Saturday, March 12, 2011

Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Go...

It's great that people have big enough hearts as to say they want to drop whatever they are doing and get over to a disaster zone to volunteer...but it's definitely not as simple as just joining a volunteer program. Disaster relief aid is a completely different environment -ask yourself are you mentally, physically, spiritually, emotionally, and financially prepared?

  • Can I afford to pay my way there?
  • Do I need an organization to help sponsor me?  Can I do fundraising to contribute to my ticket and airfare costs?  
  • Do I have a U.S. passport?
  • Am I current on my vaccinations?
  • How about lodging once in there?
  • Would it be better that I support a reputable organization or sponsor somebody who is better qualified than me to go on such a trip?

This is in no way to discourage people from giving with their hearts, but there have been some controversy that has come up, especially from "professional relief aid workers" on the topic of regular citizens volunteering aboard in the mist of a natural disaster. Their message is that while most people have the best intentions, they are ill-prepared and have high expectations, and are naive. So consider carefully and be honest with yourself. 

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