Over the past few years, movie stars, models, musicians, professional athletes and other celebrities have been getting involved in mission trips and aid work, traveling to some of the world’s most remote places to personally help those in need.

The late Princess Diana was probably the first celebrity to bring volunteering abroad to our attention. While she obviously didn’t need additional attention from press, she still felt that she could use her privileged position to help some of the world’s most needy countries and communities. She worked with The Leprocy Mission to help those impacted by leprocy, and also assisted Africans living with HIV/AIDS and communities affected by landmines.

In 2011, San Francisco 49ers tight end Vernon Davis went to Uganda and Rwanda on an aid trip with PROS FOR AFRICA. Davis traveled through the countries with his brother, Vontae Davis of the Miami Dolphins, along with a group of other players and provided much needed medical aid to locals. The two-week trip featured Davis and the other athletes providing food to people, digging wells for clean drinking water and fitting children for hearing aids. They also handed out filtration straws that are used to help people drink water germ-free. In an interview about the trip, Vernon said it was a life changing experience.

Angelina Jolie is perhaps one of the most outspoken and dedicated advocates for aid work today. In 2010 she arrived for the first of several mission trips to PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, as a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador, Jolie visited earthquake survivors and met aid workers from local and international organizations.

“It will take years to rebuild Haiti,” Jolie said, after seeing the devastation from the January 12, 2010 earthquake. “Every day, the UN, governments, NGOs and local organizations are providing more people with protection, food, water, shelter and health care, yet the needs are still enormous and the displacement could last a decade.”

Before arriving in Haiti, Jolie spent a day in the Dominican Republic, where she visited Haitian earthquake victims in the local public hospital and in nearby shelters. “I was heartened to see the care being provided by Dominican doctors and nurses and to witness the generosity of local society, which is caring for discharged patients and their families in their recovery,” she said.

Feeling inspired now? If you have been thinking about a mission trip this year, Mission Discovery has the resources you need to research the right volunteer opportunity for you. You might want to start with a local or domestic mission trip before committing to an international one. Or you may feel ready to take the plunge and visit a country you’ve only read about or seen on the news. Whatever your plan, we can put you in touch with a team leader to make your 2014 mission trip a reality.