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Volunteering And Giving Back Overseas

“Kathleen, I enjoy reading your newsletters since April 2015 and am interested in part time living in Central America. I am also interested in your ‘giveback’ stories of people who are doing projects to give back to their chosen retirement countries. I have been in Social work all my life so don’t have a huge portfolio or budget and am not interested in the resort lifestyle. But I can see all the benefits of moving overseas.

“How could I participate in an after-conference tour of some of these projects you write about or get in touch with some of these individuals doing the kinds of things I’m interested in? There are great stories in your newsletters, which I have shared with my financial advisor.”

–Holly W., United States

The best way to approach this, I’d suggest, would be to start by identifying the country where you’d like to spend time. Once you’ve decided where you want to be, finding opportunities for volunteering and giving back to your new community will come quickly and naturally.

That is, I’ve found that this agenda is best addressed organically. Here in Panama, my family and I have focused our attention on the western coast of the Azuero Peninsula. That’s where we know we’ll be spending time long term, so that’s where we’re trying to do what we can to help our neighbors.

I’m especially interested in children and education, so we donate books, computers, English-language software, etc., to the small schools in the area where we’re developing Los Islotes.

Find where you want to be and then look around for opportunities to become involved in your community as your interests direct. Would you like to work with street kids, schools, and orphanages (as I do)… or perhaps you’d rather try to do something to help the disabled or the elderly or maybe to develop basic infrastructure (for clean water, for example). Again, you’ll find no shortage of need wherever you settle.

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