The CCS Campus Clubs initiative allows students to start a club at their college or university with the goal of organizing a group to volunteer abroad for one week. The clubs aim to encourage students to volunteer abroad, and bring back new perspectives on community development and global issues to share with their campuses. The countries initially available include Ghana, Guatemala, and Peru, where students will be involved in volunteer work with children/youth, the elderly, and people with disabilities.
“We encourage everyone to recognize Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with a day of service. Service helps us realize our shared humanity — locally, it connects you to the needs of your community; internationally, it helps you understand the world as a global community,” said Steven Rosenthal, CCS Founder and Executive Director. “It’s important to ensure that the service continues throughout the year, and that’s why we chose this day to introduce campus clubs.”
CCS’ vision is of a world where people value cultures different from their own, are aware of global issues, and are empowered to effect positive change. Many of CCS’ 25,000 volunteers return with new or renewed enthusiasm to volunteer locally. Others affirm that volunteering with CCS provided the insight needed to commit to longer-term service with the Peace Corps, or start their own non-profit.
Al Kwak, a CCS volunteer from California said of his experience in Tanzania, “It’s continued to change my outlook on things. I’ve decided to become more involved in the community. I recently joined a mentoring program and I’m mentoring a 9-year-old boy who would be considered to be at-risk.”
Another volunteer story from the CCS website highlights Patty Menke, a Morocco and Peru volunteer, who was encouraged to volunteer domestically with at-risk youth after her experience abroad: “Patty had always wanted to volunteer with the homeless, but did not feel she had the experience to do so. However, she put her CCS experience on her resume and approached the Chicago Night Ministry, where she has now been volunteering for nearly a year.”
Pamela Jay-Paralikis, a 50-plus volunteer, was inspired to found Adopt-A-Grandparent, Inc. after she volunteered in Lima, Peru and worked at an elderly center in Villa El Salvador.
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CCS (http://www.crossculturalsolutions.org) was founded in 1995, and has supported over 25,000 people to volunteer abroad in 12 countries around the world. As a not-for-profit organization with no political or religious affiliations, CCS brings people together to work side-by-side while sharing perspectives and fostering cultural understanding.