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Nurturing a Multigenerational Community 

The VISIONS Family Tree

Nurturing a Multi-generational Community 

The VISIONS Family Tree

Rooted in core values and branching out to diverse communities, VISIONS grows like a tree. Behind the bark, 31 rings mark 31 years of meaningful service work. And to look at the sum of all that work is to see a multigenerational community.

A number of participants from the first years of VISIONS now have children volunteering with us this summer. Lauren Maguire joined VISIONS in 1992 and 1993 as a leader for the British Virgin Islands Program. She said that back then, “the idea of my own child attending a Visions program never crossed my mind!”

However, 26 years later her son, Nick, has committed to not one but two VISIONS programs – last summer on Montana Blackfeet and this summer in Cambodia.

Before joining VISIONS, Lauren had worked for an organization that led high school students in service projects with the homeless in New York City and directed a community service program in Montserrat for Operation Crossroads Africa.

“Through both these experiences, I became aware of the energy and enthusiasm that high school students had when engaged in real, meaningful work,” Lauren said.

“When I came across Visions, I was so excited to be able to work with students who were motivated to make their world a better place. The other part of Visions that appealed to me was the group time that is built into the program. Giving students time to share, evaluate and learn about themselves is part of the transformative aspect of Visions.”

Clearly, Lauren was a great fit for our leadership team — young, adventurous and thoughtful, living in the moment and participating whole-heartedly. After two summers with VISIONS, Lauren’s teaching career became a year-round commitment, but the impact of VISIONS lives on.

“I remember many experiences in the BVI — it was a wonderful experience. There was a little girl who lived across the road from the community center in Brewer’s Bay. Her name was Caroline and, at the time, I had a niece named Carolyn who was the same age. She would come over and play with the students, and she helped me feel connected to my niece back home.”  (Lauren and Caroline pictured below.)

“Other experiences are too numerous — the talent shows at the Community Center, the swarms of bugs coming through the windows after a rainstorm, Barry (the local goat), having big land crabs hiding under our cots and watching the students discover something new through all their activities,” Lauren said.

She had suggested VISIONS to friends and family, but it was not until years later when her sons reached the teen years that VISIONS came up again. Her son, Nick, was looking to venture beyond the normal routine of high school.

“I was drawn to Visions as I trusted the program, I felt that the “circle time” might benefit him and the location was good — far away but not in a totally different culture,” Lauren said in reference to the Montana Blackfeet Program, which Nick joined last summer.

“Nick thrived and grew so much during his first summer with Visions. His leaders were patient and were really good about communicating with us when necessary. He made friends and gained a sense of confidence. He had an experience that he was proud to talk about. He even just gave a talk at a conference with three high schools and he spoke about Visions!”

Montana Blackfeet is one of our favorite and longest-running programs, going strong for 28 years — 28 rings in the VISIONS family tree. As one of our two Montana programs, it’s close to home. One of the great parts of Nick’s story is that after his experience in Montana, he now ventures to the other side of the world for a spectacular cultural experience.

“As we started thinking about this summer, he realized that he really wanted to do another Visions program. Knowing his age, he knew this would be his last opportunity to be a participant. I am so excited that we are able to send him to Cambodia. His increased maturity and confidence has been a pleasure to see!”

Thank you, Lauren! For your past leadership in the British Virgin Islands and for sharing your story with us today, we are grateful. As a multigenerational community, VISIONS grows stronger every year.

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