Goodwill
Globetrotting

Don't just see the world, change it!!

 

Josh, Joseph and Rebecca with Alcides and the boys of Azul Wasi Orphanage

After six weeks in Peru, Goodwill Globetrotting’s future seems much more in focus. What was initially intended to be a research trip ended up as a mostly successful first attempt at building our charity support network internationally. We have a lot of loose ends to tie up from home but we planted enough seeds on the ground in Peru that it may soon be our first fully functioning Goodwill Globetrotting country. The reason we are so optimistic about Peru and the rest of the world is because of the positive response we got from everyone we met while we were there. Travelers were excited to finally have a website like ours to use, charities were happy to have someone trying to help them, and all of the owners of hostels and hotels were unbelievably cooperative and eager to participate in supporting the charities in their area. We didn’t expect it to be so easy to recruit hostels into our network to act as donation points and support centers for local charities. We can only hope that hostel owners around the world are half as helpful as those in Peru.

It became very clear very quickly that building our network will be more simple than anticipated and that as long as we can figure out how to get the word out to people/travelers everywhere so that they can actually use our website, we will have successfully created something new and useful for people who want to help others. We realize it is easier said than done, but we are very optimistic that we will succeed. For some strange reason, the most stressful part of building our network in Peru was finding charities to help. We chalk up a lot of those difficulties to the fact that we didn’t prepare as much in advance by contacting enough charities before we left for Peru. We are confident that, in the future, we will be able to track down small charities before we leave home and have tentative plans for how to help them already in place before we arrive in foreign countries.

The original plan was to find a charity near the capital of Lima as soon as I landed there and then spend the next month or so hosting a series of small fundraisers and recruiting volunteers on behalf of a project for the charity. However, I had no luck in Lima and it took nearly a month just to find a charity with a project we could do on short notice.  Finishing a quality project was our primary goal for our trip to Peru and we really lucked out finding Azul Wasi Orphanage. It is a small orphanage located just outside of the beautiful city of Cuzco and it was the perfect fit for what we had to offer at the time. Azul Wasi has many needs and we wish we could have stayed indefinitely to finish any and every project on director Alcides Jordan’s wish list. With limited time and funds we had to choose one quality project that we could realistically finish. We decided to create a workshop for the kids in which they could both occupy their time productively and learn mechanical skills that may help them get jobs when they are old enough to leave the orphanage.

Joseph and Josh play "flip cup" at the Loki fundraiser for Azul Wasi

To pay for the workshop we hosted a fundraiser party at a popular hostel in Cuzco (Thank you so much Dror and the gang at Loki Hostel!)  and had to reach out to friends and family back home for donations. One day we hope for our support base to expand beyond friends and family but, for now, we are incredibly grateful to everyone who went to our website and made donations. Without their help the kids of Azul Wasi orphanage would not have a workshop right now and, in addition to the workshop, we managed to buy all of the kids brand new shoes and matching blue Azul Wasi t-shirts. On the last full day in Peru we held a party for the kids in the new workshop and had tons of fun painting all of our names and hand prints on the newly finished walls.

Dante adds more personality to his handprints!

It was hard to say goodbye knowing we would likely not return to Azul Wasi or anywhere in Peru for a very long time but we assured Alcides that we will continue to support him and his kids as much as possible from home.

Overall, the orphanage project and all of our network building in Peru were a huge success considering the circumstances and we’re already preparing for our next adventure in a foreign land. We have tentative plans to do a much longer much bigger trip to India/Nepal in January and we hope that with, more time to prepare, we will make an even more significant impact on those countries by the time we are done. In the meantime, we have plans for a project here in Texas that we are sure all of our followers will love to participate in. If you have not yet heard of the organization ‘Adam’s Animals’ then stay tuned to our website and Facebook page and soon you will. We hope to have a very touching and fun project organized with them for November so get ready to show some children you care. Peru was a big success but it is only 1 of nearly 200 countries in the world which means we have a lot of work left to do if we want to change it. It’s good to be home and home is a good place to get started on our next project. I’m already excited.!!

To see more photos from the trip, including before and after photos of the workshop at Azul Wasi visit our flickr account and our Facebook album.

-Joseph

 

 

 

 

The students, directors and some of the volunteers from the summer 2011 session

Greetings, Friends!

