In response to growing interest among travelers to combine volunteer service with traditional vacation elements, Jamaica’s tourism officials launched a section of VisitJamaica.com that offers a database of faith, health and education-based volunteer programs.
More categories will appear as they become available.
“The Jamaica Tourist Board is focused on allowing visitors to have an enriching experience while they vacation on the island,” said Paul Pennicook, Jamaica's director of tourism.
“While our Jamaican people will surely benefit from the assistance of altruistic travelers, we hope that these travelers take home with them an experience of a lifetime,” he said.
From the home page, visitors go to the “Feel the Vibe” tab and click “Volunteer in Jamaica.” They’ll find a list of activities, along with an FAQ section and a guide to volunteering in Jamaica.
A sampling of opportunities includes:
* Girls’ Brigade: visitors will participate in empowerment sessions with girls, imparting values and principles.
* Angels of Love, a health-based volunteer program, provides volunteer services for critically ill, underprivileged children of Jamaica. This could involve a visit to a hospital to play with the children or helping plan a fundraising event.
* Children First, an organization that caters to the needs of children through education. Volunteers can participate to help out at a youth wellness center, a mobile health clinic or through numerous educational programs.