Local teen to explore a Montana Indian Reservation
By Robyn Paris
Playa Vista resident Kai Indeglia is a 16-year old who attends Mar Vista High School in El Segundo. Like most teenagers, she lives an active lifestyle, playing basketball, volleyball and tennis. But not all teens have a vision to personally make the world a better place. Kai places a lot of value on serving the community and typically tends to gravitate towards volunteer opportunities that allow her to use her athletic background and to work with kids. In the past, she’s volunteered for the special Olympics, KEEN (Kids Enjoy Exercise Now) and Acing Autism.
This summer, however, Kai will go on an adventure in a place worlds away from Silicon Beach. In late June/early July, Kai, will spend two weeks in Montana living and working on a Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation through a community service program called VISIONS Service Adventures.
This unique program brings together high school students from all over the world to learn local Native American customs and traditions, while embarking on service projects like home and community center building, serving meals in senior centers and working closely with young children attending educational day camps. On weekends, Kai will join other students in exploring the Northern Cheyenne region—visiting the Little Bighorn Battlefield, attending a powwow, camping overnight in the area and exploring local caves and lakes.
The trip with VISIONS Service Adventures will be Kai’s first experience learning about and volunteering for indigenous populations. Kai found out about VISIONS through brochures distributed by Mar Vista High School and is excited that her best friend, Mia Tausik, will also be attending.
VISIONS has been running high school and middle school volunteer travel experiences since 1989 and is known for programs centered on community service projects in cross-cultural settings, including Alaska, the British Virgin Islands, Guadeloupe, the Montana Blackfeet and Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservations, the Dominican Republic, the Galapagos and Peru. The program is overseen by adult leaders and long-time local partners in ratios of 1 leader to 4-5 students. The leaders guide students in hands-on construction and other development projects.
VISIONS program leader David Kramer explains, the programs are “about deconstructing how we view the world and then framing a new vision upon the foundation of real experience with a global perspective.” Because student participants frequently spend time sharing stories with tribal elders and playing games with kids on the reservation, the experience is much more than community service. Executive Director of VISIONS, Katherine Dayson, points out, “students arrive with the intent of contributing to underserved communities, and end up a part of that community.”
As for Kai, she’s thrilled by the opportunity to travel to an Indian Reservation in Montana, get to know the local customs and traditions and meet fellow high school students who share her passion for volunteerism, noting “I was attracted to VISIONS because it is a great opportunity to get out of my comfort zone and expand my horizons.” And hopefully she’ll have some fun along the way.
For more information about this trip and VISIONS, visit visions-service.com.