Q&A with Cecilia Boyers, VISIONS Alum
This multi-talented VISIONS alum is a veteran of five programs, holds two master’s degrees, and is an aerial silk acrobat, masterful banjo player, and new mom!
Cecilia Boyers has soaked up just about everything our service adventures have to offer, during a whopping five different programs in five different countries. In the past, Cecilia has joined us in service on our British Virgin Islands, Alaska, Ghana, Dominica and Cambodia/Myanmar programs. Today, she lives in her hometown of St. Louis, Missouri, with her partner and her six-month-old, Nico. In addition to working hard as a new mother, Cecilia recently graduated with master’s degrees in Social Policy and in Social Work. She’s also a talented banjo player and an aerial silks acrobat!
VISIONS Director of Outreach Amanda Pincock took some time to catch up with Cecilia, to learn more about what she’s up to now, and how her experiences with VISIONS have impacted her life from past to present. Let’s meet Cecilia!
What was most memorable about your VISIONS experience?
The most memorable thing about my VISIONS experience was learning what I—and others—were capable of. Living in a bubble and experiencing the same thing and interacting with the same people every day sometimes makes it hard to get to know yourself and the world around you. Having new experiences, like traveling somewhere far away, or building relationships with people who live vastly different lives from you, not only makes the world more connected but also helps us get to know ourselves.
What does the word community mean to you?
“Community” is not just having good people around you. It’s critical for survival. In order to thrive, we need a shoulder to cry on, a group of people to turn to, friends to lend a hand and a foundation of people—near or far—to depend on one another.
What’s it like to walk in your shoes every day?
Walking in my shoes every day is mostly a nice hike with good hiking boots: Of course, there are bumps in the road and rocky terrain—parenting, for example, is not always a leisurely walk through the meadow—but with the right boots (good friends, support and life lessons from lots of different experiences), the challenges can be overcome and I’m so grateful for every part of the walk!
What did the VISIONS experience teach you about yourself and life outside yourself?
The VISIONS experience taught me that I am stronger, more capable and more complex than I thought, and it taught me the same thing about people around the world. No one is just one thing, and we all have more in common than we know.
What is something that makes you hopeful for the future?
Young people make me hopeful for the future! I participated in VISIONS nearly 10 years ago, and even within just a decade, kids have become more aware of the world and the impact we have on it. I work with kids and teens in my part-time job as a coach, and they are so much more aware of the complexities of the world than I was at their age. Topics like climate, colonization and globalization were things I only became aware of as a young adult.
I am sure that the young leaders who participate in VISIONS today will have an even more well-rounded, nuanced experience than I did. They give me hope for the future, and not because I think we should put the onus on them to improve it, but because of what they can teach all of us to collectively improve it!
What do you feel is one of the greatest strengths you have to offer the world?
Empathy—being good to one another, not just on a person-to-person level, but also in the way we vote, the way we advocate for one another, the way we develop and support policies and the way we distribute resources. And VISIONS helped me develop this strength!
In what ways, big or small, would you like to change the world?
Though I am currently taking some time off from work (daycare is expensive!), I recently graduated with a Master’s in Social Policy and a Master’s in Social Work, and I am pursuing a career path in policy and advocacy. My hope is to contribute to structural change that reaches toward justice!
What would you like to be remembered for?
Hard work in the name of justice and equity… Plus a sense of humor 🙂
10 years from now, what do you hope to be doing?
I hope to be working in the policy field on projects that inspire me and surrounding myself with people I love!
What would you like to say to other members of the VISIONS community?
I hope VISIONS continues to give young leaders opportunities to find themselves, contribute to strengthening the global community and build connections across the globe.
Spotlight: Antonia Lloyd-Davies, VISIONS Alum
Antonia, a VISIONS alum and returned Peace Corps Volunteer is now a software engineer in Seattle, WA and plays the fiddle in a bluegrass band. Read more about how her time with VISIONS has influenced her life.
Spotlight: Olivia Coward, VISIONS ALUM
VISIONS alum Olivia Coward has served with us in Montana and Peru, but she didn’t want to stop there. Today, she raises money for our partner nonprofit, VISIONS Foundation, through her online business!
Spotlight: Chazz Racine VISIONS Community Partner
Chazz has ridden bareback since he was only five years old and today has numerous competitive wins under his belt, including the renowned Gold Cup Indian Relay Championship at Emerald Downs.
Spotlight: Joan Cobell VISIONS Community Partner
Joan Cobell is a special part of VISIONS Montana, crafting delicious traditional meals for our participants. Her family also has generations-deep ties to the Blackfeet land, and runs two talented relay racing teams. Let’s meet Joan!