Maya Mastin

Dominican Republic Leader

1. What inspired you to join VISIONS?

VISIONS has been a part of my life since I was born, my dad having been a leader/director with the organization since he was in his 20s. I was a participant on the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation and British Virgin Island programs in middle school, and the Peru program in high school. My dad has always been a big inspiration as to why I have wanted to be a VISIONS leader, and I grew up eager to be a part of this wonderful community. After participating in my own programs, I knew that I wanted to help other kids have the same great experiences that I had.

2. What experiences have shaped your passion for community service and youth development?

My VISIONS experiences have shaped my passion for community service. Other than these experiences I have volunteered on an urban farm in New York City, farmers markets, and am interested in more food-centered community service. My parents also instilled the importance of being a good global citizen in me at a young age, giving me travel experiences that taught me to respect and appreciate other cultures, showing that we should all support each other.

3. What is your favorite achievement?

My favorite achievement is being accepted into the NYU Food Studies Master’s program last year. I am about to finish my first year in the program and have already learned so much about what my career in improving our global food system could look like. I have been able to work alongside other students and faculty who share similar interests in fighting food insecurity, global hunger relief initiatives, and sustainable food efforts. I am 
proud of the projects I have been a part of and to dive further into my research for my thesis this next year.

4. What is your favorite place you’ve traveled?

I lived in Chile for a year after high school; this is where I really learned Spanish so it will always be an important place for me. It is such a beautiful country and I was able to explore a lot of it with my host families and friends, who I still keep in touch with. I think the experience launched me owards a lot of what I’m passionate about now so I will always be grateful for my time there.

5. What is the best advice you’ve received?

Embrace change. I think as I’ve been getting older and had a lot of recent life changes I’ve been learning that while change can be really hard, so much good can come from it. I’ve been trying to embrace these changes and give myself grace in them.

6. What do you hope to accomplish this summer?

I hope to continue to practice my Spanish and get more confident in my translation skills throughout the summer. I also hope to continue to work on my leadership skills and create a positive team environment.

7. What are you most excited about this summer?

I’m most excited to be back in the Dominican Republic for mango season! I also can’t wait to see Leyri, Santos and all of our community partners in Cotui again (especially Negrita, the neighborhood dog). I can’t wait for all the participants to arrive so that they can experience all the great things the DR has to offer and get to know the community.

8. If you had to give one piece of advice or words of encouragement to someone on their first VISIONS experience, what would it be?

Keep an open mind to all the experiences you are about to have and the people you will meet! You will get so much out of the experience if you are willing to learn from others and try new things. I have gained some great stories and friendships from VISIONS because I embraced my time in each program. There will be uncomfortable parts, as you are in a new environment, and it can be hard to meet new people, but everyone is in the same boat as you, learning as they go.

Meet the rest of our team!

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