Finding a Purposeful Midlife: Volunteer Vacations!

On my quest to find meaningful and purposeful ways for Baby Boomers to spend time, I stumbled on something and someone “truly amazing”: Global Volunteers and its co-founder Michele Gran.

global volunteers logo

As I dug through the organizational literature, I found that this nonprofit runs volunteer projects around the world – each one making a significant difference in the health and well-being of the community it serves, and each one providing needed and valuable services.

And, it gets better. This global organization is delivering all of this the exact, right way. All projects are done in conjunction with local organizations so that each project is built to best support the real needs of the community as seen from the inside. That hits us, the Baby Boomer generation at our core values, and hits me, on every single responsible, brain healthy activity level – we can Be Active, Be Social, Be Engaged, and Be Purposeful while being responsible and respectful of community and cultural values.

As I dug deeper, I found that about 30% of Global Volunteers’ current participants are Baby Boomers. I was so encouraged and intrigued by this focus that I reached out to Michele Gran, Trustee and Co-Founder, and she graciously agreed to speak with me.

When I asked Michele how she saw the value of Baby Boomers serving as volunteers, she explained that this 30 year old organization “grew up with the Baby Boom generation and to date Boomers have been the backbone of the Global Volunteers.”

Michele believes that we are the generation of change makers and that perspective makes us the perfect match for volunteer work. Service projects are the perfect vehicle for this huge group of ready willing and able-bodied people with a passion for fairness and social justice. Michele believes that we were raised on these values and, as we age, our generation will find service and service projects as a way to fulfill that need to find a deeper purpose.

And then the conversation turned to brain health and the St. Lucia project…. We talked about how brains need the proper environmental support to grow, develop, and thrive. With that basic premise in mind, Michele and her team built a demonstration project on St. Lucia as a perfect way to build the case for promoting healthy brain development – change the basic conditions, one community at a time, and change the world.

Talk about the most perfect fit…. More on Global Volunteers projects later but for now, it is so reassuring to know that I am not screaming into a vacuum. There are organizations out there, directed by people who “get it” – we just need to find what matches best for each of us.

What kind of service projects help you serve your purpose?

Authored by: Ruth Curran

Ruth Curran, MS Brain Function  With over twenty-five years of expertise as a strategist, business development executive, and organizational behaviorist, Ms. Curran has developed a reputation as an exceptional business and personal development coach.  Ms. Curran’s passion and area of intense study and exploration has been the connection between the brain and daily functioning. This passion spurred her latest project, www.craniumcrunches.com, a photo-based series of thinking puzzles and games that help work around the effects of age, disease, or injury (TBI) on cognitive functioning and quality of life. Ms. Curran’s primary focus is on using a wide variety of games and “play” – those that inspire players to imagine, use strategies, and focus to succeed -- as a path to better thinking, better functioning, and better quality of life.

There are 6 comments for this article
  1. Lois Alter Mark at 2:09 pm

    I can’t imagine a better vacation idea for baby boomers than one of these Global Volunteers trips. Our generation was raised on the idea of making a difference, and this is such a great way to do that. I so want to do this, and am going to share this post with my friends who now have the time and money to travel and are looking for the best way to spend both.

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