Sunday, 28 February 2010 17:41

Chris Gresback: East Dallas woman mixes work, play with volunteer vacations Featured

Was there a lull in East Dallas last week? My neighbors commented on how quiet it was on our block.
Maybe it had something to do with the "senior" spring break trip I took with 66 East Dallas neighbors to Mexico. Woodrow Wilson High seniors, that is. At least one friend heard it wrong and misunderstood it to be a group of senior citizens.
All the relaxation may have shocked my system. My days consisted of lounging on the beach and reading. The most difficult decision was what to eat. Next time, maybe I need to combine a little work with pleasure just to keep my body in sync.
East Dallas resident Kimberly Haley-Coleman, 38, might have just the combination for such a vacation. She is the founder of Globe Aware, a nonprofit vacation business that offers volunteer vacations in Brazil, Cambodia, China, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ghana, Jamaica, Laos, Mexico, Nepal, Peru, Romania, Thailand and Vietnam.
Globe Aware offers a one-week adventure in service with a focus on cultural awareness and sustainability. The trips are often compared to a "mini Peace Corps." All program costs, including airfare, are tax-deductible.
Kimberly holds an M.B.A. in international business from the University of Dallas. She is a recipient of the Texas Business Hall of Fame Scholarship Award, and has an M.A. from Southern Methodist University and a B.A. from Emory University.
As a third-generation White Rock Lake resident, Kimberly's love of international escape stems from traveling abroad as a young girl with her grandmother. The area known as Jackson Point at White Rock Lake was where Kimberly's grandparents, Margaret and A.A. Jackson III, lived for many years.
"Unlike a regular vacation, during which you may spend a good deal of time on a tourist bus and in lines at museums, our trips allow you to learn things such as how to cook local cuisine, sing with local schoolchildren, work side by side on local community projects," Kimberly said. "Few vacations provide a way to bond so closely with local cultures in so short a time. The experience will likely change how you see the world."
The road of life takes us to many destinations. Thank goodness sometimes the destinations are as predictable as a spring break excursion. With a little ingenuity and open-mindedness, the destination can be a life-changing experience.
For more information on Globe Aware vacations, go to www.globeaware.org.
Chris Gresback is a freelance writer in Lakewood.

Additional Info

  • Source: Dallas Morning News
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