Gulkana Village had a very special summer! “VISIONS,” a non-profit organization from Pennsylvania, whose primary purpose is to provide teenagers (ages 14-18) with meaningful community service work and cross-cultural experience during a summer residential program, launched their first program in Alaska at Gulkana Village in July.
VISIONS initial contact was with Chris & Wick Wright—and we owe the Wrights a special “thank you” for their helpfulness, direction, and support.
VISIONS overriding goals are to perform direct service while maintaining long-term collaborations with community organizations; broaden students’ knowledge; and impart leadership, technical and interpersonal skills. While service, cooperative living and community building are the main focus – recreational and cultural activities are also key ingredients. During this summer, VISIONS had other project sites besides Gulkana – Montana, Pennsylvania, the Dominican Republic, Tortola, and Virgin Gorda.
Funding for VISIONS comes directly from the teenagers themselves. Their “tuition” ranges from $2,100 – $3,800 and includes their food, and materials for projects within their assigned community.
Two separate groups of twenty-four teenagers, along with six adults communed with Gulkana villagers during July and August, living in Gakona School during July and in Gulkana Village Hall in August. Bruce Heaton at HUD arranged a HUD house for them as well.
During their stay, projects included a basketball court in Gulkana, playground at Gakona School, and a storage shed at Kluti-Kaah’s Head Start. In addition, other smaller projects in Gulkana included kitchen repairs, and building new front and back porches at the community hall. Gulkana Village assisted in financing these projects through use of grant funding.
VISIONS is not only a wonderful learning experience for the teenagers involved, but also fro the communities they serve and form friendships with. Gulkana villagers are sure going to miss them!