20 Reasons to Volunteer in 2020

20 Reasons to Volunteer in 2020

Make a difference in the world by becoming a disaster-relief volunteer

January 1, 2020

Anyone who has committed their time and energy to helping others understands that volunteering is an act of love. At All Hands and Hearts, we have welcomed more than 59,000 volunteers across 144 nationalities to serve in 19 countries worldwide. 

Our community of travelers and change-makers put together this list of 20 reasons to volunteer in 2020. If giving back is on your list of new year’s resolutions, then we hope this inspires you to take the leap

1. Make a tangible difference

“My voluntary work is driven by my background as a migrant from former Yugoslavia to New Zealand and honors the perseverance and sacrifice my family made for me through times of conflict. I volunteered with All Hands and Hearts, because I wanted to participate in a project that has a direct and meaningful impact on the lives of others. When rebuilding schools in a post-disaster context, you can see the construction site transform on a daily basis, which is so rewarding.” – Sandra, volunteer on the Peru Earthquake Relief Program 

2. Create meaningful connections with local communities

“In Nepal, the kids we work with call me Diddi, an affectionate term for ‘older sister.’ I feel a deep connection with these kids, because I am actually an older sister to two curious and kind teens, and I remember growing up and going to school in Asia. The work we do in Nepal is important to help each child realize their full potential. Their Diddi is rooting for them.” – Huan, current staff member and volunteer on the Nepal Earthquake Relief Program

3. Open new doors

“Volunteering with All Hands and Hearts changed my life. I originally signed up for two weeks and after my first week, I started extending the length of my stay. I fell in love with the All Hand and Hearts culture, the volunteers and staff, and all of the work we do to help people every day. I love how dedicated and how hard the staff work to keep the programs running, and I knew I wanted to be part of the bigger picture. I was a volunteer for two months, because I couldn’t get enough, and then, I became a member of staff on two programs for 16 months. My heart grew so much, because I knew all of the hard work I was doing was for the communities I serve.” – Kiara, staff member in Puerto Rico and volunteer on the Hurricane Relief Program in Tortola, British Virgin Islands

4. Discover new places

“I have always loved traveling and exploring new places. It brings me peace of mind and a fresh perspective. Signing up to volunteer with All Hands and Hearts was the best choice I could’ve made. I worked alongside communities, helping those in need, which is another one of my true passions. Then, during the weekends, I’d explore the island of St. John and the rest of the U.S. Virgin Islands. I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything.” – Gerardo, volunteer on the Hurricane Relief Program in St John, U.S. Virgin Islands

5. Make life-long friends

“‘He was only there for four days!’ Alix usually says to people while explaining how we became good friends on the Leyte Program. All Hands and Hearts programs bring people from different walks of life, belief systems and values, working together towards a common goal and thus creates unlikely friendships. Alix and me are a prime example of people who in the default world would probably never have met. As crazy as it sounds, I’m happy to report after three Thanksgivings together, we remain best friends and I wouldn’t have it any other way!” – Ike, volunteer on several programs and preparing to return to the Philippines this January

6. Learn new skills

“I originally arrived in Coastal Bend, Texas in early summer to learn more about the rebuild process for my degree in International Disaster Management. I had no construction knowledge whatsoever and felt quite apprehensive. However, I had such an incredible time on the program that I decided to return for another month. When you volunteer, you don’t just become part of the community, you become part of the All Hands and Hearts family. You don’t just learn construction skills, you learn skills that you’ll be able to utilize for the rest of your life. You don’t just rebuild homes, you help give homeowners a positive future.” -Meghan, volunteer on the Hurricane Harvey Hurricane Relief Program in Texas 

7. Take a break from office life

“I found All Hands and Hearts when I was searching for a way to apply my knowledge of construction through volunteering. As an architect, I’m usually sketching behind a desk or giving direction on site, but I am never able to pick up a tool. I wanted to be more hands-on with my construction knowledge, and All Hands and Hearts is my way of giving back while experiencing the other side of my job.” – Luke, volunteer on six different Disaster Relief Programs around the world

8. Life an unforgettable experience

“This organization and these people mean the world to me. A month was too short. The aftermath of Hurricane Dorian will be there for many years to come. This was my second program with All Hands and Hearts, and this will most definitely not be my last!” – Kia, volunteer on Hurricane Relief Programs in Florida and The Bahamas

9. Meet people who bring out the best in you

“It’s more than just volunteering, it’s a family. People come from different places and backgrounds but all with the same goal of making the world a better place and giving back. It’s truly inspirational. You meet people with the kindest and bravest of hearts. You meet people who become your best friend, even if you only know them for a few days. You meet people who inspire you to keep going, keep volunteering and keep giving back.” – Katya, volunteer in Hurricane Relief Programs in Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Texas

10. Pay it forward

“People helped my family when I was younger, and I’m now in a position to help others. Life comes full circle. Like many, I’ve experienced hardship and painful episodes of loss over the years, but volunteering has always put things in perspective for me. Such is the beauty of giving: the realization that in the end, the intangibles one receives go way beyond what one gives.” – Sabine, volunteer on multiple Disaster Relief Programs around the world, most recently in Mozambique

10. Learn to lead

“I not only wanted to challenge myself physically but also in other ways, so I worked to become a Team Leader where I could gain some administrative experience. As a Team Leader, I learned to incorporate problem solving and critical thinking while working through issues, delegating work responsibilities, communicating effectively with my teammates and taking the initiative when decisions had to be made.” – Trent, volunteer in Tortola, British Virgin Islands

12. Rally behind a clear purpose

“There’s inherent joy in helping other people, but everyone always says that. It’s also about this clarity the work gives you. It’s such a simple idea, finding people have the drive but no tools to help, and connecting them with people in need and donors who can provide tools. It’s really ingenious. It’s like for those days on the job site, you just have no doubts about your life. You’re supposed to be there.” – Nata, volunteer on Hurricane Relief Programs in Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Texas