The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others
— Mahatma Gandhi

Mercy Ships

For over 35 years an organization called Mercy Ships has been sending state of the art hospital ships around the world to alleviate suffering in their mission to "provide hope and healing to the world's forgotten poor". Staffed entirely by volunteers who pay their own way (so that donations can go towards medical supplies and equipment) this organization performs multiple thousands of life changing surgeries and other procedures each year, all free of charge. At this point you may be doubting that they can really have that great of an impact if they can only provide service to coastal areas. However, Mercy Ship points out that 50% of the world's population lives within 100 miles of the coast, enabling them to reach a huge amount of people. And since they serve countries with limited infrastructure, hospitals, clean water and so forth, bringing their own hospital with them is a beautiful solution. If your interest has been piqued but you're in a non-medical profession you can still be a volunteer. It takes a lot of staff to run a full sized ship! As I searched through their volunteer opportunities while writing this there were openings for anything from a cook to a dental hygienist, an engineer to a plastic surgeon, a teacher to an operating room nurse. And while some of the assignments require a one year or greater commitment, many are as short as 2 weeks to a few months. And of course if you are unable to drop what you're doing and volunteer, donations to this amazing organization go a long way.