About Robin Van Auken

Robin Van Auken, CEO of Hands on Heritage, is a writer and researcher, with 35+ years experience interviewing people and telling stories. Her educational background combines advanced degrees in Communications and Anthropology, with a focus on Public and Historical (Military/Industrial Sites) Archaeology. In addition to her work as a journalist, she is the author and co-author of a dozen books on regional history. An adjunct college instructor, she has directed multi-year historical and archaeological projects, working with hundreds of volunteers and temporary staff, and educating thousands of visitors.
Robin is a writer and researcher, with 35+ years experience interviewing people and telling stories. Her educational background combines advanced degrees in Communications and Anthropology, with a focus on Public and Historical (Military/Industrial Sites) Archaeology.

Volunteer Abroad Opportunities in West Africa: Togo, Ghana, Senegal

Don’t visit West Africa for the big game or majestic ruins - instead, focus on the amazing variety of people you’ll meet there, and take time to learn their history, their customs, and share your own. From Nigeria to Senegal, West Africa is home to an estimated 362 million people. It’s an area of many cultures, but they don’t clash. In fact, there are many similarities in dress, [...]

2019-02-17T15:44:22-05:00By |

Veterinary Volunteer Programs and Internships Abroad

Are you considering a career as a vet tech or veterinarian, and want to know if the field is right for you? If you like being with animals of all shapes, sizes, and breeds, and you want to help improve their lives and quality of care, then you’re on the right track. A vet tech performs a variety of tasks, just like a nurse for humans, to support [...]

2019-02-17T15:44:59-05:00By |

International Service Learning: What it is And How it Benefits You

Looking for a travel experience where you can work hands-on with a global issue? One that enhances your cultural awareness, both personally and professionally? If so, consider an international service-learning project! An international service-learning project is a structured academic opportunity that lets you combine study abroad with experiential education and community development. According to Global Vision International, a trusted international volunteer organization with numerous service-learning programs, there are three [...]

2019-02-17T15:45:43-05:00By |

PADI Open Water Certifications & Internships for Divers & Divemasters

The ocean is a mysterious place. It covers 70 percent of the planet, yet only 5 percent of it has been explored. It’s a magical place too, thanks to the phytoplankton that creates half of the air that we breathe. It’s also a secretive place, hiding the deepest spot on Earth: the Mariana Trench, at 36,200 feet below the surface, is more than a mile deeper than Mount [...]

2019-02-17T15:46:10-05:00By |

The History of Writing with Robin Van Auken

My husband, Lance, enjoys giving gifts. He finds amazing gifts, imaginative presents with meaning and symbolism. For example, when we purchased our lovely house on the river, he knew we had traded in our dream to live on a boat and sail far away. Okay, my dream. He mounted our ship's bell—one he ordered for us with the name "Tangent" cast on it (my dream boat's name)—on a plaque [...]

2019-04-25T14:55:25-05:00By |

Childcare Volunteer Programs Abroad: Daycare or School Assistant

If you’re looking for a travel opportunity that combines volunteering with social importance, consider a child care volunteering program that places you at a kindergarten or daycare center within a disadvantaged community. The stories you read and the songs you sing will help toddlers to learn creatively, and engage them from the start. A child’s early years lay the foundation of their entire future. In fact, scientists say [...]

2018-10-09T07:41:33-05:00By |

Conservation & Environment Volunteer Projects: Forest, Marine, Savannah

Scientists claim we’re living in the Anthropocene, an “unofficial” geological era in which humans dominate the planet. We’ve left the Cenozoic era, the Age of Mammals, which began 66 million years ago, because people are having a massive influence on the biosphere, altering it to suit our needs. Thanks to collective learning, people are better at sharing information so they know how to build new things. With each new highway, [...]

2018-10-09T07:41:42-05:00By |

NGO Volunteer Opportunities Abroad: Gain International Work Experience

Want to do good for others while doing good for yourself? Volunteering with an NGO can help you build capacity and support long-term goals in the underserved communities of developing countries. It also can enhance your resume as you gain hard and soft skills. NGOs, or non-governmental organizations, are nonprofits or citizen-operated agencies and groups that operate independently of governments, generally on an international level. They provide aid [...]

2018-10-09T07:41:50-05:00By |

Horse Talk with Robin Van Auken

Today, I'm talking horses. Our son invited us to visit for the weekend, and join him and his sweetheart at the Charles Town Races in West Virginia. I'm a huge fan of horses, and the racetrack is attached to a casino, of which I'm not a huge fan. I abhor casinos. It's not the gambling, which I don't partake, but the fact that these are massive, noisy, stinky buildings [...]

2019-04-25T14:47:55-05:00By |

Honoring the Story with Janice Ogurcak

Janice Ogurcak is the Director of Public Programming and Outreach at the World of Little League Museum. This museum is to Little League what the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown is to Major League Baseball. It's filled with significant artifacts that range from serious to frivolous. There is a piece torn from the Berlin Wall when it fell, the badge of a fireman who perished in the [...]

