Active + Adventure

Adventures That Give Back

by Jen Swetzoff

Going where you're most needed

The thrill: If you want to plan your exact itinerary months before you take off, trips with All Hands probably aren't for you. But if you love spontaneity, want to lend a hand, and can leave at the drop of a hat (or crisis), this could be the chance of a lifetime. All Hands uses volunteers near and far to assist devastated communities after a natural disaster strikes and the search-and-rescue phase ends, with locations changing frequently depending on need. As one volunteer said, "You wake up in the morning and you never know what's going to happen that day. There's always going to be a story to tell by the end."

The goodwill: This trip isn't hammering some nails and then going off to play. The work is hard, and volunteers are at it six days a week, seven hours a day, in an environment that's pretty rough and possibly even insecure. The accommodations are also basic (usually a neighborhood home). But the results are tangible. Participants in past projects have rebuilt houses in the Catskills after Hurricane Irene and constructed schools in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake. Volunteers in Japan also cleared irrigation ditches to provide clean water and reestablished community parks after the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami. There is no fee for these trips, though donations are appreciated, since it costs All Hands $15 per day to provide shelter and food for volunteers. A small price to pay for making a difference.

All Hands
volunteers@hands.org
No fees to participate

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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