Volunteering Vacations

A trip will do you good. These trips can do good for others too.




Travel with an ulterior purpose doesn’t always work. Consider the sailor in the old song who joined the Navy to see the world. “And what did I see?” he sang plaintively. “I saw the sea.” Still, if glimpsing new places and helping others are both on your 2019 “to-do” list, you may be able to do both—perhaps even with the whole family. A growing number of “voluntourism” opportunities offer to take multigenerational travelers to exotic locations and give them altruistic ways to engage with local cultures and assist people—and animals—in need. Here are four tours worth exploring:

RESCUE ELEPHANTS IN KENYA

Take a digital detox and unplug to walk on the wild side in the heart of Africa. From safari to service project, every member of your clan will be awestruck and inspired during this once-in-a-lifetime trip organized by Elevate Destinations travel group. This off-the-grid holiday safari adventure boasts accommodations in secluded, family-friendly luxury lodges on the fringes of Nairobi National Park and an agenda packed with custom-designed activities for your family members’ needs and interests. Volunteer opportunities can include preparing and serving meals for children in need. Visit the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust orphan-elephant rescue and rehabilitation center to adopt one of these majestic—and arguably adorable—creatures. Then get close to the world’s tallest living terrestrial animals at the nearby Giraffe Center.

When your volunteer and educational excursions are over, explore the lively city of Nairobi, soak in the wonders of nature while exploring the endless plains of Laikipia and venture out into the bush on walking safaris guided by local Maasai warriors. Enjoy picnics set in the open wilderness, birdwatching, scenic sundown cocktail hours and night drives to spy on nocturnal creatures. The possibilities are as vast as the African landscape!

BUILD A SCHOOL IN MOROCCO

When your kids get back from this break, we bet they’ll ace their “What I did on my vacation” essays. Your Moroccan trip will be sure to earn them merit points if they’ve volunteered to help build a community classroom or library in a Berber village. The longest-established inhabitants of Morocco, the Berber people come from a feudal society that has proudly preserved its culture and traditions. In another tour organized by Hands Up Holiday, you’ll be working side by side with natives on this project—a true labor of love to educate local children and raise their standard of living.

During your free time, continue your quest for knowledge and adventure with private guided tours of magical Marrakesh and Fes, hikes on the Atlas Mountains, camel rides in the Sahara, kite surfing on the coast or a visit to the blue-washed walls of the city of Chefchaouen. Be sure to take the time to enjoy the famous Berber hospitality over a cup of mint tea.

PRESERVE BIRD LIFE IN NEW ZEALAND

This dreamy island nation has it all—mountains, beaches, geysers, lakes and wine country. It’s compact enough to explore in a couple of weeks but sufficiently diverse to keep you coming back for more. Taking an eco-centric luxury vacation to this bucket-list destination through the Hands Up Holiday tour company will be made even more memorable when you head out to the wops to help conserve habitats for native sea birds on the North Island or penguins on the South Island. But this tour isn’t all work and no play. If your brood is the adventure-seeking type, you can go sailing on the Bay of Islands, swim with dolphins, enjoy a private guided tour of geysers, explore hidden hot springs, take a helicopter flight for a bird’s-eye view of a live volcano and even heli-hike on a glacier!

FEED THOSE IN NEED IN GREECE

The chance to enjoy local fare is always an enticing travel lure; feeding your soul while doing so is priceless. And that’s just what you’ll gain through participating in International Volunteer HQ’s food outreach program in Chios, Greece. As part of your two-week experience, you and your family will not only enjoy Greek food, but help others in need do so too by providing daily meals to residents of nursing homes, public schools and special-needs care centers.

During the week, you’ll connect with local community members and savor the satisfaction of making and delivering food and smiles to local residents. On the weekend, you’ll explore Chios, the fifth largest island in Greece, where beautiful beaches, quaint medieval villages, breathtaking coastline views and historical sites abound. You can islandhop or take a day trip to nearby Turkey. If you want to stay longer or travel before or after the program, indulge your wanderlust further afield by visiting Athens and other great destinations throughout Greece to feast on the region’s rich history, culture and natural beauty.

“After my 12-year-old daughter read the book I Will Always Write Back, she asked my husband and me if she could forgo her bat mitzvah party, and instead go to Africa to do volunteer work with children. We decided this would be an experience we should have as a family and planned a trip to Kenya this past August through Elevate Destinations. The volunteering was our favorite part of the trip. The safari was amazing, but we wished we had planned more time for volunteer work.” —Toby Hirsch, Alpine

“There are ways to make doing good doable when traveling. Sprinkling in elements of service work with cultural immersions and fun activities allows multiple family members—from grandparents to young children—to work together while keeping everyone happy.” —Theresa Jackson, Mahwah resident and travel advisor for Enlightened Journeys Travel, Allendale

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September 2019

Join us for a celebration of over 10,000 wishes granted for children in New Jersey, while raising funds to support the wishes taking place this Fall! Help share the power of a wish by walking and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Liberty State Park
200 Morris Pesin Dr, Jersey City, NJ 07305
Jersey City, NJ  07305
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Telephone: 800-252-
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In the Spirit of the 2009 best seller "Girls Like Us" by Sheila Weller, Gerard and Diane Barros salute three of the groundbreaking women of the 60s and 70s pop who are the subject of this...