Last Friday was the last day of LTCEA’s session for 2011. Instead of the usual scratch sheets of papers used to work out math problems and open reading books on the tables in the LTCEA classroom, there were certificates and gift bags and a bounty of food lining the tables that day. LaVerne, Sandra, Ursula, Charles and all the parents and grandparents of the students put together a fantastic celebration for the students and volunteers.

Gifts and certificates for students and volunteers

It was a bittersweet day for me in a lot of ways. To say that the summer volunteering was fun is an understatement. All of the volunteers we recruited had a blast and all of them came to me and said that they wished that the session was longer and that they wanted to continue to be involved with LTCEA in the future. I consider that to be a victory in and of itself. All of the children were buzzing with excitement (mostly in anticipation of pizza, I assume) and instead of doing math problems with them, the volunteers got to play games and horse around a little as they waited for everything to be prepared.

Sarah and Jackie play a computer game while Olivia and the boys play Mancala

Once everything was ready Charles got up and made a really nice speech that included a very heartfelt thank you to Goodwill Globetrotting for all the supplies that we donated and, more importantly, all of the time that we and the volunteers we brought with us had spent with the children. LaVerne followed that up by thanking us again when she mentioned the sponsors for the LTCEA. (We’re a sponsor!!!). Throughout the program, LaVerne and Ursula acknowledged each volunteer individually and presented them with a certificate of appreciation and a gift. Students got a certificate as well, along with some special certificates given to the kids who had perfect attendance. And each student was given a backpack filled with school supplies to take home with them! LaVerne asked me to come to the front and say a few words about Goodwill Globetrotting, but all I could muster before tearing up was to let her know that while we hope to do a lot of good in a lot of places for a long time, nothing will ever compare to our first project. LTCEA was better than we ever hoped for, and we knew from the beginning that there was something special about them.

By far my favorite part of the day was meeting all the kids’ parents and grandparents. It was great to talk to them and learn how grateful they were for the LTCEA and all of the volunteers. More than one told me stories about how their kids spoke so highly of the Center and the volunteers. I had lots of parents personally thank me for the time I had spent helping the kids learn. I also heard a great story from one of the moms about how they drove in from Bastrop every day just so her daughter could attend because she loved it so much and that she was sad that the session was over.

Me, Deja and Octavia

And while this may be the end of the session for the LTCEA it is by no means the end of our relationship with them. We’ll definitely be back next year with another fundraiser and another summer of volunteering. The LTCEA hopes to one day have enough funding to run programs year round, with  after-school and/or weekend hours for students to attend and get help with whatever they need during the school year as well and during the summer time. We definitely want to help them accomplish that goal by fundraisng for them and by reminding everyone that you can make a monthly donation to their great work at givv.org.

It was a great day that could only have been made better if all of the volunteers could have made it and more importantly if my two partners, Joseph and Josh, could have been there to feel the overwhelming love that I felt that day.

Thank you Learning and Tutoring Center of East Austin! Thank you to everyone who came out and volunteered! Thank you to everyone who donated money and supplies! And a preemptive thank you to everyone who will donate and volunteer at LTCEA in the future!

 

Signing off until Peru,

Rebecca

Machu Picchu: Peru's contribution to the wonders of the world

In a couple of hours I will be on my way to Peru to begin spreading Goodwill Globetrotting beyond Austin, Texas. In a few weeks I will be joined by Rebecca and, shortly after, Josh. Our primary objectives in Peru will be research and networking but we also intend to find at least one charity there in need of assistance and offer them the same kind of hands-on support we gave LTCEA over the past couple of months. Working with LTCEA has been more effective and rewarding than any of us expected and we can only hope our future endeavors are as successful.  Rebecca has researched several charities around Lima and my first job upon arrival in Peru will be visiting those charities to decide which one we can best help. Once we have chosen a charity to work with, we will begin organizing fund-raisers and recruiting volunteers on their behalf much like we did with LTCEA.

 

In total, we will be in Peru for approximately six weeks and will spend much of that time talking with travelers, hostel owners, and tour operators to find out what kind of feedback they can offer us. We consider this trip a practice run for what we hope to do on a much larger scale in the future. For now, we are content with spreading the word about Goodwill Globetrotting and finding the answers to a few logistical questions so that we can effectively execute all of our future plans. When we return in september, we expect to have a much better idea of what the next level of our evolution as an organization will look like.

