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REVIEWS &
TESTIMONIALS

We have hundreds of pages of testimonials and letters from students and parents over the years about their positive and transformative VISIONS experiences. Here are just a few of the comments we’ve received in recent years.

REVIEWS &
TESTIMONIALS

We have hundreds of pages of testimonials and letters from students and parents over the years about their positive and transformative VISIONS experiences. Here are just a few of the comments we’ve received in recent years.

Alaska Reviews

“ONE OF THE THINGS I LIKED THE MOST WAS THE OPPORTUNITY TO GIVE UNCONDITIONALLY, AND YET ALWAYS RECEIVE SOMETHING POSITIVE IN RETURN.”
—GIULIO DE RENALDY, ITALY

 

I gained an appreciation for how others live, and an understanding that some of those aspects are not very different from my life. I also learned new skills in carpentry, and I was excited about adventure activities like ice climbing and backpacking. It was an awesome experience!
—Jocelyn Greer, New Jersey

 

I wanted to do an adventure that is challenging for me and to also do something good for other people. VISIONS provided me a perfect opportunity. I gained lots of friendship with local people, students and leaders. We had a lot of fun when we were working as a team and also going on the adventures of ice climbing and backpacking. Also, the views were indeed awesome. We climbed up on a hill near the village and saw the blue sky, green forest and mountains. I enjoyed this program so much and I learned many things.
—Haochen Zhang, China

High school students ice climbing on summer community service program in Alaska.

I come back to VISIONS every year because there are no other programs like this. I love how VISIONS does community service as the main focus, while also enjoying some excursions, but not so much that they take up the whole trip. I also love how VISIONS allows us to be really immersed at the location. I often feel like I’ve been living there my whole life. I learned a lot about myself this summer and also got a sense of leadership. I definitely increased my perseverance through work, hiking, backpacking, and chore groups. I absolutely loved Alaska!
—Grace Lee, U.K.

 

Will has had formative experiences with VISIONS. Our goal in sending him away was to give him some life experiences in a culture very different from his own in a way that he could make a difference. Throughout his Alaska trip, on the rare occasions we spoke with him, he was having a great time—loved the work, love the trips, and loved the group. He’s still missing his trip very much. Please keep doing what you are doing. It’s terrific.
—Mignon Loh, California

British Virgin Islands Reviews

“MY FAVORITE PART OF THIS EXPERIENCE WAS TO SEE THE INS AND OUTS OF THE WAY PEOPLE LIVED.”
—KYLE EDWIN, NEW YORK

 

I loved how I got to meet new people and I got to live within the community and actually feel like I’m doing something important. I loved being able to know that I can leave the U.S. and meet new people by myself, and it was a really great experience and I loved the excursions like the scuba diving. I think it was great.
—Riley Munson, Florida

 

Zoie had an absolutely fantastic adventure. She loved every bit of it. Her experiences with VISIONS BVI far surpassed her previous summer programs that she has been involved with, including better purpose, more room to grow, more freedom, clearly geared towards service. Thanks for letting Zoie be a part of such a great adventure!
—Gail Berkley, Minnesota

High school students SCUBA diving on summer community service program in the British Virgin Islands

I loved the wide array of work-sites and constant activity during the program. I was never bored. I enjoyed having dinner with our neighbors and the close friends we made. It was really cool to talk to them and share common interests. I loved the constant trips to the beach or Road Town, and also our more adventurous excursions. I really loved the staffers. They headed the program with kindness and respect for everyone; they listened to the kids well and put their happiness and safety first. Logan was the carpenter honcho, and was also a great leader. He taught me how to properly hammer a nail with patience and good humor.
—Sarah Yamashita, New Jersey

 

This summer was rewarding because not only did I meet great people and learn through my experiences but I also learned a lot about myself and grew as a person.
—Eleni Alafouzos, Greece

Cambodia Reviews

“I LEARNED USEFUL SKILLS SUCH AS HAMMERING NAILS PROPERLY, SAWING WOOD, PAINTING AND CEMENTING.”
—JIWON SHIN, BRITISH COLUMBIA

 

I really enjoyed seeing the school project progress from beginning to end. It was satisfying and rewarding to see all of our hard work translate into an actual result. Also, I liked having the kids at the school always there at the worksite. They served as a big motivation for me to keep working. I enjoyed just being able to socialize and interact with local people. It was always heartwarming to see them smile and laugh with us.
—Robert Rosoff, California

