Soul Sister Travels breaks down its ‘Journeys’ according to broad overarching categories reflecting different kinds of volunteer opportunities. Their Community Retreats focus on helping local charities while experiencing the culture of places like Nairobi, Kenya and Bali. Programs like the Heart & Soul Retreat in Florida and A Vineyard Weekend in Martha’s Vineyard concentrate on supporting local communities with a specific need in a shorter timeframe. They also have Environmental and Agricultural Retreats focused on creating a better physical world.
Some recent volunteer opportunities include: partnering with the National Parks Service to clean up trash in the Great Smoky Mountains, Tennessee; building a home with Habitat for Humanity in Sarasota, Florida; working with the Red Stocking Fund to bring presents to underprivileged children living year-round on Martha’s Vineyard, and assisting a halfway house in Vermont with suits and supplies to help men transition and reacclimate to society after incarceration.
While true family excursions have yet to be developed, Soul Sister Travels welcomes parents and enthusiastic, ‘younger’ volunteers to the mix with prior approval. Most recently, high schoolers accompanied their parents to a school in Kibera, Nairobi – the largest urban slum in Africa – where they connected with local children who were orphaned, or whose parents suffered from drug or alcohol addiction.
“The Drug Fighters Primary School and Feeding Center (DFC) is particularly close to my heart,” says Dent, who went on to describe how these children have absolutely nothing in a community that is already known for having no way out of poverty.
SST has an ongoing collaboration with the school aimed at creating a sense of trust and community with the teachers, administrators and students. SST volunteers help with not only their time – for example, painting a library or providing playtime and community-building activities – they also bring hard-to-get items including classroom supplies, soccer balls, and basic technology with them in the form of donations. In return, SST participants experience a culture filled with spirituality and warmth, even though these children lack the very basics in
“Agnes, the director of DFC, says this particular school deals the most vulnerable children. The staff focuses on creating a sense of community and self-love for these kids; kids who have never experienced it,” continues Dent. “Kathy and I received cards from the children overflowing with gratitude.”
The journey of giving begins here
The wellness part of the Kenyan Journey is a three-day safari in the Maasai Mara National Reserve. Known for its abundance of wildlife including lions, cheetahs, zebras, hippo, elephants, and more, it is also the location of the annual wildebeest migration. Abutting the Serengeti, together they form a landscape of rolling hills and savannahs. Journeying to the Maasai Mara is a truly life-changing experience for SST travelers.
When asked what they love most about Soul Sister Travels, Dent says, “We feel the smallest and most sincere act of kindness makes the most powerful impact for all.” Pesce continues that the best part about the retreats for her are the authentic bonds created with the volunteers who journey with them, whether a longer trip to Africa or Bali, or a weekend on the Vineyard. “It’s transformational,” she says. “The closeness – and openness – of the group during the closing remarks on the last day of each Journey fills me with gratitude. The personal growth of the participants, and the reflection they have on their experience, plants seeds for the rest of
For more information about upcoming Journeys or volunteering in your own local community, you can visit the website at soulsistertravels.org. •