite others to join you on your service program as we establish our new relationships. Here's how you and your friends and companions can contribute:

First, Dr. Magdalena Cozma, director of Barlad's St. Nicholas Children's Hospital , has invited Global Volunteers to continue our work with at-risk children at her hospital. This is essentially the same work assignment as at Tutova -- holding, feeding and entertaining babies who need care. (As is so often the case, "when one door closes another one opens,"and some of the babies and toddlers on the other side of that door are from Tutova -- still counting on your love.) The children don't care that the door is different, just that you come through it!

Year-round service opportunities at George Tutoveanu School in Barlad. Volunteers are needed to teach conversational English to primary and middle school students during the school year and to middle and senior high students at English language summer camps. The focus is on conversation - visiting about everyday subjects and real-life situations so the students can increase their vocabulary and practice English language skills. While you'll teach in the classrooms, during the summer camps students also enjoy taking volunteers out to show them highlights of their city, such as museums, live theater, zoo, and public garden -- providing additional opportunities to interact while speaking English. This is a great new opportunity for your companions who may not be interested in caregiving assignments.

Third, if you enjoy working with your hands - repairing, painting and renovating buildings -- you're needed to help improve apartments at the Elena Farago Center. This is a rewarding opportunity to work alongside some of the residents and the local carpenters and handymen to make these homes more livable. What's more, we hope to establish a community garden project as our new partnerships progress so students and young adults can join the worldwide movement to understand and practice better nutrition choices.

You can also offer psychosocial support to teens and young adults for all our part of your volunteer assignment. The Elena Farago Center in Barlad cares for some 40 teens and young adults from age 12 to mid-20s. (Photo on top) Most of the residents are orphans, abused children, or from families too poor to care for them. About 10 percent have mental disabilities, and 20 percent are HIV positive or have AIDS, mostly contracted from blood transfusions. The residents live together in apartments, three to five per unit, with guidance from local staff. This is a great opportunity to help young boys and girls who are preparing for a productive and independent life. Initially, volunteers will befriend the residents by working with them on arts and craft projects, teaching how to cook nutritious meals, helping with homework, communicating in English, playing sports and more. We'll also tutor teens and young adults in conversational English at the Elena Farago Center, although teaching English will not be a full-time assignment at this facility.

Finally, if you have experience or interest in assisting children with autism and/or Down syndrome, you can serve at Barlad Center for Children with Disabilities. This is a multi-unit complex that cares for children with mental disabilities as well as those who are blind and deaf. This project can be a full-time or secondary project, splitting your work on one of the above primary projects.

We're very encouraged by these new service partnerships with local Romanian agencies and the expanded opportunities to engage volunteers in serving Romanian children. Your contribution now is more important than ever. Please allow me to answer your questions and fill you in with additional details on your upcoming service program. Again, we'd greatly appreciate you referring your friends and family members to serve with you or on other 2011 Romania service programs. Everyone makes a significant difference in this time of new beginnings on our Romania service program!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Global Volunteers Highlighted on Village Blog

Imagine our surprise and excitement when we learned that a team of Global Volunteers was being highlighted on Hodmezovasarhely's community blog! We want to extend our deep gratitude to the community for their recognition and support, and we encourage you all to visit their blog to learn about our current volunteer team and the village.

Read on, and become inspired! You can still join us in Hungary in 2011 in September or October!!

Click here to access 'Hodmezovasarhely Direct Connection':

Friday, April 1, 2011

Humanitarian Airfare Opportunity

If you're seeking great deals on airfare for a service program later this year or in 2012, check out Fly For Good where you can receive excellent discounts when you travel as a volunteer. Simply contact your Volunteer Coordinator today to learn more about this excellent opportunity (you will need to get an official letter from Global Volunteers to qualify for certain deals)!!

Fly For Good website:

We look forward to speaking with you soon!

Call toll free (800) 487-1074.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Global Volunteers Featured in AARP Bulletin!!

Global Volunteers is excited and honored to be featured in the most recent edition of the AARP Bulletin!!

In the article "Boomers Mean Business," Global Volunteers is featured as an organization that allows boomers to "Do Good" in this world. Please read an excerpt of the piece below, or use the following link to read the whole article:

As featured in AARP Bulletin:


In 1979, Michele Gran and Bud Philbrook, imbued with youthful idealism, spent part of their honeymoon in a mountain village in Guatemala, writing grant proposals for development projects.

Enthusiastic response to a newspaper story about their experience led them to found Global Volunteers in 1984, a nonprofit that sponsors two- to three-week volunteer vacations in Europe, South America, Asia and Africa. Volunteers care for children or work on long-term building projects. Today, boomers make up about 30 percent of their participants.

"When boomers started to turn 55, we started to see a significant uptick in interest in our trips," says Philbrook, 64. "They want to give something back, add meaning to their lives."

