Since 1989, VISIONS has set the standard for community service programs for teens. Build schools and homes, help children and elders. Live with other teens in a neighborhood of our host community; be more than a tourist.
With VISIONS, you live in the heart of the community and work shoulder-to-shoulder with local hosts. You know the people whose lives you impact, and are part of a summer program that quickly surpasses the superficial.
Students return home from VISIONS programs with appreciation for our multicultural world and prepared to participate as global citizens. We rely on teamwork. We live, work, explore and play together. Together, we live simply and share in a transforming summer experience.
VISIONS projects are ambitious, gratifying and fun. Students spend about 50% of the time on projects, working until mid-afternoon on weekdays. Once a week you will be on "homebase", making breakfast and shopping at local markets for the group’s next meals.
Every program undertakes a central construction project. We do construction because it is a pressing need in our communities and because it teaches valuable things: problem-solving, resilience, teamwork and confidence. Programs also include non-construction service such as internships, camps for children and environmental work.
You choose your worksite each day and learn from professionals. Local organizations determine projects with confidence in our high standards and in teen volunteers’ capabilities.
Upon successful completion of the teen summer program, students receive a Certificate of Service detailing the projects and the hours of service.
Cultural & Language Immersion
To be an effective member of your own community, participate in community life wherever you go. We can only truly understand others by sharing in their lives and listening to their perspectives, perspectives that may differ dramatically from our own. You may be surprised what you have in common with people whose lives are so different. Service, without expecting recognition or reward, brings a deeper understanding of the human community and of oneself.
Cultural learning and friendship is a core focus.Working with your local hosts is a doorway to their lives. You share work sites, meals and down time with folks who become close friends.
People welcome you, sharing their lives and views of life. You learn about, do and see things you never imagined.
In Spanish- and French-language immersion programs, local people do not speak English. The incentive to use your language is the desire to communicate with local friends and their desire to know you.
Exploration, Travel & Adventure
VISIONS summer programs include fun, adventure and weekend travel. Rather than a teen tour with non-stop travel focus, you live as part of the community and are immersed in daily life. Just as we work hard, we play hard and make time for activities and taking in our surroundings. VISIONS sites offer a variety of scenery and history, and you will explore in ways that are engaging and purely fun.
Weekends are for travel and visiting the not-to-miss sites in the country or region. You also have time after work days for activities that include workshops with artists, hikes, swimming, exploring town, games with neighbors, visiting markets and ancient ruins, and taking part in local events. Depending on your program location, recreation may include rock or ice climbing, sailing, backpacking and hiking, snorkeling, scuba diving, kayaking, horseback riding, and much more. Although there are tour days, you often do things that tourists never experience and go places with local people who become close friends.
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It was the day I was leaving for Peru on a three week service trip. I was not nervous about living in another country or about not having any western... Read full article »