Diversity is Part of the VISIONS Philosophy

“Diversity is the one true thing we all have in common. Celebrate it every day.” —  Author Unknown

Part of the beauty of a VISIONS summer program lies in the diversity of participants who join us each year. Although our teens  tend to be like-minded in the sense that they are interested in meaningful service work in cross-cultural communities, they come from different economic backgrounds, life experiences, and parts of the world.

VISIONS teen volunteers are typically motivated and curious. They are interested in learning more about new cultures, getting out of their comfort zones, and making the world a better place. Many are excited to expand their horizons and meet new people who share a passion for making a difference and doing something different. (That’s not to say that some don’t come more motivated than others, but since we started in 1989, we have noticed that after a few days on site, most kids are captivated, engaged, and already feeling tangible rewards.)

Here’s a look at some statistics and trends that relate to VISIONS group diversity and dynamics:

A Look at VISIONS Diversity:

  • On average, 32 U.S. states are represented on VISIONS programs each year.

  • On average, 60% of participants come from the East and West Coasts.

  • Each year, we have participants from all over the world; for instance, our upcoming 2015 summer programs include students from France, the U.K., Mexico, China, Switzerland, Greece, Australia, Canada, Israel, and Japan, among others.

  • We have students from all economic backgrounds, public and private schools, and a number who are awarded financial aid scholarships.

  • Most VISIONS students come on their own, and no more than two friends are allowed to attend the same summer program together. This means that almost everyone in the group is meeting each other for the first time, and it’s a positive and inclusive group dynamic from the start.

  • Aside from your group, new friends will include neighbors, community leaders, work partners, your VISIONS leaders, and others you meet during your service adventure and travels.

  • There is a maximum of 25 participants in a VISIONS group. We love this group size because it’s big enough for a diverse range of personalities, it allows us to break into smaller work groups each day, and it’s small enough to be family-like and supportive.

  • Groups are gender balanced, meaning there will never be more than 15 boys/girls in a group of 25.

  • There is a 1 to 4 leader to student ratio, an exceptional number for summer programs.

  • Most of our high school and middle school volunteers arrive with no construction skills, so everyone starts work on a level playing field. Our well trained leaders coordinate projects, teach requisite skills, and closely guide participants every step of the way.

VISIONS in The New York Times