The VISIONS Experience, In Their Own Words

We have all heard it a million times; whether it’s a new car or a new app, there’s often a promise that something will “change your life.” But does it really? It might add a slight convenience, but life changing? That‘s a pretty big claim.

However, when it comes to summer programs for high school and middle school aged volunteers, if it’s a quality one, it should be life changing. After all, this is an exciting time of tremendous personal growth, both physically and emotionally. Through VISIONS, participants experience traveling to different parts of the world, taking part in meaningful service work within communities that have a wide spectrum of needs, living among new cultures that are very different from our own, and exploring through travel adventures. These experiences are enlightening, exhilarating, and empowering and help shape participants’ futures and sense of self.

So is VISIONS a life changing experience? Here’s what VISIONS participants and families have to say:

From VISIONS Teen Volunteers

  • “I learned that I can adapt and live without the luxuries American society takes for granted, just like the people of the Carib Reserve can enjoy their lives by being entertained by their local practices, fellow Dominicans, and the beauty and magnificence of their island.” —Dylan Mogil, Pleasantville, NY
  • “My summer was definitely a mind-changing experience… I learned so much about culture, preserving things, people, scenery, and I learned a lot about myself as well.” —Katie Roose, Scarsdale, NY
  • “My VISIONS experience changed the way I look at life. I now realize how much I have, and how much I need to appreciate everything… I learned that I can be happy anywhere, with or without possessions.” —Amanda McAneny, Chesapeake, MD
  • “…I found my passion for experiencing other cultures and my love for human connection and giving back. I left with a confidence and happiness level that I had never experienced before….” —Bree Westcott, Carlsbad, CA

From VISIONS Participant Parents

  • “What a transformed boy—young man—came home to us. He was shown true examples of working in the world, and he was expected to do his share. And in the process, his own sense of competence increased vastly. He clearly has some new social skills, and the skills he acquired in carpentry are of value beyond description to a boy who has always struggled to make something happen with his hands.” —Nancy Ranney Levi, Fair Oaks, CA    
  • “Adam truly had a life-altering experience. I feel like he went from boy to man in the month he was away.” —Linda Sloven, Nevada City, CA
  • “It is strange, as a parent, to never have actually met the people who helped our child grow into a more aware, fulfilled and content human being… but I do know what you all are like. I know because I see it in my daughter’s face and the way she treats others with respect and dignity.” —Sara Adkisson-Joyner, Omaha, NE

One From the Vault

  • “I came across the old journal I kept while I was in the Dominican Republic, and it was so interesting. I don’t know how to really express to you how important VISIONS is to me. My VISIONS summers as a kid forever altered my life for the better and sent me on to adventures – and a career – I wouldn’t have believed I would ever experience…” —Elyse Langer, 1994 VISIONS participant