People to People Ambassador Programs,
the world leader in global educational travel experiences, today announced that the company successfully beat last year's record of 140,000 service hours by more than 80 percent. Approximately 253,000 hours of community service were completed by Student Ambassadors this summer, with projects completed domestically as they prepared for international programs, and internationally to learn and experience different cultures abroad. This year's service projects gave student participants experience ranging from aiding Australian scientists with dolphin research to constructing children's playgrounds in
"Community service along with cultural immersion opportunities are integral components of our programs and should be important parts of each of our lives," said
, president of People to People Ambassador Programs. "As students work to help people in another country, they not only provide a benefit to the local community, but also experience their own power to truly make a difference in the world."
This summer, nearly 18,000 service hours were completed during a week-long People to People Leadership Summit to mark the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Students on this intensive service program helped repair and refresh schools, homes, gardens, and community centers in the
area. Participants came to the aid of organizations like Habitat for Humanity, Beacon of Hope, New Orleans Outreach, and Hands On New Orleans. In many cases, students worked directly with victims of the storm to hear firsthand residents' stories of perseverance and courage.
This summer's education-themed community-service projects were designed to allow students to either help provide better education to the disadvantaged or educate a community about a common concern. Highlights include:
- Mid-Atlantic Gleaning Network – Harvested fruits and vegetables and studied how Maryland communities are feeding the hungry through local farms
- Civic Works, Baltimore – Painted murals to enhance a school in a low-income community
- Lowell Wish Project, Boston Area – Sorted donations and filled orders to help families meet needs and avoid losing their homes
- Heal the Bay, Santa Monica, Calif. – Picked up trash and collected data to help stop further beach pollution
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- Greece – Worked with the Archelon Association to tag, monitor, and clean areas protected for the endangered loggerhead turtle
- Italy – Delivered games and toys and spent quality time with children in the SOS Villages who have been removed from their families due to difficult circumstances
- Australia – Replanted native trees in Kuranda's World Heritage rainforest
- China – Assisted local residents in harvesting tree fruit and learned about their communal way of life
- New Zealand – Pitched in at Auckland food banks and learned about the people relying on their services
People to People Ambassador Programs is the world's most recognized and respected educational travel provider. Since 1963, more than 400,000 people from around the world have traveled with People to People Ambassador Programs to help further global understanding through cross-cultural exchange. Offering unmatched safety measures and unparalleled access to foreign cultures and countries, People to People Ambassador Programs promotes personal success in a globalized world and fosters international friendships for both students and professional adults.