I’m both excited and nervous about taking Goodwill Globetrotting to Peru and I wish Josh and Rebecca could be there with me from the start. Tackling this alone for the first few weeks is going to be tough but my biggest concern is just not letting them down. I arrive in Lima late tonight and fully intend to hit the ground running first thing tomorrow morning. Ruth and I created a flyer this morning that I will be posting in every hostel in Peru that will allow it. I don’t have Josh’s natural ability to break the ice so I’m really hoping that travelers will ask me about the flyers as I post them . Anything that can significantly reduce my “soap box” moments is more than welcome.

                                                                            - Joseph Morgan

Hi Friends,

On Saturday, Josh and I gathered up all the awesome stuff that we bought with the donations we collected and delivered it all to the LTCEA building in preparation for the start of their summer session.

Here are some photos!

Josh unloads some of the boxes of breakfast bars

Josh and Rebecca with all the donations

LaVerne and Josh hang the new reading posters

Of course, I couldn’t get teaching supplies without throwing a little touch of “Goodwill Globetrotting” in there for the kids. So I bought this awesome poster set of the world that has facts, animals and landmarks from each continent on the globe. Thankfully LaVerne and Sandra liked it as much as we did!

A little "Globetrotting" inspiration for the kids!

The delivery was so much fun! LaVerne was shocked with the amount of stuff we were able to bring. She was so excited about scotch tape!! It was an incredible feeling to watch and listen to LaVerne and Ursula get excited about every little thing we had for them. The summer session starts tomorrow, July 5th, and all three of the founders of Goodwill Globetrotting are looking forward to volunteering with the kids! Stay tuned for more stories and photos!

-Rebecca

Hello friends!

I thought that now would be a great time to update all of you who have been following our adventure in philanthropy. Where do I start? Joe, Josh and I have been so busy over the last month doing things from legal paperwork to planning our first event that I can’t remember the last time I got a full night’s sleep… and it’s been so awesome!

Things are moving along really well. I think I can speak for the boys and say that we’re all really happy about the progress we’ve been making.

I’ll start with our event. A while back when we were talking about doing this global project that gave people a convenient way to give back to the places they go I knew that I wanted to do something here in Austin, the city that I am madly in love with and has given *me* so much. After much searching to find an organization that has a great purpose, but needs a helping hand, I found a really fantastic program called the Learning and Tutoring Center of East Austin. LTCEA, which provides free tutoring for children on the east side of town, is a small organization, but what they lack in size and funding they make up for in with a whole lot of heart! LTCEA is run by a husband and wife team, LaVerne and Charles, and they fund the program completely out of pocket. After talking to LaVerne on the phone, the three of us just knew that LTCEA was the organization we wanted to help. Our plan was to lead a hike through the Austin Greenbelt, a fun (albeit very hot) hike where we asked each person to donate $20. The Inaugural Goodwill Globe-trot took place on June 19th. We had nearly 20 people (and 5 pups!) join us and we collected over $400!

Goodwill Globetrotting's Hikers

With the funds we raised, we planned to buy as many supplies as possible: a water cooler, school supplies and most importantly, breakfast. When Laverne told us that none of the children they help usually eat breakfast before they come to the center we wanted to fix that, after all, breakfast is the most important meal of the day, right? We’ll be able to get them enough food and juice for all 20 kids for their month long summer program. On top of that, we were able to get them a computer to add to their classroom! Purely by chance one day, Joe and I came across a computer that was being thrown out and we rescued it and had it checked out by a techie friend (Thanks, Jay!!) and it is good to go! So all in all, while it was a small start to something that we hope to become a global standard, it was a huge success. Everyone had a great time on the hike (though we nearly lost a couple of dogs along the way) and I think lots of new friendships were formed, but most importantly the people of the LTCEA were overjoyed with our desire to help and the turn out we had. Being an integral part of that fundraiser was definitely one of the best things I’ve ever done.

Elsewhere in the Goodwill Globetrotting world, more amazing connections are developing. Our friend Arlo knows Jason, the creator of another cool “micro-philanthropy” website. Givv.org is a fantastic site, also based here in Austin, where users set up monthly donations of any size to as many charities around the world as they desire. Arlo added both Goodwill Globetrotting and the LTCEA to Givv.org’s list of charities. Take the time to check out Givv.org. If everyone donated one dollar a month it could really make a difference! Hopefully in the future things like Givv.org and Goodwill Globetrotting with be household names!

