August 2022

Inspiration in Action: Chuck Peterson

Today I’m delighted to share highlights from my interview with Chuck Peterson.  He is an amazing person with so many incredible experiences.  I had the opportunity to first meet Chuck in Cambodia on a Global Village trip where he was serving as co-leader.  It was such an incredible experience, we’ve signed up to go to Portugal with The Fuller Center next June under Chuck’s leadership.  His continued dedication to giving to others, paired with an enthusiasm for learning and having fun, all serve as an excellent example and  inspiration for me – and so many others.

Chuck Peterson on build site.

Below are the highlights from our August 2022 conversation:

What inspired you to start leading international volunteer trips?

It all started in 1992 with a volunteer trip to India for two weeks.  The first week we built houses and then I had the opportunity to volunteer at Mother Teresa’s Mission of Charity.  It was an amazing, and life-changing, experience that started it all!

After spending time in Guatemala as a volunteer teaching English, I had the opportunity to serve as a group leader.  At this point, the fire was ignited!  I was hooked and continued to look for was to travel abroad and make a positive difference…all the while maintaining my day job as an attorney.

During a Habitat for Humanity Global Village trip to Cambodia, other leaders encouraged me to complete the training to lead groups of my own. It became more and more clear this was my path and how I wanted to spend more of my time.  Reflecting on life and priorities, my wife encouraged me to think about retiring from law after 32 years of practice and leaning into this passion.  Since my retirement, I’ve been fortunate to lead four to five trips a year (with the exception of COVID times).

Previously you’ve shared with me that Portugal & The Fuller Center really stands out…what makes that program and place so special?

The people and the location are the two main things that stand-out.

PEOPLE: the fantastic team in Braga with Domus, the local organization, are so devoted.  They are incredibly dedicated and focused on the current needs of the community.  For example, the group traveling to Portugal this September will supporting refugees from Ukraine.  The volunteers and I will be converting apartments from an old factory.  These apartments will become home for these new refugee residents of Braga.

LOCATION: Given the culture and history of this part of Portugal, the location is extraordinary.  For this reason, much of the Fuller Center work in collaboration with Domus, centers on restoration and / or conversion of existing buildings.  In some cases, these buildings can date back hundreds of years.  Such an incredible way to immerse yourself in the country, culture and people.

What would you tell someone who is considering a volunteer trip?

Take a chance!  Once you have an opportunity to help others, learn about new cultures and share the experience with fellow volunteers …you’ll never regret it.  Most likely, you’ll be considering your next trip before you even get home.  As a matter of fact, about half of my current groups are comprised of return volunteers.  Take a chance that can ignite a positive passion for philanthropic travel!

Chuck’s email signature says it best…

“ Be the change you want to see in the world”


For Additional Information:

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