Steve and Joanie Wynn are accustomed to developing and telling great stories. Their media company, Bayside Entertainment, has completed projects shown on The Travel Channel, Discovery, The History Channel, and HBO. Their clients range from Fortune 500 Companies to start-up enterprises and non-profits.
However, it was a 2008 trip they made to Tanzania to document the efforts of a small group of volunteers working in an AIDS orphanage that brought their lives into a different focus. The documentary that followed, “A Journey for Good: Tanzania” resulted in four Emmy nominations and collected two Telly Awards for the husband and wife filmmakers. Perhaps more importantly, this trip energized Steve and Joanie, confirming “these were the stories they wanted to tell.” In addition, it spawned the creation of an even larger project.
After returning from their Tanzania trip, Steve and Joanie launched Journeys for Good “as a way to spread the message of volunteer travel” and “tell more stories about the everyday heroes who use their sweat equity as a way to give back and connect to the world in a meaningful way.”
Through their Journeys for Good videos, Steve and Joanie intend to demonstrate the often-enriching experience possible for both volunteers and those served. Their vides, which are also being developed as part of a 10-part documentary that will air on public television, aim to celebrate the personal level of caring of the heroes involved in the volunteer expeditions. Even more, the videos create a deeper connection to the subjects involved and provide a richer, more meaningful narrative to bring the locations and people to life.
One example of the Wynn’s efforts is a recent trip to Cambodia. Owing to the proliferation of abandoned landmines and other unexploded ordnance, Cambodia has one of the world’s highest per capita rates for amputees. Through a partnership with Globe Aware, an organization that offers service vacations to destinations around the world, the Wynn’s participated with other volunteers assembling and distributing wheelchairs for at-need individuals.
First in Tanzania and now in Cambodia, Steve and Joanie Wynn have experienced firsthand the transforming effect volunteer trips can have on the lives of their participants. With Journeys for Good, they hope the intimate connection they share in the videos and documentary will inspire others to travel with purpose and see the world through a combination of “exploration and self-evolution.”
For more information discussing the pros and cons of “voluntourism,” please view this infographic.
Photo courtesy of Visions Service Adventures.