Service Projects How You Make A Difference

On every VISIONS Service Adventure, you’ll immerse completely in a new culture, explore and grow, but perhaps most importantly...
YOU’ll HAVE A PROFOUND IMPACT ON PEOPLE’s LIVES.

VISIONS students take on worthwhile projects all over the globe.

See some of the meaningful ways you’ll help create positive change in:

Alaska

VISIONS teens built a wheelchair ramp for Arnold Gene, an elder who lost his legs in a fire. Helping improve the quality of life for village elders has been part of our work in Alaska since 1995.

Time lapse of construction on a wheelchair ramp by VISIONS high school volunteers in Montana

In the Tetlin Wildlife Refuge, we removed invasive weed species that threaten native species. Environmental work complements many of the construction projects that our teens accomplish each summer.

Student volunteers pose in safety gear during a project pulling invasive weeds in Alaska

Students constructed two wood sheds for village elders. The Tetlin community is dependent on firewood in part for heating during the winter, and also for smokehouses to preserve meat.

A look at a completed woodshed built for local elders by VISIONS high school participants in Alaska.

At the Tetlin Community Center, we replaced wood flooring and built a wild game processing table. As a subsistence-based community in rural Alaska, villagers rely on wild game as a major food source, and the community center is widely used.

Getting hands-on training and experience with hand and power tools on a service project in Alaska

We built an outhouse for Theda Jo and helped longtime community partner Yvonne John with projects at her home. Tetlin locals facilitate projects and cultural events with us, and we like to give some extra helping hands for them when we can.

VISIONS teen volunteer get comfortable on a service project, helping improve quality of life for elders in Alaska.

British Virgin Islands

VISIONS teens built a large playground structure and seating area at the Killi Killi Community Center. We’ve worked in the BVI for 25 years and completed many projects that serve the entire community, and often children.

VISIONS teen volunteers pose at the completed playground project they constructed in British Virgin Islands

Students worked with organic farmer Khoy Smith, building a trellis for passion fruit, clearing garden space, pruning banana trees, and planting seedlings. Organic and local food projects have become more a part of our work in recent years.

Getting our hands dirty on an improvement project at an organic farm in British Virgin Islands

We worked with the BVI National Park Trust at Queen Elizabeth II Park and the Botanic Gardens for trail maintenance and other improvements. The Park Trust is one of our long-term partners, and is doing important conservation work for the islands.

Teen volunteers making improvements at the local Botanic Gardens near our home base in British Virgin Islands

Teen volunteers did construction work at the Humane Society’s new facility, and also helped care for some of the animals. With few animal care resources in the BVI, we’ve worked with the Humane Society to help in their expansion efforts.

Teen volunteers working at a local animal shelter in BVI

Students did renovations to a family’s home by building a porch to extend the small living quarters, and creating an outdoor cooking and eating space. While some of the BVI benefits from tourism, a vast amount of islanders live in poverty and with very rudimentary housing.

VISIONS high school volunteers work on a construction project in British Virgin Islands

We worked with the Red Cross for swimming lessons to a small group of adults with disabilities. In addition to construction projects, social service is an important component to the program and cultural experience.

One of our long-time local partners in British Virgin Islands

Cambodia

Our teens developed lesson plans and led classes for young children to help improve their English and other skills. In Cambodia, our work with primary school kids has been a priority, and it's also a great way for us to interact with these energetic youngsters.

VISIONS volunteers work with students at a school in Cambodia

VISIONS volunteers worked with local laborers to construct an outdoor latrine with two stalls at a primary school. Dedicated to improving schools, this project serves 400 students who previously only had the use of two toilets.

Time lapse scene of construction of a latrine at a school in Cambodia

VISIONS students repaired a school's hand wash station that had improper drainage. Helping under-resourced schools improve sanitation and overall quality of life for their students has far-reaching and long-term benefits.

Teen travelers repairing the hand wash station at a school in Cambodia

We built a storage shed for soccer gear, and also led summer classes to girls at SALT Academy. Our work with SALT, an inspiring nonprofit that runs youth soccer leagues and provides education and vocation classes, has helped kids who otherwise don’t have such opportunities.

VISIONS teens building a block structure in Cambodia

Dominican Republic

VISIONS teen volunteers constructed two classrooms at a school that was already filled to capacity. The school was built by past VISIONS groups, and serves 800 primary students who otherwise would have no school to attend.

Student volunteers in Dominican Republic building a wall for a new classroom

Our group completed infrastructure at a new baseball field, constructing the perimeter wall and a dugout. The field is now the centerpiece of this poor community, where baseball is the national sport and a possible means to a new life for some Dominicans.

A group of young Dominican baseball players poses during a game

Working with local teens, VISIONS students ran Campamento de Juveniles (day camp) for 65 young children. We’ve been running this wildly popular camp for 20 years, WHICH provides structure and educational opportunities for many kids.

Having fun with local kids at our day camp in Dominican Republic

We designed and painted a mural at the San Luís School, where, for the past 10 years, each VISIONS group has created a mural with local people to demonstrate the camaraderie and shared volunteer efforts.

