Trying to Make a Difference – Our Next Big Adventure

My kids and I are preparing for an experience of a lifetime.  We’re traveling to Peru this summer to do volunteer work for 6 weeks in one of the orphanages located outside of Cuzco. 
Everyone asks us why we are doing this and it’s pretty simple actually.  Oh sure, the big, global answer is, doesn’t everyone want to make a difference in the world?  To do something that makes the world a better place to live in?  But then there are so many other reasons why we would travel to a strange country to do volunteer work all summer.  It’s the amazing opportunity to teach my kids about entitlement and overindulgence and about defining ourselves by what we do and how we act, not by the things we own.  It’s because I’ve watched my son with special needs struggle over the years and hear him talk about how he just wants to be like other kids and not be teased or made to feel different and wouldn’t it be cool for him to know that he is changing the lives of other children?  It’s because my kids have such huge hearts and such amazing spirits and I want them to share it with others.  But the number one reason we are paying so much money to go and work for free? 
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It’s purely selfish.  It’s because we want to hold babies who aren’t held.  We want to teach arts and crafts to children who live in a place where there aren’t the resources for supplies or even time for things like that.  We want to help the children with their homework and teach them English and make a connection with them and hope to make them feel important and special. 
After lots and lots of research on organizations that specialize in volunteer travel abroad, we chose United Planet.  United Planet is a non-profit agency and their “motto” is a quote from Ryunosuke Satoro, “Individually, we are one drop.  Together, we are an ocean.”  Their volunteers have provided over 1,000,000 hours of international community service work in over 40 countries in healthcare, education, women’s empowerment, orphan/street children care, construction, environmental conservation, teaching, disabled care and elderly care.
peru outfits
Why Peru?  In a country where 54% of the population is living in poverty there are few opportunities for young people. Many young children end up in gangs or on the street with alcohol or drug problems, and, unfortunately often turn to robbery or violence.
Peruvian children
Aldea Infantil, where we will be volunteering, is a mixed orphanage for children ages 0 to 17. While some are orphans, others have a family that cannot afford education or a stable environment for them, so they prefer placing their children in the orphanage in hopes of giving them a better future.
Children of Peru 
We’ve done lots of fundraising so far and have lots of activities scheduled, but we’re less than half way there.  I hope you can help us in our endeavors to make this mission a reality, and would greatly appreciate any donation you can make toward our international volunteer experience. As United Planet is a non-profit organization, all donations made by US residents are 100% tax-deductible.
If you would like to make a tax deductible donation online, please visit our website at:
Cody, Ellie and IMy amazing kids
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  1. Bless you for doing this! The world needs more people like you — what a truly wonderful thing to do. 🙂

    • Thank you so much, Marcie. We’re so excited to go and so excited to learn from them as well as teach them.

  2. WOW! It will be a life changing event for everyone

  3. This touches my heart with how deeply this goes for you. I know you’ll be as richly blessed as the children you will encounter in Peru!

  4. Oh my that is such an amazing thing for you and your children to do, what a life experience too.

  5. That will definitely be the experience of a lifetime for your children and for yourself. I’m just curious–why did you choose a foreign country when the children and people of Appalachia could definitely use some help as well.

  6. I love your “why” and your heart for this trip and mission. I hope you raise all the funds you need!

  7. I hope that your kids have a wonderful trip. This is such an awesome idea.

  8. What a huge blessing you are giving and receiving as well! I will be praying for your upcoming journey!

  9. Rebecca Swenor says:

    This is an awesome post and awesome work you do indeed. I love what you are sharing with your children and it would totally awesome if there were more parents like you. This is an amazing program as well. Thanks for sharing.