Financial requests are made through the VISIONS program application. The drop-down options for the first question, “I am…,” allows the applicant to identify that they are applying for aid.
Applications are reviewed from February 15th through April 1 for summer programs; requests for less than $1000 are made on a rolling basis. Applications for Gap Program scholarships are reviewed on a rolling basis. We recommend submitting your application as early as possible. We also encourage you to check out our fundraising tips listed below and contact us with any questions.
Many VISIONS participants—whether receiving financial aid or not—do fundraising for their summer program. Here are some tips and resources that we recommend.
- Brainstorm about opportunities within your circle of friends, family and community. Consider contacts in your community and what types of fundraisers they may respond to. It will take some organizing and forethought, so brainstorm with friends, family, teachers, guidance counselors and other people who may be connected to youth and service initiatives.
- Get to know your audience. Try connecting with organizations that have similar missions or philosophies. The Lions Club, Rotary International, Jaycees, Junior League, Key Club, religious and service groups and even your school may be willing to lend a hand. Local organizations, family trusts and foundations often offer assistance for teens who want to make a difference. Before you meet with a donor, familiarize yourself with the mission of their organization. How does it relate to VISIONS or to own your quest?
- Write Letters. Consider writing a letter stating your goal and how much assistance you are requesting. Be prepared to describe VISIONS, including the program emphasis on community-building through service work. Share honestly how you think your participation might impact not only you, but also your community. For a greater impact, follow up your letter with a phone call.
- Set up a crowdfunding site. There are several websites that can help fund your trip. Sites that our participants have used are VolunteerForever, YouCaring and Ambassadors Scholarship Foundation. Other options include FundMyTravel.com, GoFundMe, GoGetFunding, Razoo, Crowdrise, Fundly, JustGiving, Generosity by Indiegogo and StartSomeGood. Be sure to look into fees and restrictions with each site.
- Research travel scholarships and grants Ask your school counseling office for local and national resources.
- Make something, sell something or pick up a small job. We know that teens are busy, but a part-time job can be energizing and mix up school life. If a job isn’t an option, think about what you can create or sell through school or community networks.
A few examples of fundraising that VISIONS students have done:
- Asking for donations as a holiday or birthday gift
- Picking up jobs such as babysitting, snow shoveling and mowing lawns.
- Bake and craft sales
- One student met with an adult service group that donated funds and had the student give a presentation upon return from the trip