Guiding Light Leads to New Orleans

The cast of “Guiding Light,” a multiple Emmy award-winning daytime soap opera and longest running daytime drama in history, descended on New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. They were more than famous actors; they were the face of volunteering. They embarked on a new kind of volunteer work called voluntourism, where people come to aid the locals and spend time soaking up local culture.

And in New Orleans, culture reigns supreme. Brass bands and second lines randomly sprout like wildflowers under the city’s majestic Cypress trees. Fortunetellers and street magicians are a hop away from our famous streetcars. And the food, dang, the food is good. Essentially, this place has it all. Spend one night here and you’ll see why volunteering is not just a worthy endeavor but a duty and a thank you to the city for letting you experience her wonder.

Volunteering also crosses socioeconomic lines. It’s bigger than the rich, the famous, the poor, or the downtrodden. It’s about a team working in unison for positive change. It’s about trading your wardrobe for a tool belt, your makeup for dirt, and your spa for old-fashioned sweat. The feeling of helping others is unmatched. It burrows into your heart and soul. It’s a light, a guiding light that can change your perspective on life.

Need more incentive? Ask the 64.5 million Americans who volunteered last year why they did it and the answer will likely mirror what countless studies have already proven. Volunteerism increases self-esteem, enhances skill sets, expands career paths, builds safer, stronger communities, increases physical and mental health, and finally, improves the global economy.

So, stop reading and start planning. Join us. Volunteering via voluntourism is a no-brainer. Find your own Guiding Light.

It’s here, in New Orleans, waiting to be discovered.