A Dreamer’s Vision
The first time I traveled to Guatemala was as a Peace Corps volunteer. While living and working in Central America, what struck me most was not the need — though there was much — but the desire. So many things we take for granted in the US — the right to go to school and get a good education, the opportunity to learn about this great planet we inhabit, and the chance to improve one’s situation in life — are so much less accessible in many parts of the world. And yet kids yearn for them.
Once back in the US, as a middle school teacher, I also encountered young people aspiring and reaching for more. My students were just as hungry to learn about the world and how they fit in, just as eager to learn how best to carve out a path toward their ideal futures. The first time I took a group of students on an overseas service trip, I also witnessed transformation as their eyes were opened to radically different cultural norms and worldviews.
And there emerged the vision for Dream Volunteers — to help empower these young people around the world to realize the potential they so eagerly seek and to do so with a service and community mindset. Today, we have hundreds of students from all over the globe who participate each year in our international service trips and gap year programs. We have a global community of “Young Dreamers” who are already taking on leadership roles in their communities (and some here at Dream Volunteers!). Connections have been made, lives have been enriched, and communities transformed. As a parent, a former teacher, and a dreamer myself, it fills me with pride and optimism about the future as a thriving global community!
I look forward to sharing this dream as well as our programs and philosophy with you. I invite you and your students to join us on a journey of service, discovery and transformation.
Brian Buntz, Co-Founder and Executive Director, Dream Volunteers
Backstory on Dream Volunteers
Images from the Early Days
Executive Director Brian Buntz in Guatemala, summer of 2007, to shepherd one of the the first Dream Volunteers service trips (top photo, at the Volcán de Fuego near Guatemala City). Brian, in a classroom working with young students (middle photos) and with the first cohort of Guatemalan scholarship recipients, all of whom went on to complete their secondary studies and are now working and giving back as active mentors and leaders for other young dreamers in the community (bottom photo).