The Island of Tortola

I became me in the summer of 2005 on the beautiful British Island of Tortola.


I was one among 25 teenagers who volunteered & participated in the 2005 Tortola “chapter” of VISIONS.

VISIONS Service Adventures is a summer community service program for teenagers which blends volunteer projects, cultural immersion, and adventurous exploration. (this brief explanation comes straight from their website)

My participation in VISIONS (if I had to pick one) is the experience in my life which most drastically shaped me into the woman I am today.

When I departed for Tortola, I was a naive Long Island teenager who took many things for granted. I had not yet learned the value of communicating openly and honestly, speaking your mind, following your gut (and your heart), and giving back to those less fortunate.

When I departed from Tortola, I was still a Long Island teenager; however, a drastic shift had occurred during my five weeks away.

Through participation in VISIONS, I transformed into a young woman who was self-aware, introspective, reflective, and passionate about community service & volunteer work. I truly believe that my VISIONS experience played an enormous role in enabling me to develop some of my most defining (and meaningful) characteristics that I pride myself on today.

My willingness to enroll in VISIONS marked my first effort to force myself to step outside my comfort zone.

By engaging in a program which required me to do things that at that point in my life were completely foreign to me (such as making friends among a group of strangers, building an entire playground from a 4 page instruction manual, and scuba-diving among fire coral*),

I challenged myself to be comfortable with the uncomfortable.

That summer was the best summer of my entire life.

*Note: fire coral is no joke; I have a scar on my knee to prove it.


  • Dad says:

    Your decision to enroll in visions? You can thank mom and me for insisting that you do public service rather than a teen tour like many of your contemporaries. Nonetheless, I couldn’t be more proud of who you are where you are going. I love you.

    • Donna Jornsay says:

      I ditto daddy’s comment about Visions being ‘your’ decision, but you did come around quickly. And you were very brave to do it solo. I couldn’t be more proud however of the woman you’ve become and the values you have. I love you baby to the moon and back…

  • juliajs530 says:

    Mom & Dad – I updated my post to change the word “Decision” to “willingness” 😉 thanks for the push in the right direction. It’s thanks to the both of you that I am who I am.

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