S-Trip! Destination: Southern Dominican Sun, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
S-Trip! has been visiting the community of Veron for the last few seasons, and our travelers were welcomed with open arms once again this summer! The community leader and school principal, Maria, is a truly amazing woman. Veron has a high Haitian population (not official citizens of Dominican Republic), making it difficult for most children to attend a registered school, or for adults to find and keep work. Passionate about education, Maria raised enough funds to construct a primary school for grades 1-3, which created the opportunity for 180 students to attend classes every day, half in the morning and half in the afternoon. Maria’s next dream for Veron was to construct a second level for the school including a computer lab, which S-Trip! travelers built in the summer of 2015. Then over March Break 2016, our travelers helped lay the foundation and erect the walls for a new community centre.
This summer, in addition to a community tour and clean-up, as well as some time playing games with the local children, our travelers continued work on the community centre by cementing the floors and sanding and painting the walls. We even had a few special helpers from the community!
Looking from the outside in, it may not seem as though a great deal was built or done in the town of Veron. However, for the students and staff that were a part of the process, we saw a great deal of change in the hearts and minds of the students and staff present. Not only did we work together to build an amazing community centre for the town, but we fostered connections with the locals, tried exotic fruits picked from the land, and felt the sweat and exhaustion from a true hard day's work. Everyone's hearts were full, knowing that even for a couple of hours they made a difference in someone else's life. That was our true accomplishment. We are grateful to our partners at The NWC and their CLOUD projects to make this program a reality. Learn more about this program at thenwc.com.
Written by Tessa Tornatore, the on-site Volunteer Coordinator for Punta Cana.