Below is a glimpse at what our volunteers and global partners are saying about their experiences serving with us, Global Outreach Alliance. Ready to serve? You just may be GOA’s next volunteer by partnering with us to engage in meaningful projects that add results and impact to the global village. Apply now!
[Serving with GOA] was the greatest experience of my life. There is not enough words, pictures, or videos that could ever truly begin to explain how this trip has changed my life, and heart. It’s like I have a new lease on life and am now seeing everything through a new light, and new eyes. Everything seems more positive and beautiful. This trip taught me that if I want to make a positive change to the world, I can’t just give, I must teach. That is what will spread, and that is the ultimate factor that pulls our world out of poverty. KNOWLEDGE is sustainable.
I can’t say enough about how great my experience with GOA has been. Their model of giving and mission statement has inspired me to continue working in development the RIGHT way. I love that it wasn’t just a “hug-an-orphan trip” where we all wore shirts that said “UGANDA 2014 VOLUNTEER TRIP” or any nonsense like that. GOA focuses on empowering people, plain and simple. No hand outs, no dependency. They teach people skills so that they can better their own lives instead of depending on aid agencies or other non-profits to do it for them. The projects that we implement belong to them, not to us. They deserve all of the credit for whatever results they produce with the resources we give them. That is the best way for us to help their communities, and GOA absolutely nailed it.
The values and conviction with which GOA operates resonated so strongly with my vision of life and work. The quote regarding learning and involving people in the process of change which has been aptly displayed on their website had made me excited from the day I read about GOA. Conversations with Steve (the founder and director) reignited the faith in the beauty of believing what you do and unconditional love. The best and perhaps a bit astonishing part came when he marked out,“Naveen, we do not come with our agenda and completely go by supporting what is needed by the community.” Never before in my decade-long experience of interacting with supporters have I come across such a statement. This instantly aroused a feeling of equality in actual practice. GOA establishes true connections with the lives of the people–this has been a source of both admiration and inspiration for me. And since then I am not the same.
GOA has an amazing way of reaching out to communities. The mission of the program is realistic and attainable. Instead of looking to temporarily absolve poverty, they search for long-term solutions that may be difficult to achieve in the beginning, but will have lasting effects once implemented correctly. GOA educates people about maintaining a sustainable lifestyle so that they may live healthier lives without depending on others. If I could sum up the goal of GOA in one word, it would be empowerment. They strive to empower both the people of communities stricken by poverty and the volunteers who reach out to the people and help establish programs in said community. I feel empowered knowing how to help the people of third world countries and seeing that the work I helped take part in is making a difference in a place I came to care so much about. I plan on going on another GOA expedition as soon as possible. Going to Uganda helped me realize that there is no feeling as powerful as helping someone who can never pay you back. I will continue to support this organization as much as I can because I truly believe they have it right. I was honored to be a part of such an incredible program.
I was working in 107 degrees temperature with high humidity, but hardly noticed it due to the natural high which came from my experience…and our results. I love their [GOA's] approach,’ we are not going to alter local way of living by influencing it by our OWN way, we are going to assist the people we are serving by enhancing THEIR current way of living. We do not force a different lifestyle on the folks we work with, we simply help to contribute to their economic self reliance.
Working with GOA was an amazing experience. It was truly rewarding to see the impact we had in the lives of these amazing people. I was impressed by the model of GOA in that they aim to teach people to become self reliant rather than just giving material objects. They really care about the people they serve and get them involved in making a better life for themselves and their families. The greatest thing that I learned was how important and easy it can be to serve others and the kind of impact service can have on the world. We all have talents that we can share with others to truly help people to see and develop their own talents to benefit themselves, their families and their communities.
[On the expedition] I learned so much about local culture and it changed my whole outlook on the world. I am so humbled from this experience–it is something that I will never be able to forget. I will definitely be going again [on another expedition].I hope to get more involved in GOA and become a long-term volunteer. This changed my life for the better and I am so grateful for the opportunity that I had to go.
A local [member of the GOA-U board] said to me that money gets wasted away but knowledge can be given from generation to generation–this is the way I want to live my life. I want to have a lasting influence, not one that will just die with me. My service expedition with GOA helped me realize that and gave me opportunities to learn how and start to make a long-lasting effect.
