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With deep sorrow, we learned the news of Sue Laxdal’s passing this week.
Sue was a dedicated and beloved member of the Global Volunteers Board of Trustees and Board of Directors since 1984, and her lifelong commitment to humanitarian causes defined her as an exemplary individual. Her service as a volunteer or team leader with Global Volunteers extended across a wide range of partner communities in the United States (including Mississippi, Minnesota, and Hawaii), as well as internationally in Australia, Italy (twice), Greece, Hungary, Poland (twice), Tanzania, Peru, St. Lucia, and Cuba. Her tireless service of thousands of volunteer hours touched the lives of individuals on six continents, leaving a lasting impact on countless communities worldwide.
Sue was a stalwart supporter of Global Volunteers’ programs, vision, and philosophy. Through her activism, voice, and ethics, Sue championed the right for all people to reach their full potential. She was a fierce protector of peace and justice for every human being.
She was instrumental in facilitating Global Volunteers’ initial Strategic Plan and envisioning change through engagement with staff and board members. A trained teacher of the Technology of Participation (ToP) methods, Sue helped us navigate through critical stages of growth and global challenge. As a Trustee, she advised our Board of Directors in critical planning, decision-making, and participatory management.
During her career, Sue consulted with corporations, governments, and non-profits in participatory approaches to organization development, operational planning, transition management, management development, and organization analysis. She earned a Bachelor‘s Degree in Business Administration and a Master’s in Organization Development at Pepperdine University. Sue is a founding member of Minnesota Worldwide Women, Minnesota Facilitator’s Network (MFN), International Association of Facilitators (IAF), and MSOD Alumni Network.
As a sought-after trainer, she designed curricula for team-building, managing conflict, effective leadership, and project management. She used her expertise for good; always with the best possible ends in mind. Her gentle guidance, endless compassion, and unwavering friendship will be deeply missed, and Sue will be forever remembered.
Our volunteers are compassionate, committed individuals – professionals, retirees, students, tradespeople, and others from all backgrounds who know the power of positive, collective action. Working together in teams and under the direction of local leaders, volunteers nourish children, mentor youth, teach students, support parents, encourage refugees, inspire teachers, care for patients, and span the globe responding to community needs wherever we’re invited to serve.
Then, join us – as a volunteer or funder – and make real change happen in the world.
At Global Volunteers, we take a positive, innovative approach to comprehensive human and economic development. We leverage the world’s endlessly renewable resource – volunteers – to catalyze change while always working under the direction of resourceful local leaders. Our volunteers create, nurture, and sustain the well-being of the world’s children and their families through targeted service in homes, classrooms, clinics, community centers, hospitals, orphanages, childcare centers, libraries, government offices, and farm fields to provide essential services; helping children thrive. We’re invited by community leaders all over the world to serve alongside local people in one-to-three-week service programs; investing in long-term development projects. We support the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals on safe, meaningful, impactful, service-learning projects, and have earned the highest possible ratings from external nonprofit evaluators, validating that Global Volunteers acts with integrity and transparency, is highly effective, and exceeds industry standards across virtually all areas.
“Volunteering abroad holds magic on so many fronts. It’s the springboard for my global explorations. I can’t imagine one without the other anymore.”
-Seija Webb, 8-time Global Volunteer
Teach conversational English to enthusiastic learners in the fascinating cities of Xi’an and Kunming
Tutor English & Math in the spectacular tropical island of Rarotonga
Help K-6 grade students with literacy, basic math and science. Organize or paint a classroom. Repair a playground or assist with a school garden. Assist parents and teachers who are trying to ensure their children can reach their potential.
Build bridges of friendship through conversational English classes and other support of the Cuban people in Ciego de Ávila or Havana.
Nurture and educate young children on the margins of Quito in the Andes Mountains
Teach conversational English to students of all ages in a seaside town on the island of Crete
Help Lakota people improve their quality of life on the plains near the nation’s prominent tourist destinations.
Teach conversational English to eager youth in a picturesque coastal community
Teach conversational English, engage in light labor and care for children in Kathmandu.
Serve impoverished children and families, and teach English to adult students in the bustling city of Lima
Teach conversational English and immerse yourself in the Polish culture of Siedlce and the mountains of Zakopane.
Teach conversational English to elementary, high school, and university students in historic Beja
Lend a helping hand to impoverished families who struggle to earn a living, educate their children and contribute to a spiritually rich community.
Help women and children reach their full potential in an impoverished seaside village
Support a community’s quest for development through nutrition, health and education projects
Work on community projects alongside members of the Blackfeet Nation outside Glacier National Park
Wage peace through service with conversational English classes for students and professionals in historic Hanoi
“Granddaddy of the volunteer vacation movement.”
“Bud and Michele established Global Volunteers to provide people with an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of children around the globe.”
“The work they accomplish meets needs in little-known areas that might not be on the radar of large-scale efforts.”
“Global Volunteers is one of the oldest nonsectarian organizations to offer short-term volunteer vacations.”
“A model that has been replicated worldwide.”
“Global Volunteers has what are regarded as the best programs in the field.”
“Global Volunteers is at the leading edge of the surge in popularity of volunteer vacations.”
“Travel with a conscience and help people on a Global Volunteers journey.”
“In 1979 Michele Gran and Bud Philbrook helped people in a poor mountain village in Guatemala. That lead to Global Volunteers — spiritually fulfilling, intellectually stimulating and incidentally tax-deductible volunteer vacations.”
“Though the volunteers may be vacationers, the aid they bring is real.”
10 Best Volunteer Abroad Organizations: “A pioneer of volunteer vacations organizations, Global Volunteers was founded in 1984 – that is, long before it was a trend.”