Cost: free

Where:
Mahwah Public Library
100 Ridge Road
Mahwah, NJ  07430
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Sponsor: Mahwah Public Library
Telephone: 201-529-7323
Contact Name: Denise Laude
Website »

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For details and registration on the 8 week sessions visit ywcannj.org/adult-fitness-classes.

Cost: $50 for annual membership

Where:
Ridgewood christian Reformed Church
271 Lincoln Ave
Ridgewood, NJ  07451
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Sponsor: YWCA bergen county
Telephone: 201-345-1912
Contact Name: Marge Distefano
Website »

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Come join us for one or more of our FREE guided walks through the convenient and picturesque Bergen County's Parks. A great opportunity to enjoy the outdoors, socialize and make new friends....

Cost: free

Where:
Pascack Brook County Park
Emerson Avenue Westwood
Westwood, NJ  07675
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Sponsor: YWCA bergen county
Telephone: 201-345-1912
Contact Name: Marge Distefano
Website »

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The Eighth Annual AIR Express Golf Outing Honors Dr. Lauren Koniaris, M.D. for her service to Hackensack University Medical Center. Golf Outing tickets are $550 each or $240 for dinner only...

Cost: tickets are $550 each or $240 for dinner only per person

Where:
Knickerbocker Country Club
188 Knickerbocker Road
Tenafly, NJ  07670
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Sponsor: Hackensack University Medical Center
Telephone: 888-996-2065
Contact Name: Barbara McGoey

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Join us for partially guided meditations every Monday afternoon from 1:10-1:45pm. Learn to mediate or expand your current practice. Come experience the benefits of meditation and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Ramapo College of New Jersey
505 Ramapo Valley Road
Mahwah, NJ  07430
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Sponsor: Krame Center
Telephone: 201-684-6855
Contact Name: Vijosa Hoxha
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"Say it ain't so, Joe!" It has been 100 years since eight members of the Chicago White Sox were accused of intentionally losing the 1919 World Series against the Cincinnati Reds...

Cost: free

Where:
Mahwah Public Library
100 Ridge Road
Mahwah, NJ  07430
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Sponsor: Mahwah Public Library
Telephone: 201-529-7323
Contact Name: Denise Laude
Website »

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Guest Speaker: Chris Germer 7-8:30 lecture and 6:30pm book signing Burgeoning research demonstrates that self-compassion is strongly associated with emotional wellbeing; reduced stress,...

Cost: $20

Where:
Ramapo College of New Jersey
505 Ramapo Valley Road
Mahwah, NJ  07430
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Sponsor: Krame Center for Mindful Living
Telephone: 201-684-6855
Contact Name: Vijosa Hoxha
Website »

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For details and registration on the 8 week sessions visit ywcannj.org/adult-fitness-classes.

Cost: $50 for annual membership

Where:
Ridgewood christian Reformed Church
271 Lincoln Ave
Ridgewood, NJ  07451
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Sponsor: YWCA bergen county
Telephone: 201-345-1912
Contact Name: Marge Distefano
Website »

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Come join us for one or more of our FREE guided walks through the convenient and picturesque Bergen County's Parks. A great opportunity to enjoy the outdoors, socialize and make new friends....

Cost: free

Where:
Pascack Brook County Park
Emerson Avenue Westwood
Westwood, NJ  07675
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Sponsor: YWCA bergen county
Telephone: 201-345-1912
Contact Name: Marge Distefano
Website »

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Four course Single Malt Scotch Dinner With Specialty Cocktail featuring the Single Malt Scotches from The Balvenie Tuesday, Spetember 24th 6:30pm $135 per person (Plus Tax & Gratuity)...

Cost: 135

Where:
The River Palm Terrace
1416 River Road
Edgewater, NJ  07020
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Sponsor: The River Palm Terrace
Telephone: 201-224-2013
Website »

More information

For details and registration on the 8 week sessions visit ywcannj.org/adult-fitness-classes.

Cost: $50 for annual membership

Where:
Ridgewood christian Reformed Church
271 Lincoln Ave
Ridgewood, NJ  07451
View map »


Sponsor: YWCA bergen county
Telephone: 201-345-1912
Contact Name: Marge Distefano
Website »

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Come join us for one or more of our FREE guided walks through the convenient and picturesque Bergen County's Parks. A great opportunity to enjoy the outdoors, socialize and make new friends....

