As Donna Devillez told exciting stories of dogsledding, sea kayaking, hiking and so much more, it was easy to forget the point of our conversation was volunteering. But it quickly turned to, how can volunteering lead to checking things off your bucket list? For Donna, it was just about following her curiosity and finding the right organization.
“I always thought when I retired I’d go back to school because I wanted to learn more,” said Donna Devillez, DTE alumni. “However, sitting in a classroom didn’t excite me, but learning through an organization like Road Scholar – that was educational and provided the travel that I love – was the perfect fit.”
Road Scholar is a nonprofit referred to as a university of the world, offering educational travel adventures in 150 countries and all 50 U.S. states.
Donna first learned about Road Scholar after being invited on a trip with another DTE alumni. Through that experience, she quickly learned the value of the organization and knew she wanted to get more involved and get DTE involved in the process.
So, Donna became a Road Scholar Ambassador and helped the organization secure a grant from DTE.
“I thought to myself, ‘I worked for and retired from a great company, let’s see if they’ll help support this great program too’,” Donna said. “Plus, the skills I learned while at DTE like logistics and problem-solving are what I’m using on these trips. I get to continue doing things I love.”
Her support didn’t stop there. Donna quickly volunteered to help lead future trips and share her experiences with others. She went on her first trip as a volunteer in June and was delighted with the people she met, all while doing something she was passionate about.
“The experiences are quite rewarding,” Devillez said. “Seeing some of the children’s reactions and joy is quite humbling. I met a little girl from Colorado who rides a school bus two hours to get to school each day – that’s how remote her family lives. And for her to get on a plane and travel across the country and then to see her face light up as we’re learning – I consider myself lucky to have crossed paths with her.”
Donna’s work with Road Scholar is just beginning. She already has future trips planned to volunteer and enjoy.
“Finding something you love, but can also feel really good about doing, it’s an indescribable feeling,” Donna said.
View the photos below from Donna’s latest volunteer trip.