Sayre News

Sierra O'Brien '20 Heads to the Dominican Republic to Work with VISIONS Service Adventures
Posted 04/17/2019 02:58PM
This summer, Sayre School student Sierra O'Brien '20 will travel to Dominican Republic, with VISIONS Service Adventures, an international community service program for teens. O'Brien will join other high school students from around the world in Santo Domingo, the oldest city in the New World, where they will live in the community, get to know the local customs and traditions and tackle ambitious service projects.

"Students arrive with the intent of contributing to underserved communities, and end up a part of that community," says Katherine Dayton, Executive Director of VISIONS. "They build relationships with other participants, mentors and community members, and step out of their comfort zones and into experiences that create lifelong impact."

Every year, more than 3,000 Dominican children attend schools built by VISIONS students. Continuing 28 years of work in the DR, this summer volunteers will continue their cinder-block-and-mortar construction efforts to expand classrooms at a school in a seriously underserved neighborhood. They will also put on a long-running and very popular day camp for local children.

Afternoons and weekends are set aside for regional travel and exploring the home-base area. In the DR, VISIONS teens will practice their Spanish by playing games with local kids, taking merengue lessons and buying fruit in the market. Students will also enjoy swimming, snorkeling, cave exploration and visiting historic Santo Domingo.

All programs are overseen by adult leaders and long-time local partners, who guide and teach the students in hands-on construction and other development projects. Beyond completing service projects, the summer is an opportunity for students to explore the idea of community in both a local and global sense. "VISIONS is not about construction projects," explains long-time program leader David Kramer. "It is about deconstructing how we view the world and then framing a new vision upon the foundation of real experience with a global perspective."

VISIONS has been running high school and middle school volunteer travel experiences since 1989 and is well known for programs that are centered on community-driven projects in cross-cultural settings. Locations include Alaska, the British Virgin Islands, Cambodia, the Montana Blackfeet and Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservations, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador and the Galápagos and Peru. 

For more information about this trip and VISIONS, visit, call us at 406.551.4423, or contact Henry at
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