By John Lynds
Imagine traveling to Costa Rica and helping conservationists keep an eye on an endangered sea turtle population. How about traveling to Nepal and volunteering in a school?What if you had the opportunity to go to Ghana and help hospital staff improve access to health care?
These are just some of the volunteer opportunities United Planet offers its clients through its cross continent partnership with 25 different countries.
United Planet just relocated to the Boston Shipyard and Marina on Marginal Street after spending the past 15 years anchored in the Back Bay.
United Planet is a non-profit organization with a mission to create a global community, one relationship at a time.
“We connect volunteers who want to make a difference with communities in more than 25 countries, where they learn, teach, work, engage and immerse themselves in a culture outside their comfort zone,” said United Planet’s International Programs Manager Kelly Haugh. “For many, it’s the most fulfilling experience of their lives.”
Trips abroad or ‘Quests’ as United Planet calls them are designed to be immersive, authentic, comprehensive, and provide volunteers with everything they’ll need to succeed. “The program elements include your volunteer project and everything from cultural activities to language lessons so you can fully engage with the culture, forge strong relationships, and challenge yourself,” said Haugh. “Most importantly we partner with the local community to ensure your experience will be important, relevant, and helpful to the community you serve.”
Quests can be short-term (1-12 weeks) or long-term (six months to a year) and volunteers work in one of three fields of their choosing.
“When people want to sign up we talk to them about what they want to do or hope to accomplish,” said Haugh. “We work in three different programs and they are environmental sustainability, education and children and global health.”
United Planet also offer internship opportunities abroad, in addition to its short-term and long-term quests.
On United Planets move to Eastie Haugh, who recently moved to Eastie herself, said its been great.
“It’s one of those neighborhoods that just so diverse and vibrant,” she said.
So it makes sense that a non-profit that promotes global and cultural awareness would plant its flag here in one of Boston’s most diverse neighborhoods.