 

I had the most amazing summer ever. I loved everything about my VISIONS experience. The group was filled with kind, wonderful students and the leaders were organized and fun. I hope to do my 4th VISIONS trip next year!
—Laurel Stanley, Massachusetts

High school students on a summer community service program in Cambodia

I’d like to add how incredibly amazing this summer was! We had awesome leaders and Cambodia was amazing. Volunteering for the Mighty Girls was also such a pleasure—very inspirational people!
—Andrew Goodrum, Florida

 

Angkor Wat was amazing! I loved exploring the temples and seeing history right before my eyes. I really enjoyed mountain biking through the jungle to get to the different temples. We were all splattered with mud from biking and it was thrilling. Also, the bike tour of the countryside was educational and yummy with the foods we got to taste along the way. I learned so much about the food and the people. The boat ride was memorable and I loved sitting on the front looking at the houseboats along the way.
—Lizzie Edwards, Oregon

Dominican Republic Reviews

“CAN’T BE DESCRIBED WITHOUT MAKING UP NEW WORDS. YES, THAT’S HOW INCREDIBLE THIS WAS.”
—ELI CHERRY, MASSACHUSETTS

 

I really liked the construction; it was challenging but not too difficult, and I am very proud of the amount and quality of the work we were able to accomplish. I loved getting to know the Dominicans and appreciated the amount of time we were able to send with them. Every Dominican I met was so friendly, happy, and fun to talk to!! I was definitely able to improve my Spanish through these conversations, too. I also really enjoyed learning about the culture. I had an absolutely amazing time!! It was such an enriching experience, I learned so much, and I will always remember it!!
—Sarah Barnett, Connecticut

High school students on a summer community service program in the Dominican Republic

I had a wonderful experience that I know I will never forget and made friends that I will hope to keep forever.
—Justin Smith, Maryland

 

The Dominicans were with us at homebase, at the worksites, and on excursions. It was awesome getting to know all of them. The leaders were also awesome. I feel that they all tried their very best to make sure we had an awesome trip and I can confidently say that they were successful. I had a ridiculously amazing time. I appreciate everything that VISIONS did to make it happen and I am considering a third trip next summer. You guys are awesome. Thank you so much for giving me an experience I will remember for the rest of my life.
—TJ Mandelkorn, Washington

 

It was so rewarding and I loved that I got to interact with the community so much. It made the whole experience even more meaningful and enjoyable.
—Hennah Vohra, California

Ecuador Reviews

“I ONLY WISH WE WOULD HAVE DISCOVERED VISIONS SOONER. I WISH SHE HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO GO AGAIN.”
—LORI COLELLA, PENNSYLVANIA

 

Some of the most important things I gained from this experience were a sense of goodness for helping the local people, lots of knowledge of another country besides the United States, and some friends that I feel I will stay connected with for a very long time. I also feel that I learned a lot about myself by disconnecting from the outside world for 4 weeks.
—Jory Lindekugel, Florida

 

We wanted him to do something worthwhile, something that would help others and make him appreciate everything he has at home. We wanted to get him off his devices and get him socializing with other kids in “real” reality not “virtual” reality. Today he came home and I am happy to say that all our fears were unjustified and our hopes were fulfilled!
—Eve Rose, Colorado

High school students on a summer community service program in Ecuador

Throughout the trip, there was a perfect balance of work and play, excursions included. Every one of our sightseeing trips were absolutely beautiful and experiences I will never forget. I had an amazing three weeks and would like to thank the leaders for all the work they put in to making us feel at home and for keeping us safe yet entertained.
—Lucia Pucciarelli, Florida

 

I felt very fulfilled with all of the work we did, and the people we made connections with were incredible. I also loved all of the counselors on the trip.
—Alexander Waggoner, Washington

Guadeloupe Reviews

“BEST MONTH OF MY LIFE. MOST BEAUTIFUL PLACE I’VE EVER BEEN, VERY RELAXING, BEST PEOPLE I’VE EVER MET.”
—JAMIE LINDNER, VIRGINIA

 

I loved every minute of it and if I could go back in time I would do it all over again. I got to experience a new culture, make new friends, and take a break from the stresses of home. Basically, I got everything I wanted from the program and more. (And the site we stayed at was more amazing and beautiful than I could have ever imagined.)
—Andrew Mount, Pennsylvania

