by on January 27, 2013

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My high school had an excellent community service program. We were all supposed to do at least 25 hours per year, so there was a mix of in-school and out-of-school service opportunities. One of the organizations that we worked with was AmeriCares. I can’t for the life of me remember what project we worked on, but I know that I had a t-shirt with their logo on it that ended up covered in paint (that may have been from a completely different service project). AmeriCares is a Stamford, CT based “nonprofit disaster relief and humanitarian aid organization which provides immediate response to emergency medical needs – and supports long-term humanitarian assistance programs – for all people around the world.”

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The story of how AmeriCares got started is pretty amazing. The short version is that a U.S. plane carrying “243 Vietnamese orphans crashed into the jungle outside Tan Son Nhut.” The U.S. government said it would take 10 days to help rescue the children. A guy named Robert C. Macauley decided he could do better, so he chartered a jet and had the kids flown to California within 48 hours. He didn’t really think through the whole thing–he just acted. The cost was nearly a quarter million dollars, so he was forced to mortgage his home to pay for it. When it came to human lives, Macauley’s approach was “Act now and worry about red tape later.” That approach developed into AmeriCares. The organization was founded in 1982 and since then has “provided more than $10 billion of aid to 164 countries.” You can learn more about what they do here and where they work here. AmeriCares is an amazing organization, and if you’d like to join them, you need to visit their Internships page. Right now they’re looking for interns in:

I believe all of the positions are unpaid, but there’s a ton of variety available.

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