This year, the group will travel to Key West, Florida, and Cozumel, Mexico, but it needs the community’s help to get there. Johnnie Mae Swagerty, executive director of New Vision Youth, said donations are being accepted now, and all contributions are tax-deductible.
“This youth group has went above and beyond doing volunteer work in our community,” Swagerty said. “Some of our youth come from single-parent homes with low-income and other backgrounds. Despite the backgrounds that these youth have been faced with, they are our future … in Kingsport and surrounding areas.”
New Vision Youth has taken an educational and cultural trip every year since 2005. During each trip, children visit museums and immerse themselves in the culture of their destination, try new foods and see how the locals live.
“Some of them have never been on a charter bus,” Swagerty said. “It gets them that experience, the educational view and seeing something different than Kingsport. They can see how other kids live.”
This year’s trip will take place June 17-22. The group will leave Kingsport for Miami, where they will board the Carnival Victory cruise ship. They’ll make a stop in Key West before docking at Cozumel, where they will deliver a monetary donation to St. Michael’s Catholic Church for its children’s programs.
The estimated cost per participant is $485, along with $95 for the bus transportation to and from Miami. More than two dozen children ages 12-18 have already committed to participate, along with chaperones.
Swagerty has held several fundraisers to cover the bus transportation costs and assist low-income students with the cruise cost, but more donations are needed.
Donations can be mailed to 950 Dale St., Kingsport, TN 37660 or deposited into New Vision Youth’s account at SunTrust Bank, located at 2060 Fort Henry Drive. Checks should be made out to New Vision Youth, with “educational/cultural cruise” on the memo line.
Non-members of New Vision Youth are invited to go on the trip for the same price. For more information, contact Swagerty at (423) 429-7553.