Category: Volunteer Vacations in Cambodia
The Student Becomes the Teacher During Volunteer Vacation

A family traveled to Siem Reap, Cambodia on spring break and shared their experience and the confidence-building activities their son engaged in during their Globe Aware volunteer vacation.

Learning in a one-to-one environment helps students build confidence. They grow in ways they never knew possible, and try new things they may have not done before.

Patrick, a Fusion Park Avenue student, is a glowing example of this. He and his family spent their spring break on a service trip to Siem Reap, Cambodia.

unnamed-3-646x345Patrick’s mom sent the Park Avenue team the following email about their trip:

“I hope everyone had a nice spring break. I thought you guys might like to see some highlights from our sightseeing and service trip to Siem Reap, Cambodia with a great voluntourism organization, Globe Aware. Patrick was awesome in taking on the role of a “teacher” and the kids – despite language barriers – really connected with him.

Patrick’s Family

We volunteered at the small “English-speaking” school in one of the poorest villages just outside Siem Reap. We were charged with helping the kids ranging in age from about 7 to 15 practice their conversational English. We were with them, totaling about 50 students, for 3 days. It was an incredible experience and Patrick was really moved by it and the children he met. While some of the kids were clearly amazingly bright, because of their economic disadvantages, I’m told the vast majority of them will ultimately stop going to school by the time they reach 7th or 8th grade. And, the school’s continued sustainability also remains fragile. As inspirational our time there was, parts of it were also heartbreaking.

I hope the time we spent there, and the students’ interactions with my kids, motivate them even just a little to try and keep pursuing their education in spite of the challenges they face economically and at home.

Patrick-FamilyWith that in mind, thank you all for the influence you’ve had on Patrick which helped him be able to shine in that setting and to feel he was doing something worthwhile and meaningful. You are all great mentors and have really helped Patrick emerge from a much more difficult place two years ago when he first came to Fusion. As I mentioned to Heather (Head of School, Fusion Park Avenue), he came there emotionally “broken” and you’ve all been huge contributors in his ability to heal and put him back on the path to being the kind, empathetic, and impactful member of society that I’ve always known he can be. Who knows, maybe some day he’ll go back to Cambodia or journey elsewhere and be a force that helps those children stay in school and break the seemingly inescapable cycle they are in.

I will be eternally grateful for the influence each and everyone of you have had in his development and growth.

As you’ll see, for his foray in the classroom, on one of the days we had him wear his Fusion t-shirt. I think it was a bit symbolic and a bit of a tribute to his teachers back home.


Documentary on Globe Aware Cambodia Nominated for Three Emmys

Celebrate with us!

We are excited to announce that the PBS documentary on Globe Aware’s Cambodia program has received three Emmy Award nominations.

Produced by the good folks at Journeys for Good, the documentary is nominated for Best Cultural Program, Best Camera and Best Editing.

In December 2012, award-winning  husband and wife production team, Steve and Joanie Wynn, embarked on a volunteer adventure to Cambodia with non-profit Globe Aware.   They documented the experience for their public television series, “Journeys for Good”, developed with KQED-TV and their San Francisco Bay Area production company, Bayside Entertainment.

Award winners will be announced June 15 – stay tuned!

Globe Aware Cambodia

Volunteer vacation creates fresh perspective, new career aspirations

A volunteer vacation can be a life-changing experience. Just ask Tacy Lambiase.  This  University of Maryland student’s recent trip with Globe Aware has forced her to shift here priorities and career path. Her story was related on the Drive the District website and blog. Enjoy:

Volunteer Vacations Break New Ground


Tacy Lambiase at the CBF Oyster Restoration Center (Photo courtesy Meenu Singh)

Lounging on a beach or skiing snowy slopes is no longer a typical vacation. Volunteering is an increasingly appealing way to spend time off, whether it’s close to home or in an exotic locale.