Peace Corps volunteers 60 and older have more than doubled in the past three years. And the foundation started by Microsoft's Bill Gates, 55, and his wife, Melinda, 46, has given more than $24 billion to U.S. and international causes.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Magic of English

Milt Diehl is Global Volunteers' American team leader for Hungary service programs. He recently reflected on the "magic" that happens in English language classrooms when volunteers and students work together.

Frequently on a service program, volunteers will come to me and report: “my schedule keeps getting changed all the time. They keep adding classes and the teachers are inviting me back to the same class many times because the students have asked for me to come back.”

Volunteers offer the students, who range in age from 10 years old to in their 60's and 70's, the opportunity to expand their personal development in a positive and beneficial way. Frequently adult students come to the free English language classes because they need to improve their language skills because of their work and are looking for a promotion (in their jobs) as they demonstrate increased English language proficiency.

The learning in a community is like casting a pebble into a pond. The “small rings of gentle waves” extend further into a community than one might first realize. It is not just what is taught in two weeks that is important but it is the impact of a continuous series of teams of volunteers who keep returning to a community and working with the residents. For those team leaders and volunteers who return to the same site many times it is possible for them to witness the progress over a period of time. Frequently the “local teachers of English” have already provided the students with the ability to communicate in English, but the student does not realize how much they have learned until they communicate with a native English speaking person for the first time and realize that yes, they understand what they are hearing, and the native English speaking person is understanding what I am saying. The confidence and motivation that students experience continues for a long period after the volunteers have returned to their homes.

Not only do the Hungarian teachers want the volunteers to come to their classes, but frequently the students request the volunteers for their classrooms. At some schools, it's common for students to approach the volunteers and invite them to come to their classes. On one occasion, a student specifically obtained approval of a local teacher, who the volunteer knew, and then the student's mother herself likewise contacted the volunteer with class times and days. This is an example of how students, teachers and parents interact with the volunteers and want their children to interact with “native English speakers.”

As important as teaching English is to the students, there is something that's even more important. The service programs provide the volunteers and residents of the host community an opportunity to live together, work together, share information about each others cultures, families, and realize very quickly that even though we live in different locations on planet earth we as people are so much more alike than we are different. There are strong bonds that are established in such a short time that seamlessly crosses over age, gender, and culture which will last for years. People realize that they have so much in common that mutual confidence, trust, and respect for each other that relationships last for years.

In some communities, the volunteers are the first native English speakers to whom the Hungarian teachers of English have ever talked to. Frequently the local English teachers are reluctant at first to talk because they are afraid to make a mistake. Very quickly they realize we can communicate and that is when the real fun and learning starts. By the volunteers teaching the Hungarian teachers, the new information and knowledge is passed on to the students for years after these volunteers have departed for home. It's magic.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A Volunteer Reflects on her 2007 Experience!!

Written by Linda Smith Balla

I was a volunteer in 2007 in Hodmezovasharhely, Hungary, teaching English after school to any citizen who was interested. It was an invaluable experience.

I had no idea what to expect! Luckily, I was placed on a team with two musicians, and we were able to teach English through song lyrics. Our class was very popular, and our students even gave a little performance at the end of our two-week stay.

I found that our students - from age 16 to 58 - were so eager to learn. They equated learning English with a better life and better opportunities. I would love to know if it worked out that way for some of them. But the spreading of good will throughout the town could not have been a bad thing. We Americans were easily identified, and people in the streets were more than happy to help with directions, shopping, language - some even invited us to their homes. We ate the local cuisine whenever possible, and tried to absorb some of the local customs.

The one which stands out in my mind is the custom of having a family picnic on the graves of relatives on Halloween. What better way to celebrate life than to rejoice together as a family! The graves were decorated with candles and wreaths, and at night the cemetary was just so moving. Family devotion is a powerful thing and transcends all language barriers. To be a witness to that beautiful custom made my whole trip worthwhile.

I am grateful to Global Volunteers and to our team leader, Milt Diehl, for making this experience possible for me. I strongly encourage anyone with a few weeks to spare to dive in and make a memory of a lifetime.


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

"Spring into Service" in Hungary!!

“Spring into Service” with Global Volunteers to receive a special limited discount offer for our March and April teams!

Four or more volunteers who apply by January 31 for any of these 28 teams in 16 countries will receive a discount of $200 off our standard service program fee, per volunteer, for one-, two- or three-week international programs or $100 off our standard service program fee, per volunteer, for USA programs. No other discounts apply.

Please encourage others to volunteer in our five fundamental project areas: education (especially promotion of girls education), labor and community infrastructure, health care, child care, and food and nutrition.

Call us at 800-487-1074 for details and we'll assist you every step of the way. Our worldwide host communities can’t wait to welcome you!!

Check out this link for more details & service program dates:

Hungary Service Program Dates, March & April Teams:
19-Mar-11 to 2-Apr-11
2-Apr-11 to 16-Apr-11