What does “Giving Back” look like?
One of the key pillars of a Spark Ventures impact travel experience is the opportunity to give back. Many times we get questions about what this looks like, and we thought we could unpack it a bit here. Let’s start with what we believe is the best foundation for an empowering and meaningful experience.
Rooted in Deep Partnerships / Based on Real Needs
Spark’s opportunities to give back grow out of our long-term partnerships with the community through NGOs like Hope and Las Tías. We work with our partners to determine what types of activities are going to be beneficial to them – in other words, what do they need – what would they like us to help with?
Culturally Sensitive & Empowering
While some organizations champion the idea of volunteers going in to build a house or a school, Spark has a different approach. We know that these communities have plenty of local workers anxious to be employed for such types of projects, so we are careful not to take jobs away or come in as the “western saviors” to fix their problems. But with time and discussion, we have identified three specific ways to give back that are both meaningful to the travelers and beneficial to the local community…
Creative, Physical and Strategic
Spark Travelers have the opportunity to give back by engaging in projects that are creative, physical or strategic. Creative projects may academic learning or reading, art, music and sports. Physical activities include giving local workers a break from their regular duties in the kitchen, serving meals or coming alongside of various work projects like painting, planting or landscaping. Strategic activities are designed to match travelers with specific skill sets or backgrounds with organizational, business or leadership development related needs and opportunities.
By intentionally identifying opportunities for engagement that best leverage the skills of our travelers to support the true needs of our community partners, we empower everyone involved. We believe this approach not only leads to the most beneficial and sustainable impact for Spark’s international partners, but also the most powerful experience for those who travel with us.