By Stephanie Thompson
People Editor 

GRHS student to spend 1 month in Ecuador for mission


For the second year in a row, one Green River student is going to take a break from regular summer activities to help others in another country.

For Jarin Mandros, a Green River High School senior, summer isn’t just about hanging out with friends, it’s about helping others and having new experiences.

According to a press release, “Mandros will join other high school students from around the world in Patate, a small Andean village, where they will live in the community, get to know the local customs and traditions, and tackle ambitious service projects that demonstrate the power of teens working for change.”

“Students arrive with the intent of contributing to underserved communities, and end up a part of that community,” VISONS Executive Director Katherine Dayton said in a press release. “They build relationships with other participants, mentors and community members, and step out of their comfort zones and into experiences that create lifelong impact.”

Jarin isn’t new to the VISIONS program. Last year, she went on a mission with her cousin to the British Virgin Islands for 11 days. While on her mission, she helped the Red Cross and a humane society. Jarin said they built shelves for supplies and hosted a dog show.

“We just wanted to find something meaningful for them to do with their summer,” Jarin’s mother Shawna Mandros said. “She was a little bit apprehensive.”

However, during her first mission trip, Jarin discovered how much she enjoys helping others and realized to help as much as she wanted a longer trip would be better.

The Ecuador trip is 28 days and Jarin said VISIONS had several mission trips for various lengths to choose from, but picked her based on how long the trip was, where it was located and what they would be doing while there.

The release states that while in Patate, students will work on construction projects at a local community center in the “minga” style, an Andean term that means the entire community will come out to participate. They will also volunteer at a school for children with a disabilities and work at the Giant Turtle Reserve when visiting the Galápagos Islands.

When Jarin isn’t busy helping with community projects, she will have the opportunity to travel the region and explore the area. They will also visit historic Quito and artisan markers, take dance lessons, soak in hot springs and practice their Spanish-speaking skills during soccer games and dinners with local families. While in Galápagos, she can snorkel, swim and explore.

Jarin admits she is nervous about traveling to a place where she will need to speak Spanish. However, she won’t let that stop her from taking the trip, which begins Thursday. Shawna said one of the requirements to sign up for this trip was the participant must have at least two years of Spanish classes, which Jarin has.

“My favorite part is we’re helping something.” Jarin said. “These people they need the service. They are caring about it and that’s my favorite part.”

Both Jarin and Shawna are expecting things to go more smoothly for this mission trip.

“I was nervous last year because I was never away from home that long,” Jarin said.

Her mother was nervous last year too.

“I didn’t know what to expect,” she said.


All programs are overseen by adult leaders and long-time local partners, who guide and teach the students in hands-on construction and other development projects. Beyond completing service projects, the summer is an opportunity for students to explore the idea of community in both a local and global sense.

VISIONS has been running high school and middle school volunteer travel experiences since 1989, and is well known for programs that are centered on community driven projects in cross-cultural settings. Locations include Alaska, the British Virgin Islands, Cambodia, Mississippi, the Montana Blackfeet and Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservations, Myanmar (Burma), the Dominican Republic, Ecuador and the Galapagos, Nicaragua, Peru and Guadeloupe. 

For more information about this trip and VISIONS, visit, call us at 406.551.4423, or contact Trace at 


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