No. 32 – Helping with Free Community Classes

Our girls have learned on this trip that service work doesn’t necessarily have to feel like work. Our time helping with free community classes in Siem Reap was a perfect example of this. The girls played. They jumped rope. They read books, worked on puzzles, and helped with art projects. All in all, not a bad volunteer gig for a kid.

For the last couple weeks we’ve been spending a lot of time at Journeys Within Our Community, known locally as JWOC. Founded by the owners of  a tour company and hotel, JWOC has been helping the community and connecting tourists to the needs of developing nations since 2005. The organization supports programs throughout Southeast Asia to improve living conditions through health, education, economic development, and emergency relief projects.

JWOC’s organizational model provides university scholarships to qualifying students, and in exchange these young people help run the organization’s programs. They teach free classes, assist with the microfinance program, and serve as field officers in the Clean Water project. This powerful model maximizes the local community’s involvement in the programs and gives JWOC a pipelines of knowledgeable, well-trained staff who truly understand the needs of their fellow citizens.

Our family’s first project with JWOC involved assisting with the free classes and helping children visiting the facility’s free community library. As usual, we took away more from the experience than we contributed. While helping kids use scissors and glue sticks during art class and reading books to them in the library, our girls learned once again how easy it is to make friends and have fun in a new place, regardless of language, background, or nationality.
JWOC Helping
JWOC Art class
Art projects

About the Author

Tracey Carisch

Mom, wife, friend and change agent traveling the world with my family to learn our place in it. After spending a career in organizational change management and community initiative implementation, I put my career on hold for our family's trip around the world. In April of 2014 we sold almost everything we own, put the rest in a storage container, and departed on this journey. While my husband continued his software development work to financially support our trip, I planned and documented our adventure, homeschooled our three daughters, and found volunteer work opportunities for us to do in the communities we visit. Now that we've returned to the U.S., I'm completing book about our family's adventure and our lessons learned.

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