The Good News Project Board of Directors, at a regular quarterly meeting on June 27, 2016, engaged in a serious discussion which prompted an important decision about 2017 GNP activities. After reviewing current information from the CDC and other international health resources about the Zika virus epidemic in Caribbean countries, the Board decided not to send GNP volunteer groups to St. Lucia, St. Vincent and Dominica in January and February, 2017. This was a difficult decision for the GNP Board of Directors, most of whom are also international volunteers, and all of whom are concerned about the health and safety of GNP volunteers.
Good News Project leaders have communicated with medical leaders in the islands and have been advised that, “more money and fewer volunteers” would be the preferred option in early 2017. No good statistics are available, but we know they are already seeing, “lots of Zika patients”. Our St. Lucian coordinator and two of her three children have had Zika.
This is a temporary moratorium. In a year the situation may be much different, if the epidemic of infection has peaked in the Caribbean as it has in Brazil, and if vaccine research currently underway has produced positive results.
Please consider joining us in 2018 when we plan to again offer service opportunities abroad!
“All the people that I met were so kind, loving and welcoming. I felt right at home. I had an amazing experience…because I truly felt like I made a difference in the lives of others, and Good News Project gave me the opportunity to do that” ~ Brennan Schneider (first time volunteer in Jan 2014)
Even if you’re determined to do some good in the world, you know you can’t simply get off an airplane in a developing country and announce, “I’m here to help!” If you really want to accomplish anything, there are practical questions to ask yourself, ‘Where will I stay?’ and ‘How will I get around?’ The desire to build basic shelter for the truly needy is not enough by itself. You need tools, lumber, plans, permits and helpers. If you want to teach or provide medical care, you will need access to get into schools, clinics, orphanages, prisons or nursing homes.
Whether you are a college student, a retiree or somewhere in between, you need connections with an effective agency. Otherwise, you are just another tourist or well-meaning citizen. Hundreds of people each year team up with Good News Project to help needy people in the West Indies.
You volunteer. We’ll handle the details!
Good News participation is open to adult volunteers of any faith who are in good health and are willing and able to work. The cost to participate varies with destination, airline fares (plus overnight hotel stays while traveling) and living expenses. You can expect your total cost to be between $2,000 to $2,700 US. Some volunteers take part in more than one two-week project, which allows only one airline transaction and therefore is more cost effective. These participation expenses are tax deductible “as an expense in giving service to a charitable organization.” (IRS Code #170)
How do I prepare for my volunteer trip?
The Good News Project year is very cyclical. On January 1 our volunteer groups are off and running and will be arriving in destinations and returning home every two weeks until March. It takes us a good six weeks to gather all of our paperwork, reconcile our multiple accounts and set participation fees that volunteers can count on for the following year! Our staff gets together in March and, after talking with trip leaders, we set project goals for the following year. By the end of April we set travel dates, volunteer skill requirements and recruit trip leaders for the next season’s trip. At this point, our office will send out a letter and application to past participants and anyone who has expressed interest throughout the year. Trips tend to fill up fast, so don’t delay in getting your application to us!
During the second half of the year prior to the trip, our office stays in touch with each volunteer through email sending packing lists, island information, luggage and basic trip preparations. In the two weeks prior to leave, all details haven been discussed and the travelers are usually ready to go!
During the months of January and February, when the groups are in the West Indies, there is constant communication between our offices and the travelers. Updates are frequently given to us and posted on Facebook…and our FB following grows. It’s a great way for family members to stay ‘in the loop.’
Would you like detailed information about future trips? When we know the status of 2018 trips, this block will be filled with lots of details. Stay tuned.
Would you like us to include you as a possible prospect for future service opportunities? When we have information about our 2018 trips, we will mail you information. Please contact us to let us know.