 

Lucy has truly grown and not only from being exposed to a new culture, French immersion, going on her own and meeting new friends…but, in ways that we would never imagine that she learned from group living and cooperation. A true gift. We have enjoyed every minute of having her home and hearing about her adventure. Thanks again. We are big fans of your program.
—Alice Spahr, Illinois

High school students on a summer community service program in Guadeloupe

I most liked being able to really meet and get to know the people we were working with and helping. It made the work we did more meaningful.
—Sandra Smith, Washington

 

Awesome stuff, fun and rewarding. The homestay we did was so great—my group was paired with a fantastic local woman who took us around and showed us some really cool things. That was amazing.
—Miles Shebar, New York

Montana Blackfeet Reviews

“THIS TRIP HAS BEEN LIFE CHANGING FOR ME AND WAS THE BEST EXPERIENCE. I’M SO GLAD THAT I WAS ABLE TO TAKE PART.”
—CANYON CAMPION, NORTH CAROLINA

 

It was a 5. Everything was great, learning the new different cultures, being able to get along like family with the leaders and the other teens. The activities were all fun. Most of all giving back to the community was great.
—Sanlly Romero, Massachusetts

High school students on a summer community service program in Montana

The community service aspect of this program was great! I loved how close we were to everyone and everything– I really felt like a part of the community. Montana was amazing… I did things I never thought I could do. We went horseback riding, swimming, hiking, and backpacking. VISIONS brought us to amazing places and we saw such cool sites. There was a breathtaking view everywhere we went. I was the youngest participant and thought it would cause me to be left out. I was completely wrong. Age and grade became completely irrelevant from the second we got there. There were no “friend groups” and nobody ever felt left out. We were like one big family. It was great. I also learned a lot about myself this summer. Circle was a great activity that showed me the person I want to be. I feel like I have grown a lot and I hope I have brought that home with me.
—Paden Dvoor, New York

 

I would simply like to say: thank you. Thanks for a great experience this summer; I had no shortage of awesome times in Montana with my group, and I will be recommending VISIONS to friends everywhere I go!
—Sammy Potter, Maine

 

What I enjoyed the most were the skills I gained from learning about carpentry in order to finish our tasks, as well as being able to interact with the people at the reservation. I really liked that we were fully engaged with the reservation.
—Yulissa Lopez, Texas

Montana Northern Cheyenne Reviews

“I LOVED EXPERIENCING ANOTHER CULTURE THAT WAS SO DIFFERENT THAN MY OWN. I ENJOYED SEEING THE NATIVE DANCES AT THE POWWOW AS WELL AS EXPERIENCING A SWEAT LODGE.”
—ISABELLE JEPPSEN, WASHINGTON, D.C.

 

I was really apprehensive about this trip and it was the best experience of my life. Montana was beautiful, the kids on the trip were great and some have become close friends. The work was rewarding and I really put my heart into it. I loved hanging out with the staff and learning so much about the Northern Cheyenne people.
—Sloane Silbert, Illinois

 

The cross-cultural interaction was great. We hosted a dinner for some of our closest friends at the end of the program and they sang a ‘safe travels’ song in Cheyenne. It really spoke to all of our hearts.
—Sarah Yamashita, New Jersey

High school students on a summer community service program in Montana

We attended the powwow which was really fun. I also really enjoyed meeting Otto the fire chief and his family. They taught us traditional dances and so much about the culture and history.
—Claire Brobson, Pennsylvani

 

What I liked best about the community service was building the fire garage because I knew it would actually make an ongoing positive impact on the Northern Cheyenne community. What I liked best about the cultural immersion was playing with the little kids that lived on the reservation. As they are used to playing alone, I could see that they really enjoyed interacting with us, as we enjoyed playing with them.
—Neha Negpal, New York

Montana Middle School Reviews

“HE TOLD US THIS WAS THE BEST THING THAT HAS HAPPENED IN HIS ENTIRE LIFE.”
—AKIKO MATSUMOTO, NEW YORK

 

I thought it was very interesting because I learned a lot about carpentry and woodworking, and those skills will probably come in handy later in life. I really liked how we worked with the kids during the summer camp, and we learned that their culture has many differences compared to mine, but they still are a lot like me.
—Joe Castagno, New Jersey

 

