Have you ever considered taking part in volunteer opportunities while traveling? More and more destinations are making it easy to get involved in local programs. Kelly Stilwell from Food, Fun & Faraway Places visited Montego Bay and found there were quite a few ways she could lend a hand while there. Read on to learn how you can get involved, too.
In the past few years, volunteer travel has skyrocketed. More and more people are interested in leaving a destination better than they found it, whether that involves rebuilding a coral reef or filling an extra backpack with supplies for a local school. At the Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall Resort in Montego Bay, Jamaica, they’ve taken volunteering to a whole new level. Guests of the resort can now visit a local school and volunteer in a number of ways, from working with the children to helping in the garden. This is just one example of how you can give back while traveling.
How Volunteer Opportunities Began at Granville 404
Curious as to how this program got started? I was, too, and it’s a wonderful story. An employee of Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall came to the General Manager asking for help to secure her daughter’s school as they’d had a problem with vandalism. After learning more about the school, the GM decided to see what else they might need.
The school was in desperate need of repairs and paint. After making sure the property was secured, the team at Hyatt Ziva and Hyatt Zilara got to work, taking Granville 404 under their wings. There was a huge field behind the school that was covered with weeds. Part of that field is now a garden filled with vegetables and fruits, and the rest is a soccer field.
Employees volunteer their time at the school, but the public has made a huge impact, too. On March 22, 2018, Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall hosted 11 NFL football players for a Fun & Fitness Day at the school with football and soccer drills, music lessons, as well as a pizza party. This was the first time they had held an event of this kind, and it was a great success. The Playa Corporate office, which owns the resorts, also made a donation allowing the students to receive new school supplies.
8 Volunteer Opportunities You Can Do
So how can you get involved? When planning your stay at the Hyatt Ziva or Hyatt Zilara, think about your gifts and talents. What activities are you most passionate about? There are truly countless ways you can volunteer. Here are 8 ways to get you thinking about how you might help. Most of these volunteer opportunities can be done in other destinations, too. Check with the hotel or destination’s tourism department and ask how you can get involved.
Read to the Students
Bring your favorite book and read to the students. Reading aloud helps students improve their vocabulary skills, comprehension, and overall literacy. Keep in mind that children listen at a higher level than they read, so be prepared with books a couple of grade levels up.
Help in the Classroom
Just having new faces in the classroom is exciting for the students. They can also always use new books. Perhaps you know of a local school that is getting new workbooks. Fill a box with the older workbooks and bring them to Granville 404.
Teach a Geography Class
You don’t need to be a certified teacher in order to share about where you live! The kids are so excited to meet people from other parts of the world. Bring a map and show them where you live in relation to the school. Show photos of what you eat in that region of the world. You might even check with your local visitor’s bureau to see if they have souvenirs you could give out. You could play a geography game and give the souvenirs to the winners.
Help in the Garden
This is a fun activity for the whole family! Get your hands dirty by pulling weeds or planting seeds. The produce from the garden is used at the school, and some is also given to the children to take home for their family to eat.
Teach a New Craft
For those who have volunteered in their kid’s classroom teaching a craft like sewing, knitting, or even LEGO robotics, these skills are perfect for teaching the students at Granville 404.
Lead a Sports Clinic
Many parents are coaches for their kid’s sports teams. Bring your skills to Granville 404 and help the kids learn a new sport or improve their soccer or football skills.
Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall actually has a Chocolatier on staff! Chef Wouter and his pastry team contribute to the Granville 404 program by creating chocolate on the property, which is then sold in the property’s gift shop. Chef Wouter has been featured in the Museum of Modern Art for his chocolate creations and heads up Sweet Bitez, the dessert shop right on property at Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall.
Fill a Backpack
Simply filling a backpack with necessities like socks, art supplies, pencils, and paper is a great way to volunteer. Check in with the team at Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall for more ideas. How exciting would it be to visit again the following year to see the impact you’ve made on the school?
Take a look at other ideas for a family volunteer vacation. Intrigued? Learn more about how to plan a vacation with a cause, and start exploring options for volunteer opportunities while you’re traveling, whether it’s abroad or closer to home.
Travelocity’s Travel for Good™ program aims to inspire travelers to give back in ways big and small throughout their journeys. To learn more about the program, get involved in a local community or start planning your next Travel for Good trip, please visit Travelocity.com/TravelForGood.
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