Volunteer-based vacations have become a popular option for today’s travelers, combining travel with community involvement, education and worthy causes. Some of the most common types of volunteering include disaster relief, wildlife conservation and humanitarian work. There are hundreds of opportunities for charity happening throughout Florida. So jump in and give back!

We’ve highlighted nine worthy ‘voluntourism’ opportunities below. Consider lending a helping hand to these organizations while planning your next trip to the Sunshine State and you’ll help people and animals in need.

Habitat for Humanity of Key West and the Lower Florida Keys

In their own words: Key West and Lower Keys Habitat for Humanity believes that every man, woman and child should have a decent, safe and affordable place to live. Habitat for Humanity builds and repairs houses using volunteer labor and donations. Our partner families purchase these houses through no-profit, no-interest mortgage loans or innovative financing methods.

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The Key West Tropical Forest & Botanical Garden

In their own words: The Key West Botanical Garden Society is governed by an all volunteer board of directors and has been the “keeper of the trees” since 1989. The society preserves, develops, expands and maintains the historic Key West Botanical Garden as an arboretum, botanical garden, wildlife refuge and education center. The land is owned by the City of Key West

The garden showcases flora native to The Florida Keys, Cuba, and the Caribbean and emphasizes cultivation of threatened and endangered species of the Florida Keys. This society encourages study of this collection and promotes the benefits of native vegetation worldwide. The society provides educational programs for all age groups and various levels of interest geared to Keys residents, tourists, plant experts and others.

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Reef Environmental Education Foundation

In their own words: REEF was founded in 1990, out of growing concern about the health of the marine environment, and the desire to provide the SCUBA diving community a way to contribute to the understanding and protection of marine populations. REEF achieves this goal primarily through its volunteer fish monitoring program, the REEF Fish Survey Project. Participants in the Project not only learn about the environment they are diving in, but they also produce valuable information. Scientists, marine park staff, and the general public use the data that are collected by REEF volunteers.

REEF conserves marine environments worldwide. Our mission is to protect biodiversity and ocean life by actively engaging and inspiring the public through citizen science, education, and partnerships with the scientific community.

REEF envisions divers and marine enthusiasts actively engaging in marine conservation. With knowledge, training and the opportunity to get involved, these marine citizen scientists make significant and ongoing contributions through REEF’s strategic partnerships with government agencies, science and academic institutions, the non-profit sector, and local communities. Divers and snorkelers are in a unique position to observe and document the many valuable and vulnerable living marine resources. They play an important role in bringing information to the surface that adds to the knowledge base of ocean ecosystems and facilitates informed decision-making. Through REEF’s efforts, marine citizen scientists impart an ethic of stewardship to current and future generations.

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Manatee Observation and Education Center

In their own words: Being a volunteer at the Manatee Observation & Education Center is rewarding. Whether looking for something fun to do, the opportunity to meet new friends, add to your resumé, or earn school credit, the Manatee Center may be the right fit for you!

From retired professionals to high school students – they have an energetic, dedicated volunteer force called the ManaTeam! We offer a variety of roles such as Greeter, Discovery Guide, Roving Naturalist, Exhibit and Program Interpretation, Gift Shop and Merchandising Assistants, Education Assistants, Camp Counselors, Office Administrative support, Special Events, Social Media and much more. There is sure to be the perfect fit for you!

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Give Kids the World

In their own words: Volunteering at Give Kids The World Village inspires hope, creates priceless memories, and helps kids with life-threatening illnesses and their families celebrate life. It means being a part of an organization that is truly unique. And it means giving your best and feeling your best.

Imagine greeting a family at the airport with a sign made especially for a child whose wish is about to begin. Imagine the feeling of delivering a complimentary pizza to a smiling, grateful family. Imagine the joy of helping a child who uses a wheelchair onto their first-ever ride at Lori’s Magical Flight.

With more than four million volunteer hours logged, over a quarter of a million volunteers have shared countless heart-to-heart moments like these. Whether you’re in the Central Florida area, interested in a volunteer vacation, or an Alumni Family wanting to give back, we invite you to apply today to become a part of our volunteer family.

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Florida Oceanographic Society

In their own words: Join our mission to inspire environmental stewardship of Florida’s coastal ecosystems through education, research and advocacy. With more than 8,500 miles of tidal shoreline, 2.1 million acres of estuaries and 30 percent of the state’s land cover consisting of wetlands, Florida’s relationship to water is vital to the prosperity of our state.

Since 1964, Florida Oceanographic Society has worked to protect our coastal ecosystems through education and research. I invite you to get involved today: visit the Coastal Center, become a member, and volunteer. Together, let’s inspire environmental stewardship for generations to come.

Florida Oceanographic Society needs your help! Whether you are looking to volunteer, donate or become a member or business partner, your support is vital to both Florida Oceanographic and to our mission. Get involved today!
The volunteer program at Florida Oceanographic is successful because it attracts dedicated, enthusiastic and passionate people who live our mission. We currently have over 250 volunteers integrated into every aspect of our organization. Volunteers take ownership and pride in working with Florida Oceanographic and contribute thousands of hours each year.

A variety of volunteer opportunities exist at Florida Oceanographic Coastal Center for individuals 15 and older. We also have family and group opportunities with project specific activities that take place throughout the year.

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South Florida Wildlife Center

In their own words: Volunteers and interns/externs play a critical role at SFWC by expanding our ability to rescue and rehabilitate injured and orphaned wildlife. In 2017, our volunteers donated over 11,000 hours of service and helped us care for more than 12,000 animals. In addition, our intern/extern program helps educate the next generation of wildlife rehabilitators, veterinarians, biologists and other science-related professionals.

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Hands On Orlando

In their own words: Hands On Orlando helps you help others. We plan, manage and lead a wide variety of volunteer projects that you can join, as well as awesome corporate team building projects. HOO enables you to help the homeless and hungry, children and families, seniors, veterans, women, the environment, animals…and so much more. Hands On Orlando, serves people who volunteer during projects that it manages that benefit third-party charities and people who need help.

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Feeding South Florida

In their own words: We rescue 46 million pounds of food per year and before we can distribute it, product needs to be inspected and sorted to ensure food is safe for consumption before distributing it. Whether you’re a group or an individual, we are always in need of volunteers to assist with the sort process. We can accommodate large groups and specialize in team-building and special event sort days!

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