Linville and Stephanie share the inspiration behind Dreams and Visions International, and the motivation that called them to serve their communities through youth mentoring and development.
In December of 1995, the Johnson Family, Linville and Stephanie Johnson, along with their then ten and six year old children, Linville II and Karissa, spent Christmas in their native country of The Bahamas. After their children’s tears and tantrums regarding their Christmas gifts being left behind in Florida due to their limited luggage space, Linville and Stephanie Johnson decided to teach them an important lesson about the true meaning of Christmas.
On Christmas morning, Linville and Stephanie instructed their children to select one of their unwrapped gifts from under the tree. The family then drove to Elizabeth Estates Children’s Home in Nassau, Bahamas. Linville and Stephanie toured the facility, while Linville II and Karissa played with the children in the home. Prior to departing, Linville and Stephanie told their children to get the unwrapped gift they selected and give it to one of their new playmates. On the car ride back, Linville and Stephanie explained to their children that there were others in the world that were less fortunate, and that giving, not receiving, is the true meaning of Christmas. The car ride was filled with a thoughtful silence as the Johnson children grappled with the thought of children in the world not having new toys for Christmas.
The following Christmas, the Johnson Family returned to the Elizabeth Estates Children’sHome in Nassau, Bahamas. However, things were a slightly different this time around. The Johnson family organized an Angel Tree Project with their church in Broward County, Florida, and the Director of the Children’s Home. On Christmas Day, the Johnson family and a small band of volunteers brought a Christmas tree and decorations to the home. After decorating, toys for every child in the home were organized under the tree and Christmas dinner was prepared for the children. After dinner, Linville and Stephanie gave a short message of hope and love to the children, and personally handed each child their gifts, accompanied by a hug and encouraging words.
In 1997, The Johnson family officially incorporated Dreams and Visions International. Since that time, the organization has helped children through donations of food, clothes, toys, and other essentials. Today, the organization continues to uphold these ideals through youth development programs, and other initiatives.