A note from the co-founder

Written by on December 21, 2016 in featured

As we near the end of 2016, GO the Second Mile begins its new life as the Travelers Conservation Trust [TCT] under the direction of Anne and Kurt Kutay, owners of Wildland Adventures. The volunteer contributions of Wildland travelers through the TCT assures the good work that GO the Second Mile accomplished during the last 10 + years will be carried on into the future, with continuing ripples of influence.  

As I look back over the years that GO has been leading volunteers to work in emerging cultures, I realize that it is us who have been permanently changed by the experience. The impact and the stories of what happens when you step into the margins of life alongside those struggling to exist are profound, deep and forever. The faces of those that I have worked with over the years are permanently etched in the very fabric of who I am.

It seems fitting to take a moment to reflect on some of the more measurable results of my tenure as a leader of GO.

 What have we accomplished Since 2004

We’ve taken 150+ volunteers (many of them multiple times) to 7 different countries, 4 different continents, spending $187,000 as we did.

We have taken in over $456,000 in private donations.

We have given $141, 500 to organizations and people leading community based efforts to eliminate the poverty and injustice that impacts their neighbor who have neither a choice nor a voice in the matter.   

The children’s center in Iquitos, Peru is still helping the street kids of Iquitos stay out of prostitution.

Funda Vida has seen the high school graduation rate soar to 92% in its communities in San Jose, Costa Rica.

The work in Kigali, Rwanda continues to thrive under the leader ship of African Road.

Women and children in Nizu, Tibet; Bujumbura, Burundi; Bohol, Philippines; Acuna, Mexico have been impacted by our presence and given opportunities that would not have been available otherwise.

For all of this, I must say thank you. To the donors, volunteers, parents, and the vast array of contributors who gave generously of their time, energy and talent to help GO reach out to the global poor, thank you.  Without you, none of this would have been possible.

What does the future hold for GO the Second Mile?

Wildland Adventures, through its non-profit Travelers Conservation Trust, has the capacity to continue our work with Funda Vida in San Jose, Costa Rica, and to expand the volunteer travel program far beyond the communities we have touched.

Mary Olsen, through her non-profit Art Start, will continue teaching art to the Funda Vida communities with at least one trip each year to Costa Rica.

It is in the unknown that holds the most excitement for me. It’s the space after the question, what’s next?

So, as I say good bye to this organization, I want to encourage you to continue to work on behalf of the poor, marginalized and underserved. My hope is that you will continue to travel in a way that is socially responsible, stepping into the culture and getting to know the people.

Mark Twain once said, “Travel is fatal to bigotry, prejudice, and narrow mindedness.”

I believe, In the face of our changing world, this is our moral imperative


With profound gratitude,

Diane Ellis

Co-founder and Board Chair

Go the Second Mile







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