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A Month “at the Beach" Solidified This Teen's Career Goals

When Kevin Payne was 5, he told his mom he wanted to work in wildlife conservation, and turtles were at the top of his list. This past July, the sophomore at Columbia Gorge Community College got his wish while serving as a volunteer at Sea Turtle Inc., an animal protection organization in South Padre Island, Texas.

Payne assisted the on-site veterinarians with the day-to-day care of "Alison," the group's resident turtle who just so happens to have a prosthetic flipper. He also helped release baby sea turtles to the wild. Definitely more than just a "day at the beach"!

His most memorable moment? "When I helped move a turtle's nest to a protected area to avoid disruption from cars and tourists."

Whether it's trying your hand at a career in caring, like Payne did, or pitching in as a pastime, volunteering is an ideal way to make your mark—and book some mileage abroad, should you so desire.

How to get started:
  • Conduct an online search for an association affiliated with a cause close to your heart, and find out more about events near you.
  • Get involved in a handful of local projects. If it's a good fit, inquire about opportunities around the globe.
  • You can also head straight to Projects Abroad, which showcases volunteer and intern abroad programs in 30+ developing countries.
Whatever you choose to do, you will come back changed—guaranteed! 

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