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Voluntourism Spotlight: Hope Floats

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Want to experience a cruise vacation and still give back to the local community? Skip the traditional shore excursions with the California-based Hope Floats, which will connect you with a hands-on volunteer experience while you’re at port.

Hope Floats is the brainchild of the Huckaby family who visited several different cruise ports and saw the pervasive issues that exist so close to resort areas. They realized that they wanted to find a way to connect those who wanted to volunteer to those who need it the most. 

Volunteers can help in a myriad of ways, serving at one or all of the ports on the cruise. Playing with orphans, serving food, house maintenance, beach clean up, and caring for neglected animals are some of the roles volunteers fill with this floating charity.

For example, in Antigua, those who are looking for environmental ways to give back can volunteer with the recycling center; in St Lucia you can pack disaster relief emergency packs for the Red Cross; in St Thomas you can help out our four-legged friends at the brand new humane society; in Tortola you can work at a school that teaches children with disabilities; and in Barbados you can put those culinary skills to use cooking for the homeless. The most important thing to Hope Floats is finding a way to volunteer that you are putting your skills to use at.

After a day of volunteering from 9 am to around 1 pm you are free to return to the ship. Or take advantage of your  new insider contacts and explore more of the island like a local. Hope Floats currently works with programs in Antigua, Barbados, St. Lucia, Tortola, and St.Thomas. To find out more information about this organization and the people behind it, visit Hope Floats or like them on Facebook.

By Laura Lee Jurgens for PeterGreenberg.com

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