This is a guest post by Mary Beth Gossman about how values don’t dry up when international volunteer opportunities do.

With the world and travel at a standstill, some of the volunteer work we would normally be engaged in may not be possible. Many people who take time from their everyday life to devote time to important causes in other parts of the world might feel at a loss with the current state of the world.

Where we would normally pick up and nurture our soul through learning and helping abroad, the sad truth is that this may not be possible or safe to do for a while. However, there are things we can do and important ways we can nourish our mind, body and spirit while engaging in helping and assisting with causes closer to home.

Here are some things you can do to carry over some of the values from volunteer work during the time that we are stuck at home.

Recognize Where Help is Needed and the Issues You Care About

There are many causes close to home that could do with some support. Why not shift focus and see how to make a change? With the current state of the world and COVID-19, many people have lost their jobs and are struggling to just get by. Rather than just sitting at home, contact your local food bank and see what you can do to help out.

Additionally, you can contact local nonprofits. Speak to them directly about any resources you might be able to offer. Whether it’s a local issue or global cause, you’d be surprised at how you can be of service remotely. Additionally, you can work to build awareness and offer resources to those in need. If you don’t want to go through an organization, you can create care packages and drop them off at homeless shelters in your area.

One of the important values we gain from our volunteer work is the spirit of humbly learning and giving. In doing so, we get fulfillment and a sense of happiness from contributing to the world in a positive way.

Just because we can’t get on an airplane doesn’t meant that we can’t impact important causes. Sometimes those who need assistance are right outside our door and all we have to do is look.

Offer Compassion

Offering compassion to those who are suffering is another way we can carry some of the important values from our volunteer work into our everyday life. This could look like a number of things. Being there to support those you love is a great way to offer compassion and guidance during this uncertain period of time.

In addition, if you are aware of anyone who is suffering in any way, now might be a good time to give them a call. Doing so will instantly lift your spirits and they’ll experience a feeling of love that everyone deserves.

Teach Cultural Values

In our current world with conflict and cultural instability, it’s important to teach those we love the importance of accepting the cultural values and differences of others. Have a conversation with your peers and children in your life. Make it a point to include someone you might not normally feel connected to. Consider enrolling your child in a preschool or elementary school that teaches social responsibility and offers a strong cultural foundation.

Nonetheless, your efforts in doing so will be rewarded with a deeper understanding of our differences and a more inclusive mindset going forward. This is an important reason to teach cultural values while we can’t volunteer abroad.


Although the current climate of our world makes it difficult to travel abroad to volunteer, there are many things you can do to promote the same spirit of love and compassion closer to home. We hope this post has been informative and wish you the best in your effort of carrying out values from volunteer work into your everyday life.

Mary Beth Gossman is a freelance writer living in the New York area.