Judy Marx, a three-time Global Volunteer alumna, said an ancient Judaism tradition, Tikkun Olam (Hebrew for “world repair”), propelled her search for international volunteer opportunities. The world is imperfect, the lesson teaches, but is in our own hands to make it better every day. Judy and her husband John said they’ve since discovered that volunteerism abroad changed their perspective on travel, and taught them that when you serve others, you gain far more than you give.


“Five years ago, a simple search on the internet led my husband, John, and me to the Global Volunteers website. We had never heard of Global Volunteers before, and were hoping that the internet might point us in the direction of more than just another trip. Don’t get me wrong,” she insisted, “We’d loved our Caribbean beach vacations, observing unique creatures in Alaska and the Galapagos, dining in French restaurants under the stars, and biking in charming hill towns in Tuscany.”

“We had been exceedingly fortunate to have been able to live in and travel to numerous communities and countries worldwide. But that summer was different, we wanted something more.”

“Jewish tradition had taught us that through voluntarism, you invariably get back much more than you give. So, that summer, we decided to give it a try, and serve for the first time with Global Volunteers in Montana. We were ready to leave behind our green guides, our bicycles, our bathing suits,  our hiking boots, and binoculars. I have to admit, after doing it, it does change the way that you travel in the future.  We had been exceedingly fortunate to have been able to live in and travel to numerous communities and countries worldwide. But that summer was different, we wanted something more.”

volunteerism Portugal

Judy (on the far right) with some her teammates in Beja, Portugal. Judy and John say they treasure their three Global Volunteers programs.

“John and I look back upon our three Global Volunteer “vacations” as particularly meaningful travel experiences.”

That first program on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in Montana led to two subsequent programs in Beja, Portugal. Judy says:”Through Global Volunteers, we have had the opportunity to meet and have an impact (in a very small way) on individuals far from home. We’ve had the chance to tour historical sights, museums and many wonders of the ancient and modern world, but what we continue to cherish the most is the times when we have been lucky enough to connect with people of other cultures.  John and I look back upon our three Global Volunteer ‘vacations’ as particularly meaningful travel experiences. We certainly intend to be a part of the Global Volunteers  family for many years to come.”

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