The Goodwill Globetrotting family expanded last month, when we hired our first employee! And by “hired our first employee” I mean “asked my sister to work for free.” My sister Ruth, the most awesome-est girl I know, is now our Social Media Coordinator. Her role will be to ensure that the Goodwill Globetrotting Facebook page, Twitter and blog (and any other form of social media that might arise in the future) are effectively integrated. Needless to say, I am thrilled with this addition. I’m so happy to have my best friend and sister working with me on this project that I love so much.

I should probably tell you a little bit about myself. Just like Joe and Josh, I have an unbridled love of travel. Over the years as I’ve planned my adventures I’ve always tried to find places to donate or volunteer when I’m abroad. It was shocking to me how difficult that was. Sure you can find volunteer opportunities, but more often than not, they require a large chunk of time or an even larger chunk of money, neither of which I have to spare. Eventually I gave up trying to fit volunteering and donating into my trips and instead planned my last trip around my volunteering.

I worked with an awesome group in Zambia called ALERT, the African Lion and Environmental Research Trust. The goal of ALERT is to rehabilitate and reintroduce lions back into the wild. As a hardcore animal lover, working with the lions every day was the most incredible thing I have ever done, but even more rewarding were the weekly trips we made to the nearby village of Maunga. On our visits, we participated in “elephant mitigation” projects and taught health lessons. During one trip to Maunga, I toured the local school, a small and bare one roomed brick building. The school books were UNICEF provided texts that only go up to about grade level 3. There were no teaching materials around, and I don’t even think there was a chalkboard. One day after a rough afternoon of digging ditches to deter the elephants from eating their vegetables, the kids gathered round and performed several traditional songs and dances for us. After they were finished we said “thank you” by giving the teacher of that school some teaching aids that we’d bought in town and that one of the other volunteers had brought from Australia.

Some of the Children of Maunga and their Teacher

They were things like mathematics tables, diagrams of the human body, maps and so on. I have traveled a good amount; I have seen horrific poverty and destitution over the years. I KNEW these things existed, and yes, I was changed by them, but watching the reaction of the kids to those “mundane” things that so many of us spent years taking for granted in school was completely life altering for me. Of all the things I have done and seen over the years, I have never been so affected by anything as I was that day. I knew that my calling in life was to help school children in places like Maunga. Goodwill Globetrotting is how I hope to fulfill that mission. I want to fix it so that you don’t have to plan a lengthy and expensive volunteer trip. I want you to be able to go visit Victoria Falls in Zambia and drop off diagrams of the human body and multiplication tables for the kids in Maunga and countless other villages without it being difficult. And even better, if you want to go to Maunga and help build them another school building (complete with a chalkboard), we can help you do that with ease. THAT is Goodwill Globetrotting.

Good things are happening in Goodwill Globetrotting these days. Wait till you see what Ryan Hromadka has done with our website! It’s so great I can’t wait to show everyone I have ever met in my whole life. On that note, I’ll sign off.

Until next time,
Rebecca

Joseph toting his junk through South Africa

 

Hello World!

It seems fitting that when we opened an account with WordPress to write this blog we received their standard greeting message featuring the headline “Hello World!”. What are the odds that our blog site would welcome us with the same message I have been wanting to share with all of you ever since Rebecca, Josh and I started building our little non-profit? For weeks I have wanted to climb to Austin’s highest rooftop and scream “Hello world!! Goodwill Globetrotting has arrived!!”. Ok, “arrived” might be a bit pre-mature but we are definitely on our way because the three of us have been very busy little bees as of late.

Just in the past couple of weeks we recieved a DBA from Travis County, opened a business account with University Federal Credit Union, submitted an application to C-Bar of Austin for free legal counsel, filed our certificate of incorporation, hired a web designer, opened facebook and blog accounts, and designed an awesome logo. Add to all of that tons of research on legal requirements and guidelines for starting a non-profit(thanks Rebecca), attending seminars/social events for non-profits, and having countless meetings revising and restructuring our overall vision and the method and timeline for how we plan to accomplish it and you can easily see how this is quickly becoming a full-time job.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not at all complaining. For once the bearded nomad with so much “potential” finally has something in his life to be passionate about and I am loving every minute of this. I am  happy to be working with two very good friends who also happen to be the best choices I could ever have made as far as finding partners. Although we are still feeling each other out a little bit as far as working on a professional level, we have a great balance of minds and our chemistry together is excellent and will only get better. Each of us brings something unique and vital to this project and we could not succeed without all three. I(Joseph)try to bring calm and focus on the big picture while hopefully giving our team good ideas to work with. Josh is a bundle of energy and enthusiasm that I can’t wait to turn loose on the world and brings a more social and professional face to our group. Rebecca is a relentless research machine doing the dirty work I would not be able to do efficiently and she is a fantastic partner for bouncing ideas back and forth with to make sure they are viable and clear.