My experience was great! Probably my favorite trip I have ever taken. You could see the progress of the village, not just through what we were doing, which was just a small part, but through the other past programs that had been there too. I thought that was really encouraging because I knew that the work for the people there would be continued, rather than just hugging an orphan and leaving.
I looked at various organizations for about a year and a half before I sided with GOA. I even had the hospital and the physicians group that I work with do research on GOA’s legitimacy. As for the actual expedition, I would have paid 10x the program fee after actually seeing what impact my money had. Of course, it’s so difficult to completely change hundreds of lives within two very short weeks, but you see the impact of change while you are there. Whether you stay involved or not, the impact continues long after you are gone. You are empowering skills, knowledge and tools to help give villagers a SUSTAINABLE lifestyle. Meaning, you aren’t just going to show up and scream “I have the answers! Just do what I do!” You have to observe them as much as they are observing you. They are a developing community, not a disabled community.
This was one of the greatest experiences of my life. I was able to serve with friends and family in one of the most enriching cultures I have encountered. To see a micro-savings program that works to move people forward in life is heart warming. The work pushed me out of my comfort zone and yet allowed me to feel as though what I can do actually makes a difference. I learned so much from the native Cambodians and feel that it has changed my life. I would do this again in a heart beat!
I learned the true meaning of sustainability. Before my expedition, I did not know how important sustainability is to an individual, family or community. I always thought that helping others meant providing them with ‘things,’ but never understood that the true meaning of help is actually teaching to be independent of aid. That’s what GOA does.
It’s good to help… but the best way to help is not to treat the symptoms but the causes of those symptoms. That is the sweetest part of sustainability and self-reliance. That is what I learned. That is what our village has learned thanks to GOA. Thank you GOA for sustainable development solutions!
GOA’s expedition to Israel is a matchless way to serve directly as a teacher to not only build a child’s character, but also to develop their personal talents and expand their English-speaking abilities. There are many good causes out there and you only have to look to your own home to find ways to serve those around you. But I would participate in this program again because I realize that I am capable of being a strong resource to its progress. I think of service as a selfish selflessness—that I receive joy as I give what I can of my heart and hands. As I gave my heart and hands to the children of Nazareth, I felt joy that I have had yet to feel in other service opportunities.
This was such an amazing experience! I have always dreamed of serving in Africa–and this was more than I could have asked for! Not only were we able to provide meaningful service, we were able to fully immerse in the culture, meet amazing people, learn about sustainable development and self-reliance, and form wonderful friendships with the community.
Lisa, North Carolina
My experience with Global Outreach Alliance was absolutely incredible! I really admire GOA for promoting self reliance so that people can be independent and become more educated. Because of my experience, I am definitely a lot more aware of my surroundings and different cultures. I am a lot more careful of what organizations I give my money to.
It was a truly unique experience in that sense that we could immerse ourselves into another culture and at the same time give back in such a powerful way. The work was challenging but really worth it. I, as well as the children I worked with, really benefited from the camp. And it’s great to know the work will continue even when I’m gone.
I have had opportunities and experiences that I never would have had if it weren’t for GOA. There was a such an incredible reverence and respect for culture and community from GOA that I haven’t seen from many other people, let alone an organization. It was amazing to see [our] projects make such an impression and take off. There are extremely few opportunities like this that make an invaluable impact on your life and your character. I am so thankful that I was able to be a part of this team and to help inspire real change.
What did I learn during my time in Nazareth with Global Outreach Alliance? I learned to empathize more. I learned to talk less and listen more. I learned how to go with the flow, become less focused on me and more focused on learning about others. I discovered how asking a question rather than telling an answer is much more satisfying and makes those being asked feel valued.
After one day I realized it’s not always about what language you speak, but the LOVE you show towards others. GOA is a perfect example of this. You go into this not knowing anyone and from day one the GOA directors and team leaders were nothing but loving, caring, and passionate towards every single one of us camp counselors and the locals themselves. Overall my experience was indescribable and life changing! Thanks you GOA for letting me give back–I can’t wait for my next GOA adventure.