We got to talk to people at the elderly center and we hung out with the kids at kids college. It was awesome to talk to the elders because they were like books but with personality. They had so much information and it was great to get their perspective since what we learn in school misses so many things.
—Maya Luera, Virginia

High school students on a summer community service program in Montana

I thought that the community service that we did was helpful. It was something that was necessary for the community. I also like how we got to do a variety of services. I got to learn a lot about the culture by doing the tours and getting to talk to the Cheyenne. The people there were really open and told us amazing things. I also liked that we got to go out and explore a lot. The camping trip was the most fun for me and was a good bonding moment for the campers. I had a great time and I am looking forward to next year.
—Zoe White, Georgia

 

We had hoped for a few things to happen through this experience:
1) greater independence – for Katie to step outside of her comfort zone and challenge herself
2) better understanding of others and her relationship to the world around her
3) distance from cell phones and chance to connect with people and place personally.
VISIONS helped her to accomplish all three. She developed friendships on a deeper level, she learned a great deal about Native American culture, and she returned home more confident, mature, and thoughtful. Thank you for giving the middle schoolers a building activity that makes them feel a true strong sense of accomplishment.
—Whitney Bruce, Maine

Nicaragua Reviews

“I WAS IN AWE. THIS EXPERIENCE SHAPED MY BEING AS A WHOLE.”
—DERON ESSEX, ILLINOIS

The whole experience was life changing. It’s something I will take values from for the rest of my life. Plus, I learned so much Spanish and now am ahead in school.
—Mikaela Stelmach, Colorado

 

The work was tiring but I liked it. I’ve never used a pickaxe and learning to how to use it was interesting. Same goes for a machete and learning how to lay concrete. I like learning new and different things and that made the work fun. The day stay with a family was amazing. Getting thrown into a completely new environment, with no type of help translating is the best way to learn. I felt that I got to understand the daily life the most during that day with my host family.
—Peter Wolff, Massachusetts

High school students on a summer community service program in Nicaragua

I thought the program was excellent. It lived up to the expectations that we hoped for. The leaders seemed to take an active role in the kids and I know Will responded. The fact that the ratio of leaders to kids is so high is extremely valuable in my opinion. The kids really benefit. It seems like the kids were not coddled and they were expected to carry their weight. Being that the overall environment was so different than what Will has experienced before made for an extremely meaningful time. As your literature and communications state, the program really does address the needs of today’s teens by challenging them personally and providing a sense of where they fit in the world. It was safe, challenging, nurturing, hard work and fun. Will loved it. Thank you!
—Kris Stieg, California

 

We interacted so much with the community members. I think the cultural immersion aspect was the best part for me. I really loved the weekends, too. The coffee farm was so much fun and the chocolate factory was great, especially the hike at the end.
—Fiona Fragomen, New York

Peru Reviews

“THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR AN AMAZING SUMMER, VISIONS!”
—SYLVAN LEBRUN, PENNSYLVANIA

 

I feel like I learned about what really matters, and not to be so bothered with superficial things. My program was absolutely amazing. I was surrounded by the most incredible people 24/7, and that really makes a trip like this. If you are as fortunate as I was to go on a VISIONS trip, take full advantage of every experience presented to you.
—Sierra O’Brien, Kentucky

 

No words for the experience Victoria had—I am so happy with the change I see in her. She came back being more happy (and she’s typically very happy), more appreciate and more grateful than ever. The experience opened her up to discover more of who she is as a person and the difference she can make not only with her family, but also her community and the world.
—Angela Mellow, California

High school students on a summer community service program in Peru

I liked how we actually did real work and that we weren’t treated like children. We were trusted to do actual important work. There were a lot of opportunities to experience cultural immersion out at the worksites, around town on “Bamba time,” and occasionally in the house, and I think it’s really cool to even have that opportunity.
—Graham Weinschenk, Virginia

 

I want to express my deepest gratitude to everyone at VISIONS. People filled with love for what they do and the capacity to be flexible and share the leadership. You are running an incredible organization. This trip has been amazing, the work is real, the community needs are real, and the place is beyond magical. Another word I have to say is about Nico and his love for his community and how he operates from a place of respect, commitment and efficiency. And Neyda always went above and beyond to prepare delicious meals. All of this is to express my gratitude. This will be a hard trip to top.
—Marcelo Bronstein, New York (Custom Program)