A Word from Ashlin
INTERVIEW WITH ASHLIN IVESTER
2022 DOMINICAN REPUBLIC TEEN VOLUNTEER ALUM AND LOCAL BOZEMAN VOLUNTEER ORGANIZER
Returning for 2023!
Meet Ashlin Ivester, VISIONS 2022 alum from the Dominican Republic who is embarking on another VISIONS summer to the DR! Ashlin’s Spanish skills will certainly get another boost, but she’s looking forward to so much more, as well!
Ashlin hails from Bozeman, Montana, and is currently a senior. Read on for our interview with this incredible teen, who we are proud to have in our alum circle.
What was the community like?
The community in the Dominican Republic was the most loving, thoughtful and generous I have ever seen. In the short 12 days that I was there, I felt deeply connected to the community and people within it. It is my goal to spread this type of caring and love within my own community. Seeing this encouraged me to continue my own Holiday program, which helps to get families in need within my community a good quality, home cooked meal for the Holidays!
What was your favorite excursion outside of work?
My favorite excursion was the homestay, where we spent an entire day with a family within the community. The opportunity to be fully immersed in the culture was one of my favorite parts. I got to eat amazing food, practice my Spanish, learn more about the Dominican Republic, and meet new amazing people!
What VISIONS programs have you participated in?
I was lucky enough to be a part of the twelve day Dominican Republic trip and this summer will be going back to the DR again with Visions!
Is there a project that stands out as your favorite?
One of my favorite projects from the Dominican Republic trip was painting a mural at the local school where our worksite was located. The group of us that were in charge of painting the mural were in charge of taking suggestions from everyone in our group, as well as the locals, and making it into art! I think it turned out pretty cool and I thought it was a super fun experience.
What are you up to now?
Right now I am working on running my own program called Holiday Helper which helps to get families in need a home cooked meal for the Holiday season. I have created my own website, fundraising pages, volunteer pages, and implemented leadership skills I learned from my Visions trip to make my community a better place!
Are you still in touch with people from your trip? What would you like to say to your VISIONS alumni?
On my Visions trip, I formed so many genuine friendships with the people in my group. I am still in touch and connect with multiple people from my group and will be forever grateful to Visions for connecting us.
To my VISIONS alumni, thank you so much for making this trip an experience I will truly never forget. I loved our inside jokes, our late night card games, circle time, and above all our collective commitment to the community we were in!
Traveling, volunteering abroad, or simply being in our own home environments are vastly enriched experiences for both teens and adults when we disconnect from technology.
Former VISIONS program director and carpenter Lee Conah volunteers in his city and is an accomplished handyman. He also writes music! Read on for more on Lee, and a link to a song he wrote about his experiences.
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Patrick’s love for the outdoors was fostered in VISIONS Alaska in 2008, and subsequently on a 3-month backpacking trip in Colorado. His love for wilderness shows in his desire to work to make the earth healthier, both in his community and in the job he loves. Learn more about Patrick!