5 Volunteer Vacations to Take with Your Family - United Hub

5 volunteer vacations to take with your family

By Matt Chernov

Though some might imagine the typical volunteer as a college student gaining valuable life experiences in a far-off country, the truth is that all types of people generously donate their time and energy every day. More than ever, this includes families volunteering together while on vacation.

Beyond the benefits that volunteering can have on the community, the values it instills in young people are priceless. Children and teens who volunteer learn life skills, develop empathy and gain a feeling of self-respect and confidence that will last well into the future. To help you plan a volunteer vacation, here are five destinations and programs that you can share with your entire family.

Farm Sanctuary - Watkins Glen, New York

Located in the majestic Finger Lakes region of upstate New York, this animal rescue and adoption facility — the largest of its kind in the country — provides care and treatment for a variety of livestock, including cattle, pigs, goats, sheep and wild donkeys. Visitors can tour the grounds or reserve one of several picturesque Bed & Breakfast cabins located on-site. If accompanied by a parent, children between the ages of 12 and 17 can volunteer for a six-hour shift as a farm assistant, with duties including fence repair, barn cleaning, gardening and painting. An unforgettable experience for young volunteers with a passion for protecting animals, Farm Sanctuary has been in business for three decades and also includes two locations in California.

Youth Rebuilding New Orleans - New Orleans, Louisiana

One of the most deadly and destructive natural disasters in the history of the United States, Hurricane Katrina caused devastating effects to New Orleans that are still felt to this day. Thankfully, organizations like Youth Rebuilding New Orleans (YRNO) have made an enormous difference to those whose lives were impacted by the storm. YRNO hosts volunteer groups of all sizes and ages, from school trips and church groups to individual families. As new homes continue to be built in the city's hardest hit areas, volunteers are needed to help with everything from demolition and framing to painting and landscaping. Teens who are at least 15 years old are encouraged to donate their time and energy to this important humanitarian cause. Children under 15 require a parent or guardian to be present.

The Lanai Cat Sanctuary - Lanai City, Hawaii

It's one thing to adopt a kitten or two, but it's quite another to care for more than 500 of them. And that's why this nonprofit cat sanctuary, located on one of Hawaii's most tranquil islands, needs your family's help. Dependent on the charity of visitors, the Lanai Cat Sanctuary was established in 2009 to care for the island's large cat population. Today, the facility's mobile veterinary clinic offers an individualized treatment plan for each cat, including sterilization, X-rays and medical services. Volunteers of all ages are needed to help feed, clean and care for the sanctuary's friendly feline residents, and to deliver much needed items like cat beds, play toys, baskets and clay litter.

The Solmar Foundation - Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

With ocean views, fine dining and world-class swimming pools, Solmar Hotels and Resorts offer visitors to Cabo San Lucas the most relaxing family vacation imaginable. Yet as committed as they are to providing guests with an experience they won't forget, the company's nonprofit Solmar Foundation is equally passionate about caring for the needs of the surrounding community. Supplying much-needed medical, social and educational services to the poorest citizens of Mexico's Baja Peninsula, the Solmar Foundation takes volunteers on a twice-weekly guided tour of the area's charitable organizations, including the San Miguel Nursing Home, the Cabo San Lucas Orphanage and the San Juan Diego Shelter. Guests can bring toys, school supplies, stickers and coloring books, as well as new or gently used clothing for women and infants, which will then be distributed directly to those who need it most.

Globe Aware - Orosi Valley, Costa Rica

Since 1990, the nonprofit organization Globe Aware has been creating short-term volunteer opportunities around the world for people who want to give back, regardless of their experience levels. Though they regularly assist solo travelers, church groups and corporate clients, family volunteering has become one of their most popular categories. The program they offer in Costa Rica's stunning Orosi Valley is particularly suited for families with children. All projects are designed for unskilled volunteers and include tasks like teaching English, installing road signs, building recycling stations and constructing chicken coops. Volunteer vacationers in the Orosi Valley can stay in one of several mountaintop houses, complete with electricity and laundry facilities onsite and healthy and delicious Costa Rican meals.

When you've decided which volunteer vacation is right for your family, visit united.com to book your trip.

United's regional presidents join respective Governor's COVID-19 task force

By Ryan Wilks, May 21, 2020

As a member in the tourism, travel and transportation industries, United offers a unique perspective into the economic and operational effects rippling across the U.S. To advocate United's efforts, and in anticipation of a bright future, New York/New Jersey President Jill Kaplan and California President Janet Lamkin have both been named to their states' respective governor's COVID-19 response task force committees.

