2014-02-14

Valentines Day

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Bringing love into a volunteering experience

Cafés and restaurants promote special offers. Stores and shops start decorating in colours like red and pink. Heart cut-outs appear in windows, heart-shaped cookies and cakes fill the shelves in your local panaderías, and even the supermarket around the corner puts up a display with cards. You can see and feel it everywhere: love is in the air in Buenos Aires and Valentines Day cannot be far.

El Día de los Enamorados (Valentine's Day) is celebrated in Argentina like it is in the rest of the world: couples exchange cute little gifts such as chocolate and flowers, they go out for a nice dinner and celebrate their love, their relationship and their affection to one another. However, when Valentine's Day is over many couples go back to their daily routine and stop working on their relationship. Daily life often lacks original and creative ways to spend your time together as a couple and show your affection beyond the occasional gift or flowers.

Still, over the years at Voluntario Global we have seen that there are other ways to celebrate your bond as a couple and develop your relationship. Volunteering and travelling as a couple will be a life-changing experience that you will remember fondly for many years to come. Volunteering itself is a rewarding experience but doing it with a loved one makes it even more special. You share a joint purpose and dedicate your time and skills to a cause that both of you believe in. You will also have the chance to combine your interests and knowledge and to get to know each other in a new way. You don't only share your love with each other but open your heart to a community and let them be part of it. 

Just last month Voluntario Global welcomed newlyweds Ronan and Claire O´Sullivan to the community. The two volunteers helped out in a soup kitchen with a connected kindergarten in Barracas, a neighbourhood just a 20 minutes bus ride from the centre of Buenos Aires and situated close to the well-known ‘La Boca’ neighbourhood. Claire volunteered in the kitchen and Ronan helped building a play area for the children outside. Their decision to volunteer as a couple is a great example of taking your love to another culture and sharing it with the local people. Instead of spending their honeymoon in a beach resort, Ronan and Claire dedicated their holidays to getting to know a new culture, giving back to local communities and share their love with the people in need.

Another inspiring story came to us through Isabel and Henry, who brought their toddler Nina to Buenos Aires to volunteer in a kindergarten. Dedicating themselves for a good cause as a whole family showed us a special way of sharing love, which was not only reflected by them giving love to the people in need but by them also receiving sympathy and love from the locals, especially towards their daughter Nina. Altruism and charity begin at home – Isabel and Henry live this out. True role models from again another generation were Dianne and Paul Cross, an elderly British couple (both in their fifties) that went abroad to celebrate their wedding anniversary in a unique way. Dianne and Paul volunteered in a soup kitchen in the neighborhood La Boca where they dedicated their time and energy to providing food to those in need.

For them this was not only an opportunity to give back but also allowed them to deepen their relationship by sharing an experience that let them appreciate how lucky they are even more. Three generations of love, three relationships, one purpose. Volunteering as a couple is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that will not only benefit the project and the local community but also provide the opportunity to develop your relationship. For the people in need they are inspiring role models that combine their shared values, interests and skills to truly make a difference.  

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Voluntario Global helps local communities by being available to discuss anything that local organizations need, and offering ideas for further change and development.
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