A leader in this emerging “voluntourism” movement is Globe Aware, a Dallas-based nonprofit that sends volunteers to more than a dozen locations around the globe for weeklong vacations. Volunteers spend around 35 hours assisting with projects like building wheelchairs for landmine victims in Cambodia, constructing schools in Ghana or assembling adobe stoves in Peru.

The goal, said Globe Aware founder Kimberly Haley-Coleman, is to foster sustainability and build relationships between cultures. Spending a week side by side with people of a foreign culture creates a connection that tourist vacations don’t.

“Our volunteers are coming away really understanding the challenges of that culture,” Haley-Coleman said. “I would argue that’s more important than the physical projects that we’re working on – being able to make that human connection and understand each other’s view of the world.”

Haley-Coleman created Globe Aware when she couldn’t find an organization sympathetic to the packed schedules of professionals – like her – who couldn’t spend months at a time volunteering. Individuals, families and groups of all ages are welcome to volunteer with Globe Aware. Trips start in the $1,100 range (plus airfare), and are tax-deductible.

The benefits of volunteering, enthusiasts say, go beyond the tax break. Fostering good in the world refreshes a weary spirit, and cultural immersion breeds introspection. Haley-Coleman has seen relationships – even marriages – blossom following trips.

A service trip during spring vacation encouraged 22-year-old Tacy Lambiase, from Arlington, to consider a different career path.

Lambiase, a University of Maryland senior, spent two spring breaks volunteering for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation in Annapolis, Maryland. She camped on the beach near the foundation’s headquarters, learning about environmental sustainability. “It really was a life-changing experience for me, as cliché as that sounds,” she said.

A week of cleaning oysters, monitoring water quality, canoeing and visiting the legislature inspired Lambiase to add sustainability studies as a minor. Come graduation in December, she’s considering seeking employment with an environmental nonprofit or finding a job in corporate sustainability.


Lambiase’s group camped on the beach (Photo courtesy Javier Vandeyar)

Lambiase’s group camped on the beach. Photo courtesy Javier Vandeyar.

Lambiase confesses she wasn’t the “outdoorsy type,” but venturing outside her comfort zone – living on the beach and engaging in physical work like planting trees – was an overwhelmingly positive experience. “Don’t be afraid to do something you’ve never done before,” she said.

She also suggests finding a project connected a social issue that holds personal meaning. “You’ll be able to benefit and find meaning in the work that you’re doing,” she said.

Texas family spends Christmas in Cambodia on volunteer vacation
Volunteer vacation Cambodia

Quentin with a young Cambodian girl whose bedroom the group had painted and furnished

During the recent Christmas holidays, St. Michael’s Catholic Academy Freshman Quentin Bentzin and his family traveled to Siem Reap, Cambodia, on a family service trip and volunteer vacation with Globe Aware.

The group of 14 did a variety of service work, including assembling wheelchairs donated by and then delivering them to disabled Cambodians.

Pictured at right is Quentin mixing concrete for the floor of a village water pump. Quentin is also pictured with a young Cambodian girl whose bedroom the group had painted and furnished.

Siem Reap is the capital city of Siem Reap Province in northwestern Cambodia and is also home to the famous Angkor Wat temple.

“This trip was an incredible opportunity for my family to learn about Southeast Asia while helping others,” Bentzin commented.

Quentin and others mixing concrete for the floor of a village water pump

Quentin and others mixing concrete for the floor of a village water pump

Journeys for Good volunteer vacations in Cambodia with Globe Aware

Journeys for Good recently went on a volunteer vacation to Cambodia with Globe Aware. Building wheelchairs, teaching English and offering assistance, they brought their good will to the “Kingdom of Wonder.””

“Our goals are not lofty, just to connect and to make life a bit better for these indomitable people who never allow their hardship to define them,” said husband and wife production team Steve and Joanie Wynn. They have traveled the world together, producing stories for Travel Channel, History Channel, Discovery, HBO and Conservation Corporation Africa. Enjoy their video on their experience in Cambodia.