Paws-itive Impact: VISIONS Teens Volunteer on Animal Initiatives

Youth and Fur Buddies — with Local Partners ARC & PAW BVI

VISIONS teen community service programs always offer diversity, with high school participants typically getting to choose between three or four different project sites each day and rotating around as they please during the week. In addition to construction & building projects, environmental initiatives and working with children, many VISIONS programs offer the opportunity to help with animals.

From Passion to Action

Since 1992, VISIONS teen volunteers in our Caribbean British Virgin Islands program have had life-changing experiences that we continue to hear about from our alumni. We have done small initiatives with animal welfare groups for a few decades, and have ramped up the support thanks to the growing interest of our volunteers. We partner with PAW BVI (Promoting Animal Welfare) and ARC Virgin Gorda (Animal Rescue Corps), two organizations dedicated to the wellbeing and care of animals.

PAW BVI and ARC are at the forefront of animal welfare in the British Virgin Islands, striving to improve the lives of animals in need. Both organizations focus on providing spay/neuter clinics to reduce the amount of abandoned, stray and unwanted dogs and cats in the BVI. They also work tirelessly to provide medical care, foster homes, and ultimately, loving forever homes for the animals in their care.

VISIONS kids have done everything from safely removing thousands of ticks off young puppies to transporting animals off-island, where more adoptions are available. Here are some of the ways our teens can be involved during the VISIONS program, and even leading up to or after the program.


Teens who are up for doing some legwork before their VISIONS program can gather donations that will directly benefit the animals. The BVI packing list on the VISIONS website provides a guide to the items needed, such as travel carriers, slips leads and Teramycin (eye antibiotics). By contributing these essential resources, participants play a role in alleviating the financial burden on these organizations and ensuring the animals receive the care they deserve.

Engaging in Animal Projects

One of the rewarding aspects of the VISIONS program is the opportunity to actively participate in animal projects alongside PAW and ARC. Under the guidance of our partner groups, teen volunteers engage in a variety of activities aimed at improving animal welfare.

This involvement can range from providing daily care and rehabilitation for animals in need to facilitating enrichment programs for local youth that promote compassionate communities between humans & animals, building dog houses that provide shelter and shade for island pets, and helping with fundraisers.

Through these projects, VISIONS participants not only gain a deeper understanding of animal welfare issues but also develop empathy, responsibility and compassion. They also facilitate these same lessons for local kids through outreach activities.

Being a Travel Escort or Adopting an Island Dog or Cat

VISIONS goes above and beyond to support teen volunteers who wish to take their dedication to animal welfare beyond just our time in the islands. One opportunity is to be a travel escort for PAW BVI, where volunteers help transport animals to partner rescues in the US.

This crucial role ensures the safe and secure transfer of animals, bridging the gap between their past and their new beginnings. PAW BVI covers the associated cost, provides all travel supplies and handles all the administration associated with travel and having a partner on the receiving end pick up the animal.

If this is something you are ready to commit to, parents and teens should read more here and complete this PAW Escort Form. On the question about “providing names of additional travelers,” please write: “I am with VISIONS Service Adventures” so that PAW knows in advance that they’ll be coordinating through our program.

It’s recommended that parents and kids discuss this option in advance of the program, but if during the course of the program a teen decides that they’d like to be an escort, VISIONS will be in touch with parents to get approval and get the escort form submitted.

Additionally, VISIONS participants have the chance to adopt an island animal and take them back home. PAW BVI assists with all the necessary logistics for those interested in adoption, ensuring a seamless process. This initiative not only provides a loving home for an animal in need but also raises awareness about the importance of adoption and responsible pet ownership within the participants’ communities.

Working Together to Make a Difference

The collaboration between VISIONS, PAW BVI and ARC empowers teenage volunteers to make a genuine difference in the lives of animals in the British Virgin Islands. Through the power of donations, active involvement in animal projects, and the option to become travel escorts or adopt island animals, teens contribute to the incredible work carried out by our local partners. These experiences foster empathy, compassion and a lifelong commitment to animal welfare. Together, we create a brighter future for animals!

VISIONS in The New York Times