JULY 5 to JULY 29 | 25 DAYS
85 HRS SERVICE | TUITION $5,950
Help build much-needed schools and organize a summer camp for kids from the poorest neighborhoods of Santo Domingo. Spend off-hours in classic Caribbean style—socializing, dancing, laughing, telling stories, speaking Spanish and watching baseball with new friends. Complete the experience with excursions to the Zona Colonial, artisan markets, beaches, caves and the majestic Dominican Alps.
*Note that 2021 activities will be adjusted as needed for Covid-safety protocols; read the program itinerary and Covid page for more information.
“I had a blast on the VISIONS program. I believe that community service builds character. I would do this all again in a heartbeat. Throughout this program I learned values that will stick with me for the rest of my life. I also learned not to take anything for granted.”
Service in the Dominican Republic is immensely rewarding, and during our more than 25 years partnering with the Lions Club of Sabana Perdida, VISIONS teens have made a significant impact. They’ve helped build dozens of homes, large schools, a medical clinic and community centers. Work on these cinder block and mortar buildings is totally hands-on. Local maestros show volunteers how to place blocks evenly, how to use concrete for different purposes and where to place the rebar that fortifies the block construction.
Each year, more than 3,200 Dominican children attend classes in schools built by VISIONS. Every summer, we also organize a popular summer camp for kids. These projects mostly take place in bateyes, neighborhoods originally formed by immigrant Haitian workers lured to the country as cheap labor for the sugarcane industry. Living conditions in bateyes are substandard and public services are meager, so being a part of improving things here is deeply gratifying.
“My VISIONS trip to the Dominican Republic was the most life-changing experience of my life. Living in the local community with Dominicans immersed us in a culture where family is the number one priority. By the end of the trip I feel like our group truly replicated this concept.”
In many ways, the Ramos family is like most Dominican families—warm and outgoing, loving, hard-working and humorous. In other ways, though, they stand alone. They are legendary for their integrity and selfless service in their community and as part of VISIONS. The Ramos family has been our family in the Dominican Republic since we began working there in 1991. They have embraced, guided and advised us, providing loving wisdom and active support.
Santos and Lidia Ramos are longstanding members and past presidents of Club de Leones (Lions Club). Santos owns a small colmado, or corner store, in the neighborhood where the Ramoses make their home and where VISIONS teens have their homebase. Every summer, Santos leaves his shop in the care of a neighbor and joins VISIONS to supervise work projects, and to create and nurture ever-stronger ties between our host community and us. Santos is a wise, discerning and eminently respected elder.
Lidia served as the principal at Escuela Melvin Jones, a school built by VISIONS and the Lions Club in the ’90s, which serves more than 800 school children every year. She, too, is an active community volunteer and coordinator for philanthropic and service projects in poor batey communities. Lidia offers love and affection to VISIONS teens who are living far from home.
Their son, Alberto, has also been a part of VISIONS since, as a teen, he worked with our kids. He then served as director of the VISIONS Dominican Republic program for more than 15 years and was beloved by participants. Like his parents, he holds a profound belief in the power of VISIONS to positively affect the communities and our participants. He and his wife Kenia (our former dinner cook) have three fantastic kids who are carrying on the tradition of being part of our programs every year.