A teen volunteer paints a mural at a community school in the Dominican Republic

Ecuador & Galapagos

Participants completed the construction of brick & mortar tourist kiosks in the rural community of Sucre. The village receives passing tourists, and the kiosks give artists and farmers a place to sell their products.

Before and after views of brick kiosks build by our teen volunteers

We painted part of an elementary school in Patate and made improvements to another small schoolhouse in the rural town of San Pablo de Morragacho. A focus in Ecuador has been to improve existing school infrastructure and sanitation facilities.

A student traveler painting a school house in Ecuador

Our teens assisted at the daycare Gotitas de Miel by creating lesson plans and playing games in Spanish and English. Social service complements our construction work, and also helps local kids work on their English skills while we improve our Spanish.

A group of VISIONS high school travelers poses with local kids at a day care in Ecuador

We worked with trained staff at a center for people with disabilities by doing activities designed to promote life skills. Sure, we lent a hand, but we also learned more about the culture and connected with people on a one-on-one basis.

Teaching life skills at a help center in Ecuador

Guadeloupe

We built picnic table benches, designed a mural, and painted the basketball court key at the community center where we live. These smaller projects are part of the upkeep and maintenance we do to thank our host communities for welcoming us.

A VISIONS participant repairs a wooden boardwalk in our host community in Guadeloupe

With a farming cooperative, VISIONS teens helped cut down trees, transport lumber to build livestock pens, clear invasive plants, feed animals, and install fencing. Local organic food is important for these remote islands' sustainability.

Teens posing on a farming coop in Guadeloupe

We helped city workers paint decorative fencing and do an extensive beach cleanup in preparation for the annual festival. We’re often the “right hands” for Service Technique, the agency in charge of maintaining infrastructure.

Cleaning (and decorating) the beach on Guadeloupe

Students helped lead a day camp at Centre de Loiser for children ages 4 to 8, facilitating games, swimming and language lessons, and also worked with L’Office Municipal de la Culture et des Sports to run a youth program with the aim of cross-cultural learning and language exchange. Our work with youth in Guadeloupe allows us to make one-on-one connections, learn about the culture firsthand, and practice our French language skills.

Young students in Guadeloupe learn english from a VISIONS high school volunteer

In partnership with L’Office National des Forêts, our group did extensive work on scenic trails. Much of our work in Guadeloupe focuses on environmental efforts to help preserve the island’s diverse ecological areas.

Working with hand tools on an improvement project in Guadeloupe

Mississippi

We completed major renovations to a large home damaged by Hurricane Katrina. As one of the only volunteer groups still returning to the Gulf Coast after Katrina, these projects provide high-quality, low-income housing in an area otherwise threatened by large-scale development.

VISIONS is invested in the Gulf Coast for the long term

Students constructed a handicap-accessible interpretive trail, built a footbridge, and conducted a 4th of July beach patrol to protect bird nesting grounds. Environmental work is imperative to the health of the Gulf, and our partner, the Audubon Society, is doing some great work.

Student doing environmental service work for Audubon Society

We built picnic tables, cleared brush and fallen branches, and power-washed and painted part of a small church that also serves as a community gathering place. The projects we do—big and small—are a way of thanking local people for welcoming us.

Improvement work at a church in Mississippi

Our teens did maintenance on a footbridge by stretching cables, installing hardware, and tensioning the bridge to be plumb and level. The bridge was a VISIONS project from previous years, and is part of conservation efforts for the watershed.

Building bridges, both literally and figuratively, in rural Mississippi

Montana Blackfeet

We built a garden shed and shade structure, and helped develop a community garden to provide nutritional education. Access to fresh food is a challenge on the reservation, as are health effects that go along with that shortage.

Building a garden shed with local kids in Montana

Students helped Corwin and Shauna Yellow Kidney prepare for the Sun Dance by chopping firewood, securing lodge poles, organizing the cook tent, and serving meals. It’s an honor to attend the ceremony and witness these powerful traditions.

Preparing for Sun Dance on Montana's Blackfeet reservation

At a new skatepark donated by Pearl Jam bassist Jeff Ament, VISIONS teens built additional infrastructure of bike racks and a large bulletin board. The skatepark is overwhelmingly popular, and gives local youth a place to recreate.

Building a new skate park in Browning, Montana

We worked with the Blackfeet Land Trust and Conservation Corps to remove invasive plant species at Yellow Bird Woman Sanctuary. Located in the Glacier Park ecosystem, environmental projects are an important part of our work.

Removing invasive weeds on a VISIONS project in Montana

VISIONS teens built a wheelchair ramp, reinforced steps, painted, and did carpentry work at several elders’ homes. Secure housing is sometimes an issue in Browning, and these projects also provide an opportunity to spend time with community members.

Building a wheelchair ramp for tribal elders in Montana

Montana Northern Cheyenne

VISIONS teens built two quarter pipes to be used at a new skatepark. Skateparks have been proven to reduce crime and help keep kids out of trouble, and we work to promote gathering places like this for reservation youth.

