Paula Hermann, EAB Board Member
I’m the mother of a Seattle Prep graduate who has been to the Dominican Republic with Education Across Borders several times over the past five years.
I lived vicariously through Andrew’s visits for years, getting to know the incredible Dominicans EAB serves through his journals. I heard stories about the poverty and the extreme situations that moved him to tears. I saw pictures of the houses the US students helped build. I was touched enough to join the Board of Directors in 2012, and soon after went to the DR myself.
During my 10-day journey, Andrew’s photos came to life. I came to know the people, who, despite unimaginable circumstances, had a loving spirit and positive energy. I drank coffee in homes that Andrew and so many other students helped build. In many of the homes, the only wall décor was framed photos of familiar faces – Prep and Holy Names’ students that had been hosted by the family, or had helped to build that very home. I met the high school students whom EAB sponsors, who, despite having little to eat, have big aspirations to attend college and break the cycle of poverty. I saw the many latrines that EAB funded to give one impoverished communities a place to go to the bathroom. I witnessed firsthand how EAB initiatives are changing lives. But I also saw that our work there is far from complete. When I left, I was determined more than ever to ensure that this good work continues. There is more to do!
Charles Bergman, EAB Board Member
Quite simply, I support EAB because the Dominican communities we support transformed me. My first introduction to the DR in 1998, in particular to Franco Bidó and Batey Libertad, and subsequent visits molded my sense of spirituality, mission, vocation, and justice. Having known both the struggles and joys of so many families in the DR, I feel compelled to respond.
My wife, Alexi, and I also support EAB is because it does tremendous, life-giving work. The transformations of Franco Bidó and Batey Libertad are a testament first of all to the fortitude and resilience of their residents, but also to the partnership, vision, and commitment of EAB.
What excites me about EAB’s work is that it is holistic and comprehensive, focusing both on the immediate and the long-term, and both individuals and communities. I am especially thrilled that the initial vision of scholarship recipients serving their communities (and EAB) with their education and skills is coming to fruition.
Patty Helberg, Retired EAB Board Member
I was president of Crystallia Inc for 30 years and now live in Seattle. Inspired by her daughter Anna’s trip to the Dominican Republic with Education Across Borders in 2006, I followed her to the DR with EAB in 2008. I was called to the mission of EAB and assisted in forming EAB’s 1st annual fundraiser “Three Cups of Coffee” in 2009. I have actively participated since the inception and chaired the event on multiple occasions.
I joined the board of EAB in 2009, and served through the end of 2015. I also teach Yoga at the Recovery Café in Seattle (a place of healing and transformation for those suffering from homelessness and addiction). I believes that all people have the same desires for their children; a roof over their head, enough food to eat, and an education. EAB puts those values into practice in its mission, and I am proud to offer her generous support.
When I traveled to the Dominican Republic in 2002, I was inspired by the commitment and creativity of leaders in facing the challenges of their communities, among them decent housing for all, basic health care, immigration status, and education for their children. Having worked for Catholic Relief Services, as well as in many parish settings, I was extremely impressed with EAB’s balance of compassion and action, valuing concrete project results, but most importantly relationship and solidarity with the beneficiaries. I returned to Seattle wanting to find some way to be in solidarity with them. Contributing to the education of students in the DR is one way I can support them and keep in touch. The education that students pursue not only opens them up to the world beyond their communities, but deepens their engagement in the world they call home, and that plants the seeds of leadership in them.
Serge and Marge Krikorian
Parents-in-law of EAB Director John McLaughlin, have been active servants of indigenous Latin American communities for decades, as missionary workers for Wycliffe Bible Translators. Upon Serge’s passing in February 2010, Marge asked that in lieu of traditional funereal gifts, memorial gifts be sent to EAB in Serge’s honor. The generosity of the Krikorian family and their friends has made it possible for a new Dominican high school student to join our scholarship program this academic year. Thank you, Marge and Serge, for this life-giving gift!