GIVE is an organization that stands for ‘Growth International Volunteer Excursions’ that travels to Nicaragua, Tanzania, Thailand and Laos with hundreds of student volunteers ready to give these countries a helping hand. They go to these countries for weeks at a time on a mission “to inspire growth, empower global citizens, and ignite sustainable change worldwide.”
“My favorite part of the mission statement is ‘empower,’” Mike Cesario, a GIVE Nicaragua Intern said. “Hundreds of volunteers come in and they change their lives. They change their majors and change their views on things.”
Cesario was on a four months mission last summer and plans on going on a two month one this summer. The first place Cesario journeyed to with GIVE was Nicaragua; it was the trip that changed his life. He quit his retail job and focused on giving people the necessities they need instead of selling items that people want.
“Some organizations just go to communities, give stuff, then leave. GIVE goes and speaks one on one with the communities and finds out what they need help with,” Cesario said.
The volunteers want to leave the communities knowing they are going to be prosperous on their own. Volunteers are able to experience the lives of the locals and build the community new homes, schools and irrigation systems. GIVE focuses on “educational, eco-friendly, hands-on, cost effective projects combined with education.”
Ian Ford has experienced Nicaragua, Thailand and Laos through GIVE. Volunteers get to engulf themselves into the culture of the places that they travel to.
“You’ll realize while you’re abroad, that even without speaking the same language, that you can have a true connection with people that have led a life so different from your own in a multitude of ways,” Ford said. “What these communities lack in resources, they make up for it in an abundance of gratitude and happiness.”
Volunteers are able to make meaningful connections with the locals and get to experience the culture first hand. Not only are people going to volunteer with GIVE, they are also have the opportunity to adventure out into these countries. Depending on the location, GIVE participants can go bungee jumping, hiking, play with elephants, scuba diving and much more.
“The one thing that each and every volunteer comes home with is a new appreciation for foreign culture, and the drive to make the world a better place with their own hands. To see both the struggles and beauties of these communities almost makes it impossible not to leave as a global citizen,” Ford said.