Making every step of the travel journey safer for you

By United Airlines, May 20, 2020
United Clean Plus | Clorox

We remain passionate about connecting the world safely

United CleanPlus SM is our commitment to putting health and safety at the forefront of your journey, with the goal of delivering an industry-leading standard of cleanliness. We're teaming up with Clorox to redefine our cleaning and disinfection procedures, and over the coming months, we'll roll out Clorox products across our U.S. airports, starting in select locations, to help support a healthy and safe environment throughout your travel experience.

At the airport

  • At check-in:

  • 1
    Implementing temperature checks for employees and flight attendants working at hub airports
  • 2
    Installing sneeze guards at check-in and gate podiums
  • 3
    Encouraging use of the United app for contactless travel assistance and more
  • 4
    Promoting social distancing with floor decals to help customers stand 6 feet apart
  • 5
    Introducing touchless check-in for customers with bags
  • At the gate:

  • 6
    Disinfecting high-touch areas such as door handles, handrails, elevator buttons, telephones and computers
  • 7
    Providing hand sanitizer and
    disinfectant wipes
  • 8
    Allowing customers to self-scan boarding passes
  • 9
    Boarding fewer customers at a time and, after pre-boarding, boarding from the back of the plane to the front to promote social distancing

On our aircraft

  • 1
    Providing individual hand sanitizer wipes for customers
  • 2
    Requiring all customers and employees to wear a face covering and providing disposable face coverings for customers who need them
  • 3
    Temporarily removing onboard items like pillows, blankets and inflight magazines
  • 4
    Disinfecting high-touch areas, like tray tables and armrests, before boarding
  • 5
    Reducing contact between flight attendants and customers during snack and beverage service
  • 6
    Ensuring aircraft cleaning standards meet or exceed CDC guidelines
  • 7
    Applying social distancing to seating procedures when possible, including:
    • Limiting middle seat selection
    • Moving customers seated closely together
    • De-planing in groups of five rows at a time to reduce crowding
  • 8
    Using electrostatic spraying to disinfect aircraft, to be completed on all flights by mid-June
  • 9
    Using state-of-the-art, hospital-grade, high-efficiency (HEPA) filters to circulate air and remove up to 99.7% of airborne particles

Cleveland Clinic We're working closely with the experts at Cleveland Clinic to advise us on enhancing our cleaning and disinfection protocols for the safety of our employees and customers. Visit Cleveland Clinic's website to learn more about COVID-19.

A message from Scott Kirby, United’s new CEO

By The Hub team, May 20, 2020


Hello. I'm Scott Kirby, the new CEO of United Airlines. I'm a proud Air Force Academy graduate and have spent my entire career in and around aviation, including the last four years as President of United.

While I had planned for my first communication with you to be about the meaningful investments we were making to the travel experience and our continued growth across the U.S. and expansion to exciting new destinations around the world, today, the situation rendered to us by the COVID-19 pandemic leads me to a different type of message.

First, I graciously and humbly thank you for your business. Now, more than ever, our customers' loyalty is so deeply appreciated by every member of the United family.

As essential workers, the men and women of our airline have been hard at work over the past two months to transport vital medical supplies and critical goods to places that need them most, to provide free travel to healthcare professionals and to help thousands of individuals repatriate to their home countries.

Safety has always been our top priority, and right now in the midst of an unprecedented crisis, it's our singular customer focus. We recognize that COVID-19 has brought cleanliness and hygiene standards to the front of your mind when making travel decisions. We're not leaving a single stone unturned in our pursuit to protect our customers and employees.

We are installing plexiglass in lobby and gate areas, we're using the same equipment used to clean hospitals to disinfect the interiors of our aircraft, all crew and customers on board are required to wear face mask coverings and we're taking the temperature of our employees before they start work.

But at United, we're not stopping there. We're teaming up with experts from Clorox and the Cleveland Clinic to set a new standard for cleanliness and healthy flying that we are calling United CleanPlus℠.

Clorox is working closely with us to improve how we disinfect common surfaces and provide our customers with amenities that support a healthy and safe environment.

Physicians and scientists at the Cleveland Clinic, will advise us on new technologies and approaches, assist in training development and create a rigorous quality assurance program. And, as scientists learn more about how to fight COVID-19, Cleveland Clinic experts will help us use those discoveries to quickly implement new ways to keep our customers safe.

While we may not know when this pandemic will subside, what we do know is that travel is so deeply woven into the fabric of our global culture. We all desire to visit family, dance at a friend's wedding, hug parents…and see the wonders of this beautiful world. No matter how sharp the picture quality – or how strong the WiFi signal – there's simply no substitute for being there – in person – to collaborate, celebrate, explore. We are confident that travel will return. And when it does, United Airlines will be ready to serve you again in the friendly skies.

Thank you. Be well. And I look forward to seeing you on board.

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