VISIONS community service programs are perhaps best known for the high-quality and high-impact building projects that our teen volunteers have completed over the course of 28 summers. We also do environmental labor projects, from water conservation systems to clean burning stoves that help reduce greenhouse gases, and even organic community gardens that promote local food movements. Perhaps lesser known about VISIONS is the social service work that our high school and middle school students do every summer.
Our work with children offers a wonderful balance for VISIONS teens who are interested in balancing the physical days with developing lesson plans and spending time with enthusiastic local kids. You get to choose between three or four project sites each work day on a VISIONS program, and many participants return to a favorite site more often. At our Spanish language immersion and French language immersion programs, working with children also offers a great way to develop those language skills.
Just as our construction projects are diverse and designed to meet each community’s needs, the work we do with kids also varies among VISIONS summer program locations. If you’re interested in having your community service include work with children, here are our programs that will be of particular interest:
- Dominican Republic: We’ve run “campamento” for more than 20 years, and it’s so popular that local kids have to attend on alternating days in order to serve everyone. As a VISIONS participant, you will develop and implement lesson plans in collaboration with local teens and teachers, and campamento includes English classes, sports, art and crafts.
- Guadeloupe: If you take French in school, then Guadeloupe is a great place to improve your language skills while also helping local youth improve their English. You’ll help lead a camp at Centre de Loiser for children ages 4 to 8, and get involved with a cultural and language exchange program for older kids through our work with L’Office Municipal de la Culture et des Sports.
- Ecuador & Galápagos: You will work with very young kids and toddlers at the daycare Gotitas de Miel. The service days at Gotitas are directed by their teachers, who help create age-appropriate lesson plans and games in Spanish and English.
- Cambodia and Myanmar: Both of our Southeast Asia programs include time working with children. Most of our construction projects take place at schools, and projects regularly cross over between the physical work and classroom instruction. We help teach classes and lead children’s activities at the same schools where we are building new infrastructure.
- Montana Northern Cheyenne: An ever-grateful group of primary school kids awaits Kids Kollege every summer. You will plan activities and outings, arrange guest speakers, and create lesson plans that have a common theme of “healthy living.”
VISIONS programs are deeply ingrained in our communities, and you’ll find that young children are the quintessential ambassadors. Driven by powerful inquisitiveness, they bypass language and cultural barriers to get to the objects of their curiosity, and teenagers are compellingly curious to little children. Even when work with kids is not formally on a projects’ docket at some locations, local children always manage to find us, lure us into playing with them, and they become a central part of the friendships and the overall VISIONS experience.