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March 2005 - Feature Article 1

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FEATURE ARTICLE 1
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FEATURE ARTICLE 1

A Box of Toys

A Cause & Its Long-term Effects

One day a letter arrived from Save the Children or UNICEF, I can't remember which. I do remember opening it with excitement though. They had received the money I had sent the month before. The letter read something like this:

“Thank you for your donation of $7.60. Your contribution will provide milk for at least one child for over a year.”

It said other things too but this is what I remember most. It amazed me that such a little amount of money could do so much. It amazed me that such little effort could make such a difference.

I don't know from whence came the little voice telling me I could help other kids if I put some of my used toys in a box and became a door-to-door sales-kid. Raising and sending that $7.60 was one of the most empowering experiences I have had in my 38 years. I was 7, and I was hooked.

I know many of us have an inner voice telling us that we need to do more than just be aware of the hardships of others in this world… and, here at home. But not everyone's voice tells them what they can do to begin. They don't know where to start, where to discover their “'box of toys'."

Even with this kind of empowerment at a young age, my inner voice has been muffled throughout my adult life by the many obstacles and events life presents all of us. There were times when thinking about all the help needed in this world paralyzed me.

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In another twist, as I got deeper into my career in travel and destination management, I've felt as though my goals for giving humanitarian service were moving further and further away. I didn't realize that I was actually developing skills that position me closer to these dreams with more power than I imagined. A power I share with you, my fellow travel and tourism professionals.

What makes this power large is how we can empower others! “The power is in the difference we will make if we use our professional skills to provide travelers their opportunity for community service on a Global scale.”

Having the experiences of being overwhelmed just makes it easier to come up with solutions for people whose compassion and willingness to contribute outweigh their limited time or skill to coordinate the giving of service.

It is my belief that the more we introduce the concept and related products into the marketplace the higher the demand will become. I believe that the VolunTourism Forum fuels our power further by providing a base and foundation that can be used year-round for networking ideas and sharing best practices.

Like many of you, I've been on my “empower trip”for some time now. I know it's time to push this to the next level; and as I face the risks and excitement, I realize how simple it really is.

When we combine our compassion with our skills for the development and marketing of VolunTourism products, we become the link that has been missing between compassionate travelers and their power. We help others to discover their “box of toys”and create fulfilling work for ourselves along the way.

Karma Brophy, Inbound West Destination Management

Vancouver Island , BC, Canada karma[at]inboundwest.com

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