A group from Larchmont Avenue Church will travel to the Dominican Republic over February break to build a new classroom.
They will be living in the community of Derrumbadero and working in an even smaller town named Caimonial. Located near the Dominican/Haitian border, these towns are struck by high levels of poverty and poor infrastructure. Working alongside the Dominicans, the group will be do some of the hardest work — digging a foundation by hand — for a multi-use room that will expand the limited facilities that are there.
Currently, older students in Caimonial have to walk over 5 kilometers to the next town so they can attend school. Dropout rates increase as children get older and opportunities quickly narrow. In contrast to the large tourism industry of the Dominican Republic, over one third of the population lives below the poverty line which results in a lack decent housing, limited access to running water and inconsistent access to basic services like electricity. The positive financial impact of tourism does not reach the country’s most needy residents and creates a social class system of extremes.
The Larchmont Avenue Church youth group, Senior High Fellowship Time (SHiFT), has been examining these themes of power and social oppression in conjunction with preparations for this trip.
The group is leading a fundraising campaign to support their trip and raise half of the funds to build the school – a total goal of $15,000. To make a donation and learn more about their trip, visit their First Giving Website at www.firstgiving.com. You can also join them in their education by attending a community movie night at the church on January 25th where they will show a movie about the Dominican Republic. Finally, they are partnering with our local bookstore, The Voracious Reader, on Thursday, February 7th to raise money for the trip. You can buy books for yourself or Spanish children’s books that will be donated to the school in the DR. 10% of all book sales on February 7th will be donated to this year’s LAC Mission Trip.
photo: Courtesy Larchmont Ave Church