- Listing Type: Summer Programs
- Destination: Dominican Republic
- Program Delivery: Residential
- Session Start: June, July
- Session Length: Two Weeks, Three Weeks
- Entering Grade: 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th
- Gender: Coed
- Category: Community Service
- Sub-Categories: Spanish, Leadership, International Relief, Youth Outreach
- Selective: No
- Ages: 14, 15, 16, 17, 18
- Minimum Cost: > $3,000
Help build schools and organize a summer camp for kids from the poorest neighborhoods of Santo Domingo. Spend off-hours in classic Caribbean style. Join excursions to the Zona Colonial, artisan markets, beaches, caves and the majestic Dominican Alps.
Service in the Dominican Republic is immensely rewarding, and during our more than 25 years partnering with the Lions Club of Sabana Perdida, VISIONS teens have made a significant impact. They’ve helped build dozens of homes, large schools, a medical clinic and community centers. Work on these cinder block and mortar buildings is totally hands-on. Local maestros show volunteers how to place blocks evenly, how to use concrete for different purposes and where to place the rebar that fortifies the block construction.
Each year, more than 3,200 Dominican children attend classes in schools built by VISIONS. Every summer, we also organize a popular summer camp for kids. These projects mostly take place in bateyes, neighborhoods originally formed by immigrant Haitian workers lured to the country as cheap labor for the sugarcane industry. Living conditions in bateyes are substandard and public services are meager, so being a part of improving things here is deeply gratifying.
Our home is in a small, middle class neighborhood on the northern edge of Santo Domingo. Days are characterized by the continual companionship of Dominican friends and neighbors who have welcomed VISIONS for almost 30 years. Many afternoons end with a game of dominoes or vitilla, the precursor to baseball that local kids play with a broomstick and plastic bottle cap. We experience the culture beyond our host neighborhood as well, visiting marketplaces to buy fruits and vegetables, trying out newfound merengue skills in the discoteque, and working side by side with Dominicans who do not speak English—the perfect conditions for sharpening your Spanish skills. And when words fail us, our strong basis of mutual respect and deep friendship in the community provides a bridge across the language barrier.