Wow, it was one of the hottest summers we’ve had in the DR in a while… perhaps due in part to the enthusiasm of our two service groups, both hailing from Seattle Preparatory School. The first group was for students experiencing the DR for the first time; the second was composed of immersion “alumni,” back for a second or third time, to deepen their experience and commitment.
David Lester, teacher extraordinaire from Seattle Prep (and now at University of Portland) organized and co-led both groups, aided by EAB board member Paul Burson, Seattle Prep alumni and youth board member Andrew Hermann, and our own college graduate turned professional, Yanlico Munesi Dusdal. It was an all-star team, and the communities were grateful: two new houses were constructed in addition to one major repair, bringing us to 91 home projects since 1999.
And just as importantly, lives were changed— not only because of these houses, but because of the open minds and hearts the students took there, and found waiting in return in their new Dominican families and friends. Thank you to the students, parents, leaders, and donors who helped make this amazing experience possible once again. Dios les pagará.
This summer Batey Libertad and Franco Bido renewed the community exchange program, in which a delegation from one community visits the other for a weekend. Focused on relationship building, a delegation of 18 students and adults from Franco Bido visited Batey Libertad Aug 3-5. Yanlico, one of our first College graduates, used his experience working for a non-profit to facilitate group sharing experiences. People from each community took turns pulling questions (about their personal life or community) out of a hat, to answer before the group.
Yanlico presented a slide show of the progress EAB has made in Batey Libertad over the years (not an easy feat in a place with sporadic electricity); the slide show was part of the larger community celebration for Maritza, our fifth college graduate. At ceremony’s a trio from Franco filled the hall with merengue and got everyone dancing. A delegation of 19 from Batey Libertad visited Franco Bido; we will add these pictures as we receive them.
EAB has been doing this exchange nearly every year since 2001, though not in a of couple years. It rebounded this summer with spirit, thanks to our much larger pool of scholarship students, and to Yanlico’s experience working at the DREAM Project these past two years.
Saturday, March 31, was a momentous day for Batey Libertad, the Charle family of that community, and Education Across Borders. Two brothers— Johnny Belarme Charle, and Ronaldo Gonal Fransua Charle— took their degrees, in medicine and law, respectively. Both were among the first students in our scholarship program nearly ten years ago, and both invested years of diligence, discipline, and sacrifice in earning their degrees. On behalf of their families and their community, they wish to express their immense gratitude toward the EAB supporters who made their achievements possible.
Thanks to the generosity of our donors, and our community leadership, we have added new students to our scholarship program for the third year in a row (22 since 2009). We are currently supporting 35 students for the 2011-12 academic year, our highest number ever. This August, we enrolled six high schoolers and two middle schoolers. They are, from Batey Libertad: Juliana Fransua (pictured, left), Claudia Rafelina Herrera Lopez, Kismena Jose, and Jennifer Clarissa Liranzo Nuñez. And from Franco Bidó: Rosanni Altagracia Jerez (pictured, above), Albaneris del Carmen Rodriguez, Jennifer del Carmen Rodriguez, and Enrique Hernandez Rodriguez.
We expect great things from them! And stay tuned for news of more college graduates in 2012!