Working on a skate park on Northern Cheyenne reservation in Montana

We organized healthy living activities through the Kids Kollege, a popular summer camp for reservation kids. While giving local kids educational structure to their summers, this program is also a great way for us to make one-on-one connections.

Working with children in Montana

VISIONS teens remodeled two bathrooms for the Dull Knife Community College library. We often work with the college, which educates more than 300 students per year and is vital for the prosperity of reservation youth.

Construction work at Dull Knife college in Montana

We helped prepare and serve lunch to approximately 60 elders on a daily basis. This work with Shoulder Blade Senior Center has been an incredibly rewarding project, allowing us to get to know reservation elders and hear their stories.

Preparing meals for tribal elders in Montana

We built picnic tables and did maintenance at the Head Start school, which is also our homebase. Head Start is an important place for early childhood development on the reservation. They are generous to let us stay every summer.

Giving back to our host community with improvement projects

Our teens did cleanup at a community park and at Crazy Head Springs, a tribal recreation area. Environmental projects are typically incorporated into our programs as a way to promote conservation while also maintaining important gathering places.

Students pose in wildflowers at Crazy Head Springs in Montana

Myanmar

At the Phaung Daw Oo Monastic School (PDO), we helped construct an office building and shade canopy, painted, and repaired fences. PDO is an incredible school that has gained widespread recognition for its educational initiatives.

Brick construction project in Myanmar

VISIONS students helped install plumbing for new restrooms at PDO's partner school, Ground One. Infrastructure improvements are important for Myanmar schools, which are often under-resourced and underfunded.

Expanding access to clean restrooms at a school in Myanmar

VISIONS teen volunteers organized and taught two English classes per day to 60 high school and college students. English aptitude is becoming more important for these students’ professional futures, and working with native speaker is warmly received.

Teaching English in Myanmar

We partnered with PDO students for cultural exchanges and lessons about current affairs. These exchange programs help us understand the complex situation Myanmar is going through, along with the possible outcomes.

Enriching ourselves and our hosts through cultural exchanges

With PDO, we designed and implemented a recycling and garbage program, and organized and performed a skit about environmental awareness to 200 students. Our programs give priority environmental initiatives like this.

Bringing recycling to our host community in Myanmar

Nicaragua

Our teens completed a two-story community center and clinic, which has been a multi-year project for VISIONS and our local partner. The building provides a place for environmental planning, town meetings, and for visiting doctors to work.

Time lapse of a multi-year construction project in Nicaragua

We started the construction of a composting latrine in the rural village of Las Lomas. Our partner organization has expertise on properly constructing these composting latrines, which provide important public health improvements.

Building a composting latrine to improve sanitation in a rural village

We helped a nonprofit with household surveys to serve as prep for future sanitation systems. All our projects are done with local nonprofits that assess and know the community needs, and VISIONS provides financial support.

Building for the future in Nicaragua

With Our Lady of Fatima School, VISIONS teens facilitated afternoon English classes and games. This work is also a great way for our students to work on Spanish skills and make friends with local kids.

Teaching English in Nicaragua

We built beehive boxes for farmers to use in an effort to sustain the bee population, and also dug a large fish pond that will provide a revenue stream. Our partner organization does incredible grassroots work that serves thousands of rural people.

Building a apiary in Nicaragua

Northern Passage

Our students served daily lunches to a large group of Northern Cheyenne Reservation elders, and made goody bags from donated items. Our work with these elders has been an incredibly rewarding way of hearing their stories while helping to make them smile.

Middle school students preparing meals for elders in our host community

At Dull Knife Community College, we constructed a rock wall around a community garden. The garden is part of an initiative to grow local food and do nutrition education, and the fence keeps animals from eating the harvest.

Improving agriculture in our host community in Montana

Our middle schoolers facilitated healthy living activities for children at the Kids Kollege camp. The program also serves as a great way for our students to interact and make friends with younger kids on the reservation.

Teaching exercise and healthy living to children on Northern Cheyenne reservation in Montana

At the Head Start Preschool, also our homebase, we designed and painted welcome signs and did other small maintenance projects. We always try to make improvements at our living facilities, and also work to support the Head Start programs.

Middle school volunteers giving back to our host community

Peru

With local farmers, VISIONS teens built 250 yards of cement irrigation canals. This is in addition to miles of canals that our teens have built over the years as part of an extremely successful farming and water conservation initiative.

Building irrigation canals to improve agriculture in Peru

In the village of Chakkuar, we built a brick and mortar kitchen, cafeteria, and bathrooms at a primary school. VISIONS has built many preschools in Peru, and we also do additions and improvements to existing schools every year.

Improving the facilities at a school in Peru

We broke ground on a preschool and nearly finished it to completion. When we’re not able to entirely complete a phase of construction, we often hire local workers to finish the work so the school can immediately be put to use.

Working on a preschool in Peru

VISIONS teens helped disabled children at a school that promotes life skills and social interactions. These social projects are a wonderful way of getting to know people in a personal way, while working together on some shared goals.

Working with children in a rural village in Peru