“Travel With a Purpose” Meet: Director and Founder Steve Shapiro-M.S. Special Education and Lover of Mexico!
My name is Steve Shapiro. I have a Master’s degree in Special Education with a B.A. in Rehabilitation Psychology. I own and direct The Learning Connection, a center in Colorado Springs specializing in helping children and teens with learning and physical disabilities. My wife, Sheilah is a reading specialist at the center.
In recent years, Sheilah and I have been coming to Cabo 4-5 times a year to work with the various helping agencies in Cabo, including orphanages, hospitals, and neighborhood centers. We have helped to coordinate a variety of outreach activities for impoverished children, including clowning and magic, arts and sports programs, library building, and summer camps. Our vision has been to expand this work, and to involve more volunteers from abroad.
I recently hosted a fundraiser event entitled “Patch Adams: Clowning and Caring in Cabo” (April 12th-16th. 2010). Thirty-five clowns from all over the world participated. Our itinerary included visiting various service agencies in and around Cabo (including the General Hospital, the AIDS clinic, and Casa Hogar Orphanage) as well as building the FIRST library in the impoverished neighborhood of El Carribe.
Many adults that came on the clown trip indicated that they would love for their own families to participate in a similar trip, whereby they would experience Mexican culture and assist with our community-building efforts. Through organizing the Patch Adams trip, I met many wonderful people and immediately connected with their enthusiasm for ‘Travel With a Purpose’. A plan began to emerge.
There is a growing movement towards “philanthropic travel” around the world. Many teenagers and adults want to step outside their “comfort zone” to experience other cultures and to contribute to social change. Cabo is an ideal site for this sort of experience, as it offers a variety of opportunities for community engagement in a comfortable, easily-accessible location. I believe a trip such as this will be life-changing to the participants. At the same time, it will provide additional funds to support the works in Cabo.
I organize and participate in “Travel With A Purpose”— week-long trips for various groups combining fun and meaningful activities
1. Travelers experience:
A. Mexican culture through Cabo experiences
B. Volunteer service in local hospitals, schools, neighborhoods etc.
C. “Serving, Connecting, and Caring” in local agencies (senior center, daycare center, special education school, orphanages etc.
D. Interactive workshops for personal growth, exploring the social and spiritualaspects of giving, self-reflection, and goals for the future
E. Local individuals sharing their talents with the group
2. The trip is one-week in length. Sunday arrival to Saturday departure seems to work best.
3.This first trip will be: Saturday, February 26th-Friday, March 4th. 2011. I will be arranging : Accommodations at Cabo Inn-- a beautiful Mexican inn in downtown Cabo, offering private rooms and bathrooms plus kitchen and meeting areas
Transportation to and from the airport, and to destinations throughout the week
Meals: Breakfast/lunch at Cabo Inn, dinner in authentic Mexican restaurants nearby
Morning outings to local agencies, neighborhoods etc.
Afternoon activities: horseback riding, whale watching, ATV’s etc.
Evening small group sessions/free time
Last day (Friday) fun beach event: boat ride, snorkeling, jet-skiing, etc.
BUDGET AND COST
ALL inclusive fee for participation per traveler….. $895.00 (Airfare NOT included. Airfare fee is: approximately $400-$500.00 per traveler) TOTAL FOR TRIP: $1,295.00- $1,395.00 (I am able to get some EXCELLENT discounts through the various people and agencies I’ve connected with in Cabo)
There is a growing desire for meaningful and purposeful travel in society today. People are yearning to expand their knowledge and horizons of other cultures, and to give back to causes that they believe in. I believe that creating a ‘Travel With a Purpose’ organization would fulfill a dream of becoming more intimately involved with bettering the lives of the people in Cabo, and provide meaningful experiences for families.