20 April 2011

let's talk: how to volunteer - at home and abroad

Americans like to give back. In 2010 alone, more than 63 million Americans volunteered their time. Here in Seattle, people volunteer on average 44.1 hours per year, according to VolunteerInAmerica.gov.

Last June, I swapped a successful career as a food, travel and lifestyle journalist for a backpack to volunteer with 12 community projects in 12 countries over 12 months – a project I conceived and call The Global Citizen Project. With one month to go, I’ve logged close to 800 hours of service in areas ranging from childhood educational development in Honduras and sea turtle conservation in Mexico to working on a permaculture farm in Portugal and building smokeless stoves in Panama. Most of my volunteer projects have been humanitarian focused, but I did throw in several efforts that benefit the planet, like nature and animal conservation, since my passion to help extends beyond people.

My one or two hour presentation (based on your organization or company’s needs), How To Volunteer - At Home and Abroad, will share my diverse domestic and international volunteer experiences, as well as an organized “how to” plan of attack for people who want to take their humanitarian efforts on the global road. This dynamic presentation will be packed with plenty of ‘insider’ tips, humor and anecdotes, as I’ve braved Dengue Fever, mudslides, and giant insects all in the name of volunteerism. It will also incorporate photos and handout materials, which participants can take home. I am very comfortable speaking in front of a group and have teaching experience ranging from speaking to high school students via Learning for Life, guest-teaching journalism classes at University of California San Francisco, co-instructing Writers.com’s Travel Writing Master Class, and most recently, providing more than 100 hours of English instruction and conversation through Pueblo Ingles’ linguistic immersion program in Cazorla, Spain. How To Volunteer - At Home and Abroad will inform, educate, and inspire attendees to engage in something greater than themselves.

I am available for speaking engagements as of mid-May 2011; fees vary. Please contact me at cpfeuffer (at) yahoo (dot) com with any queries or for a presentation outline.

With more than twelve years’ editorial experience, Charyn Pfeuffer is a well-respected veteran in the publishing industry. From food, wine and travel editor to copywriter, marketing consultant to author and ghostwriter, her successful career has involved her in all aspects of crafting the perfect editorial. She’s authored, co-authored and ghostwritten more than a dozen books and contributed to more than eighty publications, including TravelChannel.com, Destination Weddings & Honeymoons, Sunset, San Francisco Chronicle, National Geographic Traveler, Islands, DailyCandy.com, SPA, Seattle Weekly and Seattle Times.

In June 2010, Charyn launched The Global Citizen Project, a 12 community project, 12 country, 12 month volunteer tour de force. This year-long humanitarian project has been covered by more than 50 media outlets and chronicled since its inception on her blog (http://globalcitizenproject.blogspot.com). The Global Citizen Project was funded via Kickstarter.com, an online crowd funding platform and true testament to the almighty powers of social media: More than 200 people pledged more than $20,000 in 90 days; 45% of them strangers.

Charyn’s volunteer work has earned her the prestigious honor of a $5,000 Voluntourism Grant from Travelocity’s Travel for Good® Program in WE TV’s First Annual WE Do Good Awards Contest, in partnership with Ladies’ Home Journal. She is also Wyndham Worldwide’s Women on Their Way Voluntourism expert and writes a monthly column for its website. When Charyn isn’t traveling, she volunteers locally with United Way of King County, Food Lifeline and Marra Giving Garden. You can follow her volunteering adventures at @charynpfeuffer.

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