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.
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The Dominican REpublic was such a fun place to go! The people were so welcoming and nice. There was such a strong sense of community there and I feel so lucky to have been a part of it! I hope to go back to the DR someday!
Doing this trip was one of the best decisions of my life. I made life long friends with kids my age from all over the states and even one from Paris and one from London. The connections and friendships that I made with the locals are ones that I will never forget. The staff on the trip are people who I look up to and admire. One of them I felt particularly close to and she even ended up writing my letter of recommendation for college. This is something that I would highly recommend doing. It's an amazing experience.
Not only did I make best friends from the USA, I have life long friends in the DR. One of the best experiences of my life, I will never forget it. Visions incorporates a perfect amount of volunteering and all other kinds of cultural immersion activities!