The World Vision Difference
World Vision is a Christian organization and a leader in addressing the root causes of poverty and injustice worldwide. We offer short-term mission trips as a tool to help create a better life for children and families in poverty in the U.S. We are not a short-term mission organization doing community development. We are an organization that focuses on helping communities transform — and short-term mission trips, when done well, help fuel transformation.
Our Development Perspective: We view all of our experiences through the lens of long-term community development. The following five principles of community transformation guide our work:
Our mission trips are holistic in two ways:
- They exist only within the context of our larger work in the community. They are just one aspect of our ongoing commitment to the community and our relationships with our local partners. Our mission trips are designed to take into account the broad spectrum of our work.
- Our staff are present year-round and are constantly engaged in relationships with our partners.
The communities where we serve are not devoid of skills, talents, and resources. They don't need a handout or a "hand up," but a partner and a friend. Not someone to tell them how they are broken, but someone to remind them they have much to offer and contribute. With this perspective in mind, we focus on the strengths and positive attributes of the communities, partners, and families we serve. Our mission trips provide encouragement and a catalyst for communities, partners, and families to see and understand their own value, strength, resiliency, and resources.
Our mission trips recognize the dual nature of a service-learning experience. When done well, everyone is transformed. When done poorly, someone ends up feeling used. Mutual transformation helps us to understand that everyone has something to learn and something to teach. We all have something we can give; we all have a need to receive. Through this perspective, we are able to enter into genuine relationships that aren’t built on a transaction, but on a foundation of appreciation, respect, and humility.
The community must own the work. To this end, all of our projects are selected and supported by our network of partner organizations and community leaders. We don’t select a project because it will give our volunteers a good feeling, but because the community has identified a need -- and by working together with the community, we can help address that need.
Because our projects are "owned" by the community, community members are heavily involved in much of what we do. Our programs always involve some level of participation from local volunteers. Sometimes this means you may volunteer alongside community members. We plug our volunteers and resources into activities and ministries that are already occurring. We've seen that when we work together, transformation occurs.