Every summer, Southwestern Advantage holds a service week where our student reps are given the opportunity to voluntarily donate a portion of their personal sales toward our November service project. This past summer, our student reps raised nearly $40,000. 100% of the fundraising went toward helping two schools in a poverty-stricken region in the Dominican Republic called Friusa. During their November incentive trip to the DR, the student reps had the opportunity to do a site visit of the two locations that benefited from their summer contributions.
The first school was Centro Educativo Shalom, a private school with 300 students. We are building two additional classrooms that will allow another 150+ children to be educated and have a brighter future. The goal is to impact the community long-term by helping children off the streets and into the classroom. Additionally, funds went toward repairing their septic, purchasing many new desks, dry erase boards, and much needed school supplies such as laminator machines, a copier, and a projector. $1,000 was made available to be given to the teachers as a bonus since their pay rate is very low.
The second school was a block away, Centro Educativo Nazaret, a public school with 600 students. We assisted this school with their supply needs which included a copier, copy paper, laminator machines, various classroom supplies, and a Rosetta Stone so that the English teacher could improve his skills along with the students.
At each school we held a half-day recess with the children and teachers, playing ball, swinging at piñatas, singing, dancing, and eating pizza. The kids and teachers had a day to remember. We feel education is a principle factor in improving not only these children’s lives, but also the community in general. With the right tools, motivation, and opportunities, these children can rise above their challenging circumstances and go where their dreams take them.