Frequently Asked Questions
How long have you lived in the DR?
Travis and I have been in the Dominican Republic on a permanent basis since June 2011. Before that we spent a lot of time on short term and long term missions here.
What are you doing in the Dominican?
I am the Pastor of Dominican Ministries at New Life Church in Collinwood, Ontario, Canada. (This is not in affiliation with New Life church in Sosua, Dominican. Which is a great church and the church I attend in the Dominican.)
I volunteer full time in Ascension and Caraballo Village.
Our main projects focus on education, identification and health care. Here are our goals and how we are succeeding
1. Education: Our goal is to keep children in school for as long as possible. So we have decided to eliminate all the reasons why many children do not go to school and then keep them in school for as long as posible.
School Uniforms: All students are required to wear a uniform in order to go to school. This past year we were able to raise enough money to be able to purchase 506 uniforms for the children and adults in Ascension and Caraballo so that they will be able to attend school. As a result of our school uniform distribution, 95% of children between the ages of 5-18 are in school.
School Transport - High school students and adults are required to go to school in a town called Montellano, which is 4 Km away. Individual transport to and from school is expensive. This is when most students drop out of school. We offer school transport both for the day time students and the night time students. As a result we now bus over 100 students a day to Montellano for school
University - Last year we started a university program. We are helping students continue their education after they graduate high school. Currently we are supporting 10 students, who have all shown diligence in their studies and leadership in their community.
Adult Skill Training - Infotep, is a country recognized government funded program. Every 3 month we offer a different course that will provide adults job skills, that will give them more opportunity to find a job. Currently we have 28 students learning how to waiter.
English training - One main source of Income in the Dominican Republic is tourism. We off an excellent English program, giving our students a greater opportunity to find a job in the tourism industry. I have not actually researched this, but I do think, no where else in this country will you find more people eager to have an English conversation with.
Computer Center: In November 2011 we were able to open a Computer Center in Ascension, giving students access to the internet, keyboard training and computer training. We have wifi throughout the entire village. Best of all, the village pays for it, making this our first sustainable long term program.
2. Identification. Identification use to be a problem for many people in Caraballo and Ascension. Many adults and children of Haitian Descent did not have any identification to allow them to live, work, complete their education in the Dominican Republic.
In 2014 and 2015, the government of the Dominican Republic gave us a huge opportunity to apply for Dominican Birth Certificates to children born in the Dominican and help those born in Haiti to obtain legal non-resident status in the country. Allowing everyone to go to school and legally find work.
Better yet, those who find employment can now have health insurance and a future pension.
We worked morning, noon and night to make to help everyone who wanted to go through the process. In the end we were able to obtain 172 Dominican Birth Certificates and we put 180 adults into the process for non-resident status.
Today, we continue to help children born in the Dominican, whose parents are struggling to obtain their Dominican Birth Certificates.
3. Food Program - we provide a food program 4 days a week to the seniors and children in the community. Our goal is to make sure the children stay in school and a major way we can help the students is by providing them with a nutritious meal, ensuring they have the energy to learn and study.
Parents in the community struggle to find employment and therefore struggle to feed their children daily. Our hope is that one day all everyone in Caraballo and Ascension will have the skills to find jobs, so that they will have the dignity to feed their own children. In the mean time, we want to come alongside every family who struggles and help them give their children a nutritious meal.
4. Baby Program - The first year of a child's life is critical. We offer expectant mothers, vitamins and training to prepare them to care their baby. We offer classes to teach mothers the importance of breast feeding and when they should be concerned about the baby's health.
For the first year of the Baby's life, we provide monthly doctor check-ups.
As well for the 1st twos months, we provide the mother with protein to help her with her breastfeeding. at 3 months to a year, we provide baby formula. With no refrigeration in most houses, this helps the mother continue to care for her baby while she goes to school or seeks employment.
Can I give you money?
You sure can! What a fantastic Question. Here is how,
Canadian donors can receive a tax receipt for donations made to asset our work here by donating to the following:
Make check out to "Speroway". In the Memo write "Dominican Ministries".
Send Check to:
P.O. Box 5009
Burlington, ON L7R 3Y8
Or you can donate online at http://speroway.com/ways-to-give/ascension-caraballo/
People in the United states can donate to gomadtoday.org
Are you raising money for specific project?
As mentioned before there are specific projects that we concentrating our efforts on and we would love it if you would consider donating or fundraising for these projects.
1. School Uniforms - $35 - includes shirt, pants/skirt, shoes, socks, backpack, pencils and notebooks.
School uniforms are a requirement for all students in the Dominican Republic. For the many children who do not go to school, the main reason is because they do not have a uniform.
2. Montelleno School Transport program - $45 - It costs $45 per day send all students to school.
Not too many students in Ascension/Caraballo can afford the transport to go to school, when they reach high school. Everyday we have a van that takes the daytime students to High School and the night time students to Night School.
3. University - 2500/year - Generation of Change is a program we have to help students go to University. The students in Caraballo and Ascension are smart. There are more students then ever graduating high school. We want to keep them going. $2500 pays for their education, materials and transportation. Of course if you are not able to support a student, you can donate whatever you are able to, so that we can send more students to University.
4. FEEDING PROGRAM - $50 - As I repeat over and over again, our goal is to keep everyone in school. One way to make sure they stay in school is by providing a nutritious meal 4 days a week. A Donation of $50
5. BABY PROGRAM - $30 - This provides the mother is a breast pump and protein for the first 6 months of the babies life and then baby formula. This also provides monthly medical checkups.
How much of my donation goes towards the project?
100% of all the money you donate goes towards the projects.
We have a generous donor who will cover the 15% administration cost of speroway, so that 100% of your donation can go directly to the community. This admin fee helps us with issuing tax receipts; providing financial integrity; promoting and fundraising everything we are trying to accomplish in Caraballo/Ascension.
As for Travis and I, we are in a very fortunate situation. Travis runs a consulting company and travels throughout North America. When he is not traveling he works from home. As a result of his income, we do not need to raise personal support. Once again, this ensures that 100% of your donation goes directly into the community of Caraballo/Ascension.
Can I come visit?
There are many opportunities through groups and organizations that offer short term trips to our area. I would suggest you check out the following.
www.thesamaritanfoundationdr.com - Is your office, school, church, youth group or club interested in making a difference in the lives of the poor in the Dominican Republic? We have several opportunities for you to get involved, such as work teams, medical teams, adult and children’s focus teams, etc…
www.missiondirect.org/ - Mission Direct gives ordinary people the chance to do extraordinary things around the world. In two weeks you will change the lives of some of the world’s poorest people. You can help to build a house, classroom or clinic.
www.gomadtoday.org/ - Go MAD - Go Make a Difference - Helps prevent children from being exploited through outreach and medical missions.
If you are in the area on vacation and you want to check out Ascension I may be able to show you around. Use the contact form on the home page and provide the specific dates you are in the area.
Do you miss your mother?
I am not too sure how many people are asking this question, but I do know my mother is wondering. The answer is YES. I miss her a lot.