2019-04-25T14:54:36-05:00By |

Travel Photography Internships and Volunteer Opportunities Abroad

Do you take great photos? Do you write amazing stories? Are your friends and family constantly complimenting your artwork and articles? Maybe it’s time to turn your hobby into a career. Hit the “digital streets” on a photography and journalism internship abroad. If you have camera and are willing to travel, you can use this opportunity to create a unique portfolio - one that no one else in [...]

2018-10-09T07:42:01-05:00By |

Volunteer with Buddhist Monks: Teach English or Work in a Monastery

Learn first-hand the spiritual beliefs, traditions, and practices of Buddhism when you volunteer to teach English to young children and monks in Asia. Travel to mystical Nepal and join other adventurous pilgrims at ancient temples with breathtaking views of the Himalayas, including majestic Mount Everest. Choose Chiang Mai, Thailand's "Rose of the North" and a land that's rich in cultural diversity, tranquil villages and other natural wonders. Visit [...]

2018-10-09T07:42:23-05:00By |

Retreat to Write with Robin Van Auken

Spring is supposed to be here, but I live in northcentral Pennsylvania, and it's slow coming. We've had several snowstorms in the past few weeks, but the ground is too warm for it to stick around. Then we endured rain and high winds. I believe the temperatures are rising next week to the 60s, so I'm itching for a writer's retreat. I like to go on solo writing retreats, [...]

2019-04-25T14:58:51-05:00By |

Reading the News with Publisher Kathy Kolb

Kathy Kolb is the publisher of NorthcentralPA.com, a news outlet that’s been online since 2009, and she’s been steadily growing since then by personally connecting with her readers. I know, this sounds impossible — how do you connect with thousands of people? She’s accomplished this by building an amazingly loyal Facebook following, which total tops out at 31 thousand people! Also, her news site sends out a daily email, [...]

2019-04-25T15:00:07-05:00By |

Volunteer in Bolivia: Spanish Immersion, Animal Care, Under 18s Trips

If you’re feeling adventurous, consider a volunteer trip to Bolivia, a country with such distinctions as the World’s Most Dangerous Road, the World's Largest Salt Flat, and the Largest Lake in South America. Toss in sky-scraping Andean Mountains, dense Amazon rainforests, and the Atacama Desert, and you’re in a quandary over what to pack. The climate is as varied as the landscape, so it’s best to start in one locale, [...]

2018-10-09T07:42:32-05:00By |

Big Cat Conservation: Work with Cheetahs, Tigers, Lions & Leopards

Big Cat Conservation isn't a topic they teach you at school. If you want to learn how to work with these complex wild animals and preserving the endangered species of Africa, Asia, and Latin America, then this is an amazing opportunity to take control of your education and go into the field. The term “big cat” refers to the four largest members of the Panthera genus: the tiger, [...]

2018-10-09T07:42:41-05:00By |

Volunteer in Borneo & Malaysia: Orangutans, Tigers & Sea Turtles

When you volunteer for a conservation program in Malaysia and Borneo, you’ll learn about wildlife protection in a key area of the world with critically endangered ecosystems and species. But you’ll also learn about yourself when you spend the night in the rainforest, watching as the fireflies to come out, listening as bird calls fall silent and frogs and insects crescendo. You'll challenge yourself and find inner strength [...]

2018-10-09T07:42:48-05:00By |

Yoga Teacher Training: Certifications & Retreats in India, Costa Rica &More

If you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t take care of others. By taking a yoga retreat, and even becoming a certified yoga instructor, you will learn to balance stress and alleviate anxiety so that you can lead a healthier lifestyle. When you learn the proper techniques of yoga from expert practitioners and instructors, you’ll deepen your understanding of this ancient form of exercise. You’ll increase your [...]

2018-10-09T07:42:56-05:00By |

Let’s Play Ball with Lance Van Auken

Lance Van Auken is probably the world’s foremost expert on the history of Little League Baseball. There’s only a handful of people who may know more, or as much, as Lance. He earned this honor by being a Little League volunteer, and then an employee, for most of his life. He shares this knowledge as the co-author of “Play Ball! The Story of Little League Baseball®." He attended his first [...]

2019-04-25T15:06:25-05:00By |

Volunteer Farming and Agriculture Projects | Sustainable Farming Abroad

Help protect and preserve forests and farmlands, and study food, agriculture, and rural life when you join NGOs, universities, and independent growers on a sustainable farming experience abroad. You'll learn that all farmland is not created equal, and farming today is more than just producing crops. It's about business management as much as it is about animal or crop production. HOW CAN YOU GET INVOLVED WITH SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE? [...]

2018-10-09T07:43:04-05:00By |