Cost: free

Where:
Pascack Brook County Park
Emerson Avenue Westwood
Westwood, NJ  07675
View map »


Sponsor: YWCA bergen county
Telephone: 201-345-1912
Contact Name: Marge Distefano
Website »

More information

Join us for partially guided meditations on Wednesday evenings. Learn to mediate or expand your current practice. Come experience the benefits of meditation and practice in community....

Cost: Free

Where:
Ramapo College of New Jersey
505 Ramapo Valley Road
Mahwah, NJ  07430
View map »


Sponsor: Krame Center
Telephone: 201-684-6855
Contact Name: Vijosa Hoxha
Website »

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The Metropolitan is arguably the highlight of a trip to NYC. From a restored Roman villa to an Egyptian Temple to masterpieces by artists from ancient times to the present day, it is an...

Cost: free

Where:
Mahwah Public Library
100 Ridge Road
Mahwah, NJ  07430
View map »


Sponsor: Mahwah Public Library
Telephone: 201-529-7323
Contact Name: Denise Laude
Website »

More information

For details and registration on the 8 week sessions visit ywcannj.org/adult-fitness-classes.

Cost: $50 for annual membership

Where:
Ridgewood christian Reformed Church
271 Lincoln Ave
Ridgewood, NJ  07451
View map »


Sponsor: YWCA bergen county
Telephone: 201-345-1912
Contact Name: Marge Distefano
Website »

More information

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Come join us for one or more of our FREE guided walks through the convenient and picturesque Bergen County's Parks. A great opportunity to enjoy the outdoors, socialize and make new friends....

Cost: free

Where:
Pascack Brook County Park
Emerson Avenue Westwood
Westwood, NJ  07675
View map »


Sponsor: YWCA bergen county
Telephone: 201-345-1912
Contact Name: Marge Distefano
Website »

More information

Join Komen North Jersey for an afternoon of celebrating survivors, and networking with passionate business leaders and advocates in the fight against breast cancer. The afternoon includes lunch...

Cost: $125/individual

Where:
Mayfair Farms
481 Eagle Rock Avenue
West Orange, NJ  07052
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Sponsor: Susan G. Komen North Jersey
Telephone: 908-277-2904
Website »

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Join us for partially guided meditations every Monday afternoon from 1:10-1:45pm. Learn to mediate or expand your current practice. Come experience the benefits of meditation and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Ramapo College of New Jersey
505 Ramapo Valley Road
Mahwah, NJ  07430
View map »


Sponsor: Krame Center
Telephone: 201-684-6855
Contact Name: Vijosa Hoxha
Website »

More information

For details and registration on the 8 week sessions visit ywcannj.org/adult-fitness-classes.

Cost: $50 for annual membership

Where:
Ridgewood christian Reformed Church
271 Lincoln Ave
Ridgewood, NJ  07451
View map »


Sponsor: YWCA bergen county
Telephone: 201-345-1912
Contact Name: Marge Distefano
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Come join us for one or more of our FREE guided walks through the convenient and picturesque Bergen County's Parks. A great opportunity to enjoy the outdoors, socialize and make new friends....

Cost: free

Where:
Pascack Brook County Park
Emerson Avenue Westwood
Westwood, NJ  07675
View map »


Sponsor: YWCA bergen county
Telephone: 201-345-1912
Contact Name: Marge Distefano
Website »

More information

For details and registration on the 8 week sessions visit ywcannj.org/adult-fitness-classes.

Cost: $50 for annual membership

Where:
Ridgewood christian Reformed Church
271 Lincoln Ave
Ridgewood, NJ  07451
View map »


Sponsor: YWCA bergen county
Telephone: 201-345-1912
Contact Name: Marge Distefano
Website »

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Join Spectrum for Living’s Family 5K & Doggie Dash and run or walk in support of adults with intellectual & developmental disabilities. The event will be held on Saturday, September...

Cost: $30-$35

Where:
Overpeck Park
199 Challenger Rd
Ridgefield Park, NJ  07660
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Sponsor: Spectrum for Living
Telephone: 201-358-8081
Contact Name: Laura Stroud
Website »

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Live Music, German Food & Beer, Dance, Games, Competitions, and more. Fundraising in support of the Center For Food Action's Weekend Snack Pack Program. $15.00 at the Door $10.00 in...

Cost: $15 Door, $10 Advance

Where:
American Legion Hall
399 Broad Avenue
Leonia, NJ  07605
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Sponsor: Rotary Club of The Palisades
Website »

More information

For details and registration on the 8 week sessions visit ywcannj.org/adult-fitness-classes.

Cost: $50 for annual membership

Where:
Ridgewood christian Reformed Church
271 Lincoln Ave
Ridgewood, NJ  07451
View map »


Sponsor: YWCA bergen county
Telephone: 201-345-1912
Contact Name: Marge Distefano
Website »

More information

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