Immersion Service Community

Tech-Free: Disconnect So You Can Really Connect




Upon arriving at Santo Domingo airport, our teen volunteers are warmly greeted by VISIONS leaders. Following a brief call home, we embark on a pleasant two-hour journey north, traversing the scenic Cordillera Central mountain range. Our vibrant homebase, the charming neighborhood of Cotui, awaits.

The remaining part of the day is dedicated to making ourselves comfortable in our new surroundings and commencing our orientation for the days ahead. Our dinner cook, Marina, prepares a delicious Dominican meal, and our first Circle meeting fosters a deeper connection among us.


DAYS 2 & 3

We get to know the neighborhood through an engaging scavenger hunt, marking the beginning of numerous opportunities to practice Spanish, engage with local children, and immerse ourselves in la vida Dominicana!

Following this, we dive into our projects, gaining insights into the context of our collective endeavors and shared goals. Maestros teach us the skills needed for masonry construction and we dig into the work that will benefit local school children in need of greater classroom spaces. We also start the day camp “campamento,” where we engage local children in lessons encompassing environmental studies, animal welfare, English, and arts and crafts.

Homebase crew rotations commence, with groups taking turns in preparing meals, maintaining our living spaces, and shopping at local markets for our next meals.

On our inaugural evening, we partake in a Cena de Bievenida, a welcome dinner shared with community friends who prepare a hearty feast, deliver welcoming speeches, and usher us into a longstanding tradition of collaboration in the DR. that you are now part of.



A much anticipated highlight of the program is our immersive “dia con familias,” day stays with host families. Partnered with a fellow participant, we dive into the beat of Dominican life, seeing the world through the eyes of our host family. 

After breakfast, you’ll join your family and stay until dinner, sharing a complete day. Language barriers won’t hold you back—while your Spanish skills may not be flawless, the shared desire to connect will fuel meaningful interactions. Many host families remain involved in various aspects of the program, enriching the bond you’ll form with our vibrant Cotui community.

“The homestay was one of my favorite moments on the trip. I loved talking with my homestay family and learning what their lives are like. The kids in my homestay family were really fun to be around and I got to chat with them in Spanish.”


DAYS 5 – 8

Projects take root and flourish as days hum with purpose and community. Worksite strides mirror our personal growth and if you weren’t already in the groove of masonry and working with children, this week will bring it all together. Community members join us at worksites and it’s impossible not to notice the progress we’re making. With daily options to choose your worksite, you can focus on the project that resonates most with you.

As the afternoon sun dips, we shift from tools to recreation. We take stock of our accomplishments, unwind, and embrace the joys of cultural experiences. Dance your heart out with salsa and merengue lessons, engage in dominoes leagues, join pickup baseball and soccer games, and have fun during the Dia de Cotui exploring town.  

One afternoon we go swimming and take a ferry ride at our favorite mountain lake—the expansive Presa de Hatillo, which rejuvenates and reminds us of the beauty within and beyond our work. 

Read more about daily life on VISIONS programs.



Let’s mix things up during the workweek with a full-day adventure to the historic town of San Francisco de Macoris. Our destination is La Esmeralda, an organic cacao plantation and chocolate-making hub. This family-owned farm is part of the global chocolate market and also champions an eco-friendly approach.

Engage in an interactive tour that provides an intimate look at the chocolate production journey. Prepare to be impressed as you learn about the process and even create your very own chocolate to savor on the spot or save for later. It’s an experience that blends learning, fun and deliciousness, all while supporting sustainable practices.


DAY 10

As our time in Cotui draws to a close, we put the finishing touches on our projects. These structures will stand as lasting reminders of the positive impact we’ve made on the community. A part of you will remain in this place, and part of it will go with you. 

The appreciation from the kids at campamento and the transformation we’ve witnessed will instill in you the confidence and compassion to make a difference whenever the opportunity arises in the future.

It’s also a day of reflection and preparation. We tidy up our living space, express our gratitude through thank-you cards, and take in the warmth of our cherished neighborhood. As we gather for a final dinner with our dear friends, we’re reminded that every moment spent here has contributed to a shared journey of growth and connection.


DAY 11

Load up your gear into the iconic guagua that has become synonymous with our adventures. The next destination: Juan Dolio Beach! After bidding farewell to our Dominican friends and enjoying a final breakfast, we hit the road for this beautiful coastal spot outside of Santo Domingo.

Let the day unfold as you soak up the sun on the pristine white sand beaches and take refreshing dips in the crystal-clear Caribbean waters. Explore the local souvenir shops, share laughs with your fellow participants and leaders, and make the most of this unforgettable day.

As the sun sets, we settle into a charming little hotel, indulging in a satisfying pizza dinner. Our evening wraps up with a poignant Circle meeting, a time to reflect on the incredible journey we’ve shared and the connections we’ve forged.


DAY 12

Amid heartfelt embraces and the tales we’ve woven together, our journeys intersect and diverge. Our leaders say their goodbyes and see you through the check-in process for your flight.

As you set forth, dear VISIONS participants, may your newfound capacity to serve with grace accompany you throughout your life, a catalyst for bright moments and profound bonds. 

Our deep affections as you continue to make a positive impact, carrying the spirit of our shared experiences forward.

 Hasta la próxima! 

What kids and parents say about us is more telling than what we say about ourselves.

VISIONS in The New York Times