As you can tell, I love my team and they are why I am confident we will succeed. However, I have no illusions. I am fully aware of the long difficult road left for us before our baby is fully grown and functioning but as long as we keep it fun it will be a worthwhile journey. Afterall, is it really work to do something you love? Even though we work on this almost everyday, we often call or text each other with ideas or exciting news and end up looking forward to the next time we can all sit down together to assess progress and figure out what the next steps will be.

The next big step up the ladder is a website which Ryan Hromadka is currently working on and which you should be able to check out very soon. I will go ahead and apologize in advance to any of you who view our awesome website in the near future and happen have your faces rocked off by its unrivaled mind-blowing bad-assness. Just make sure to sue Ryan for your medical bills and not us. We are really excited about its potential and I am sure all three of us will stare at it for about 4 hours day with “We have a website?” running through heads repeatedly. We all got a chuckle out of signing our respective titles on paperwork a couple of weeks ago and even took photos of the moment. Stuff like “I’m a President of something?” or “Dude, you’re a CEO!” or “What exactly does a CFO do?” could be heard around our little huddle for hours afterward. We are all new to starting a business and it frequently feels surreal but we are catching on quickly and starting to get into a groove.

So, now you guys are current on our progress and we will be posting blogs on a more regular basis. We will be posting updates, things on our mind and probably stories we think you would like to hear. The three of us have spent a lot of time traveling the world and were even thinking about sharing some of our favorite travel e-mails/journal entries from the past for those of you who have not already followed our adventures. I will wait to see if that is something you guys would want to follow so feel free to request those stories if you are interested. We will also be posting photos with our blog entries and the one I chose for this blog is not the most interesting one I have by far but I chose it because it looks like I am setting forth on a grand adventure which is exactly how I feel right now. Been a lot of places and seen a lot a things but this is the biggest adventure of my life. All aboard?

Thanks for reading,

Joseph Morgan

CEO(Ha!) and Chairman of

Goodwill Globetrotting

The goal of this blog is to document our efforts, trials, and successes as we move forward on our journey to build Goodwill Globetrotting.

Goodwill Globetrotting is born out of hope. The hope is to bring people across the globe together in an effort to provide philanthropic travelers with the resources and tools necessary to create positive changes in the lives of impoverished Peoples the World over. The global community is now more interdependent than ever before. It is our responsibility to work together for the common good of generations to come.

My journey began after graduating from UT in 2007. My first job after graduation was for a non-profit, the American Cancer Society. While at ACS, I realized that the non-profit sector provides a model for engaging social change on a mass scale. I was immediately hooked. After working at ACS for a year I decided to travel to developing countries in South East Asia and saw gross poverty first hand. It was then that I knew I wanted to be a part of the solution to combat this global inequity.

When I came back to the United States in September of 2010 I began volunteering for an international non-profit, the Discover Hope Fund. DHF empowers women in Peru by leveraging the power of Micro-finance to help woman harness their talents for the betterment of their community. Volunteering for DHF opened my eyes to the challenges and processes behind running a small non-profit. Volunteering wasn’t enough, I wanted to do more. It was in September that I first told Joe and Rebecca of my desire to start a non-profit, and that was a decision I am grateful for to this day.

In February, Joe and I sat down to talk about an idea for a non-profit he had come up with while hiking with Rebecca. The idea, then tentatively called “Backpacks From Backpackers”, was to start a non-profit focused on getting school supplies to children in impoverished communities in developing countries. I instantly loved the idea and was excited to move forward.

As meeting followed meeting, over the last few months, we stepped forward one decision after the next until we find ourselves here.

We started with a simple idea: Empower travelers to give back.

Goodwill Globetrotting is something that travelers DO. We want Goodwill Globetrotting to be synonymous with what it means for travelers to give back abroad.

Our ultimate goal is to form a global network of volunteer opportunities targeting travelers from all over the World who would like to contribute to the places they visit. I hope you will join us on this exciting journey.