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Tobie Spears: I'm a Humanitarian Passionista

Tobie Spears is the founder of Guatemalan Humanitarian Tours, an organization that helps Guatemalan children, teens, and their parents reach their full potential with early nutrition and education. Their service vacations take companies, families and individuals on a journey where they give back while having a blast and remembering what really matters.

During our recent interview with Tobie we talked about her passion for creating win-win situations and founding Guatemalan Humanitarian Tours.

Passionistas: What's the one thing you're most passionate about?

Tobie: Right now what I'm most passionate about is creating win-win situations. So for businesses, for corporations that are looking to give, then I feel like it's so fun to be that conduit. Where I'm like, “Hey, you want to give, I have a great suggestion.” So I think just being a conduit for good is by far the funnest thing to do.

Passionistas: What is that suggestion that you make?

Tobie: To find a project for people in need in any place of the world. My chosen place is Guatemala, but I really encourage others to choose their own place. So if it's local activism, if it's local involvement and do it, you know, jump on board, like be involved. If it's in a different country, if it's, you know, anywhere in the world, there's so much need and so much opportunity to do good. Like that's my real ask is, if what I'm doing, doesn't resonate with you then find yours.

Passionistas: How does translate into what you do on a day-to-day basis with your work?

Tobie: My job in the states is finding donors, finding sponsors, working with corporations, networking and meeting awesome people. So that's what I get to do and encourage people to join me on a service vacation to Guatemala or get involved as a sponsor or a donor. We have loads and loads of opportunities for any volunteer that is interested.

So then we have day-to-day operations in Guatemala. I also oversee and am involved but definitely I'm not on the ground. So my work is focused in Guatemala but my work actually occurs here in the states.

Passionistas: What inspired you to found Guatemalan Humanitarian Tours and tell us a little bit about that.

Tobie: It's been nearly 11, 12 years ago. I met a woman who had talked about traveling with her family and she was able to go to Guatemala with her family. And my husband and I had looked for years. Actually, we had wanted to live internationally with our two children and every organization that we connected with, they were like, oh, you have children. No, thanks. Like, you know, that was just too much of an ask. It was too big of an ask.

And so we had looked and looked and not found an organization that would take a family unit. And so she told me that she had come home from Guatemala and she had taken her children and I was like, wait, that's what we've been wanting to do. So it was as easy as that. Meeting the right person at the right time. And she put me in contact with the director of a private school in Guatemala.

And from there we just made the crazy plan to drive. I just decided I didn't want to fly over everything because then it felt like we would miss out on so much. And so we decided to drive from Utah to. And so we packed up the car and the girls were, you know, five and 10. And we put a bunch of CD, bunch of books on CD and just hit the road. So that was like one moment, right?

I never anticipated Guatemala to become like a lifelong passion. We thought we were going to go there for three months. We thought we would just live there and come and go, you know, just like it was one-time. And then when we returned home, I told my girls that it was something we needed to do each year, that it was for our souls, that we needed to do something for soul food. And so that was what happened is that I wanted to be able to travel with my girls.

And I felt like this was the best way that we could spend the summers together and that we could do good. And I got to capture their moments instead of us just being in the daily busy-ness of life, we got to escape in this little pod and have these memories of their summers. So it was really quite a selfish reason.

I got that time with my kids and we got to see the world and change ourselves. But by doing good, like it was just a win-win.

To learn more about Tobie’s service vacations, that take companies, families, and individuals on a journey where they give back while having a blast and remembering what really matters visit

To hear Tobie’s full episode, click here.


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