How to: Survive and Resist through Volunteering Overseas

By Jordan Wildish.

For many Americans, the election of Donald J. Trump leaves us feeling angry, fearful, and uncertain about the future. Many Americans are turning to volunteering as a form of resistance, as a way to support the causes they believe in, to create community and take proactive steps to build the world they want to see. The online platform Serve306 gives activists overseas another way to resist by providing tools that make it easy to roll up our sleeves and get to work! Serve306 challenges us to Pledge to volunteer 306 hours in your community over President Trump’s first term – one for each electoral vote he received. 

The best part is that you don’t have to be in the United States to pledge 306 hours of volunteer service! Here are Serve306’s tips to Americans resisting overseas on how we can become volunteers.

Step 1: Identify the causes you care about.

The Trump administration is promoting policy agendas that threaten the health of Americans, the security and prosperities of low income communities, and the protection of the global environment (to name only a few). There are countless ways to engage and contribute to the causes you care about, no matter where you live. The first step to finding a fulfilling volunteer opportunity while living abroad is to identify the causes you care most deeply about. Are you passionate about education? Are you concerned about access to healthcare? Are you worried about Climate Change? There are a huge variety of organizations who need volunteers like you to do the work that they do.

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Step 2: Decide where you want to help.

Many US based organizations provide opportunities for volunteers to serve remotely, so you can volunteer in the United States while living abroad. There are remote volunteer opportunities to match just about any interest and schedule, but you don’t have to limit yourself only to US based service opportunities. US political turmoil is a national problem with wide reaching global effects. If hands-on, boots on the ground service is more your style, consider volunteering with a nonprofit in the country you live in. Just because your service may not directly benefit US citizens doesn’t make it any less valuable.

Step 3: Think about the logistics.

Thinking about fitting volunteer service into your schedule can feel daunting. Luckily, there are volunteer opportunities to match any schedule, work style, and time zone. Whether you can volunteer a few minutes a week, or a few hours a day, your volunteer time is valuable and needed.  Need to volunteer from home? Look into internet based volunteer opportunities. No internet connection? Don’t fret! You can make a difference with just a phone line, snail mail or a pair of knitting needles (really). (Check out Warm Up America for inspiration)

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Step 4: Find your perfect match.

Finding a volunteer opportunity is a bit like online dating; it is much easier if you know exactly what you’re looking for. The “Opportunity Finder” feature on www.serve306.org walks you through the volunteer opportunity finding process and provides hand picked recommendations for how to get involved. Another great resource is https://www.volunteermatch.org/ which provides a wide variety of local and virtual volunteer opportunities based on your areas of interest.

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Need some inspiration? Other Americans abroad have volunteered with these organizations:

Learntobe.org: Online tutoring and mentoring program working with underserved US youth.

Onlinevolunteering.org: The United Nation’s remote volunteering hub with a variety of education, health, and development based service opportunities working with NGO’s around the world.

Citizensclimatelobby.org: The CCL has numerous chapters overseas where you can work locally for global climate action.

 

Did you take action?
All ARO articles are written by Americans resisting overseas, for Americans resisting overseas. If you have action ideas you want to share, contact americansresistingoverseas@gmail.com.

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