Tim (or, as he jokes, Timba, his VISIONS Australia 2004 nickname) is a former staffer, carpenter, director, recruiter, and Newport office multiple-hat wearer who was with VISIONS from 1998-2009.

Tell us a little about yourself!

I’m a curious, handy, geeky do-gooder, and I’m currently a cat-dad 6 times over, married to Summer (she’s the interesting one in our relationship!) for almost a decade. I spend most of my time (when I’m not taking care of all those cats) finding, affirming, connecting, and cheering on good people doing good things… telling someone you see them, believe in them, and hope they keep up the good work they’re doing is such a simple, beautiful, and mutually restorative action that anyone can take… Professionally, right now I’m working with Ami Dar, founder of Idealist.org, to find more ways to gather and connect the kind, reasonable people in the world into a community that acts from a place of hope and celebrates positivity. Personally, Summer and I are restoring a 100+ year old mini-mansion in Cleveland Heights. Come hang out with us and our local theater/board-game nerd friends!

What is one lesson learned from your experience that you still use today? 

Teamwork makes the dream work! After VISIONS, I worked for a nonprofit that rebuilt homes for seniors, veterans, victims of disaster, and others all across the country. We’d coordinate hundreds of volunteers from all over the place, and sometimes work with folks like professional sports players from the NFL, NBA, and MLB, big corporations, national trade associations, and local governments all on the same project. Working together to ensure all these different stakeholders were taken care of and felt seen and heard definitely had its roots in working on VISIONS programs to achieve best outcomes with staffers, participants, families, and local community members all having to collaborate and communicate.

In what ways did VISIONS help you develop life skills? 

I learned to lead with “compassionate curiosity” during my time at VISIONS, and it has stayed with me ever since.

What did your VISIONS experience mean to you? 

It took me on a journey from being a friendly, small-town guy to someone who realized there was a whole world out there, filled with other small-town guys and gals with vastly different, equally valid life experiences, and that they were, for the most part, kind, caring, curious, and helpful. We were far more alike than we were different.

What is your advice for students today who are considering a VISIONS experience? 

Go! The world right now is so full of polarizing forces on a global scale. It can be a really difficult place for empathetic, hopeful people, especially when what you know of the world is filtered through social and traditional media… if you’re someone who wants to believe there’s still good in the world, then go explore *in-person* and talk face-to-face with folks you might otherwise only read about (or be told about by others). The experiences you have, the people you meet, will help you understand so much about who you want to be, maybe even already are, surrounded by others on the same journey.

What’s on your playlist?

 Lots of sci-fi and fantasy audio books… I did say “geeky,” right? Also, Emergent Strategy, by adrienne marie brown… Fantastic framing and exploration of the power of collective impact.

Thankful for VISIONS! Hi all!


Owen Clarke is a writer for VISIONS. A career outdoor journalist, his work appears in 30+ international magazines, including Iron & Air, Climbing, Outside, Rock and Ice, SKI, Trail Runner and The Outdoor Journal. He is also the executive editor of Skydiving Source and Indoor Skydiving Source.

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