Regarding the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and measures we are taking to keep our Globe Aware community healthy and safety
As you undoubtedly know, the coronavirus COVID-19 is current pandemic impacting the whole globe. At Globe Aware, the safety and security of our community and volunteers has always been our top priority. Since the outbreak began, we have been monitoring the COVID-19 situation closely including the travel advisories issued by the U.S. State Department and information updates issued by the Centers for Disease Control in the U.S. and the World Health Organization in Switzerland.
The State Dept has issued an alert recommending against any international travel. This spring, many borders are closed or closing. There is no known end date for these alerts, and the situation is rapidly changing. This situation is SERIOUS but it is also TEMPORARY. Authorities during this pandemic call for social distancing, enhanced precautions worldwide, and for travelers to avoid contact with sick people, monitor health for fever and cough,and be vigilant about hand washing. As of March 2020 there are far more confirmed coronavirus cases in the United States than in any of the countries where we operate, other than China, where have currently suspended our China program. This is clearly an evolving situation and we will continue to watch closely. If there is a need to make any changes to our programs or itineraries, we will certainly communicate with you immediately. The safety and health of your children is obviously our first concern.
The majority of cases are considered mild, those 70 and older and particularly those with underlying health conditions such as diabetes and heart disease are considered at higher risk. Very few children have been effected.
The State Department, the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization have issued regular updates to increase public awareness about lowering the potential risk of spreading the virus. The CDC, WHO, and U.S. Department of State have provided specific advice for international travel, enhanced entry screening procedures at airports nationwide, and detailed guidance to help minimize the spread of the virus in the general public.
Globe Aware, like the airlines, follows the lead of the CDC and State Department recommendations.
The World Health organization has declared this is a pandemic effecting the globe, so whether you are traveling or not, the CDC recommends that Americans:
Globe Aware’s group insurance policy with Axis addresses the medical care of anyone who might become sick, and would attempt a medical evacuation if medically mandated. For those concerned about trip cancellation/trip interruption, additional coverage can be secured through a variety of sources, including, but not limited to: Nationwide Prime and HTH Gold. In these latter examples, they offer cancellation coverage such that in the case the CDC issues a travel warning to your destination country or region during your trip. Note that in order to be eligible to purchase trip interruption or quarantine coverage, you must also purchase trip cancellation coverage. A good source you can use to evaluate options is: www.squaremouth.com
In view of this we are for the time being making a temporary exception to our cancellation and rebooking policy so that you can be free to postpone your program at any time up until 19 days prior to the planned program start date, without incurring any cancellation fees. You will be issued a credit for future programs valid for 24 months, which can be used on any of our programs. This temporary exception to our standard cancellation policy is applicable for all volunteers who currently have registered and for all new reservations made through June 30, 2020. After this window, your supplies and food have already been purchased on location, accommodations will not reissue credit, therefore rebooking credit will entail deduction of $375 of the program fee.
The process to receive this temporary exception to our cancellation/rebooking policy is as follows:
Notify your intent to postpone by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org notifying your original program date and intent to cancel. If you do not receive reply within 24 hours of a business day, call 214-824-4562 to ensure you have received email notification acknowledging receipt of your cancellation.
We hope you will choose to join us as planned. We will continue to update you on any changes in itineraries or circumstance that may be relevant. In the meantime, we hope that this temporary exception to our policy will help put your mind to ease.
A: In order to reserve a spot on a Globe Aware adventure, you will need to send a 50% deposit with your completed application. Your entire balance is due 70 days prior to the start date of the adventure of your choice. We accept most major credit cards (American Express, Visa, Mastercard), money order and personal check.
Take care in choosing your program location and dates. If your plans change, you can cancel. You will get a 100% refund, less your non refundable 50% deposit, if you cancel at least 70 days prior to the program's start date. After 70 days, it costs us to replace you because we have sent advances from your contributions to the community. You may elect to apply 100% of the deposit to another program if you transfer to another program within twelve months of the original program start date (no handling penalty or fee will be assessed), if we have not yet sent funds for field costs. If you would like to transfer a second time, there is an additional $150 change fee in addition to any difference in the minimum contribution fee. Other than this, the deposit is never refundable, unless Globe Aware has to cancel a program. In the rare and unlikely event that Globe Aware has to cancel a program, you will receive a 100% refund, including your deposit.
If you cancel 31 to 69 days prior to the program start date, you will receive a 60% refund of the balance of the minimum contribution fee. If you reschedule you receive no refund however, you will have one year from the original program date to apply the funds to another program. Again the deposit is not refundable.
If you cancel less than 30-7 days from the program start date, you will receive a 25% refund of the balance of the minimum contribution fee. Again the deposit is not refundable.
If you cancel less than 7 days from the program start date, you will receive no refund of the minimum contribution fee. By this time the money has been implemented into specific project for the program. Again the deposit is not refundable.
A: As soon as possible! Not only will this give you plenty of time to make sure your passports, visas, and such are in order, but the trips can fill up fast! Most volunteers have a better shot of getting the program of their choice when they book 6 months in advance.
A: The minimum contribution fee for your program covers the cost of your meals, accommodation, on-site travel (but not airfare), emergency medical evacuation, medical insurance, donations to the various community projects, your orientation package, volunteer coordination, program development, country manager expenses, community team recruitment, logistical support and project consultants.
A: Globe Aware is a public charity, a 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt corporation under the U.S. Internal Revenue Service; it is not a private foundation. Not only is your entire minimum contribution fee tax-deductible (to U.S. tax payers), but all other expenses related to your Globe Aware volunteer work are also tax-deductible (such as your airfare, trip cancellation insurance, and other such expenses). These expenses are tax deductible because as a volunteer you are doing the work of Globe Aware.
If you are unsure of your own personal limits on deductions related to your income, it is best to seek counsel from a professional tax advisor. The IRS allows deductions where "there is no significant element of personal pleasure, recreation, or vacation." This means that if you plan significant deviations before or after the Globe Aware program, you may need to seek professional counsel on portions that may not be deductible.
A: The minimum contribution fee for your program covers not only the cost of your meals, accommodation, on-site travel (but not airfare), donations to the various community projects, your orientation package, volunteer coordination, program development, country manager expenses, community team recruitment, logistical support, medical emergency evacuation, medical insurance are included and project consultants. Your entire contribution is used to support Globe Aware sponsored programs and development. By spreading the costs across a number of our programs, Globe Aware is able to assist in projects that would otherwise not be able to exist. No funds are collected from any religious or political organization. Less than 12% of your program fee goes toward overhead and administration.Administrative
Excerpt from: HOW TO LIVE YOUR DREAM OF VOLUNTEERING OVERSEAS
by Joseph Collins, Stefano DeZerega, and Zahara Heckscher
published by Penguin Putnam, Inc, 2002.
Prospective volunteers are surprised to learn that many programs charge their volunteers a fee to participate. At first, this can seem ridiculous - Why should you pay money to work for free? Aren't you already forgoing income you could be making? Here are a few things to keep in mind while trying to understand why the vast majority of programs charge international volunteers a fee: