Join us as we celebrate Geography Awareness Week with National Geographic and friends. This year’s theme “focuses on how geography enables us all to be intrepid explorers in our own way.”
We start with our work in the Dominican Republic.
“Bob’s notes” are reports from CFCA President Bob Hentzen, who regularly accompanies awareness trip participants. You can see Bob’s full update on his Facebook page.
Photo credits for this report go to the CFCA Dominican Republic staff and to Bob Hentzen.
For me it is always a joy to travel with people who deeply believe in CFCA and deeply love their sponsored friends and their friends’ families.
From north to south in the Dominican Republic, CFCA sponsors on this trip were fortunate to visit each of their sponsored friends in their homes. A good number of these sponsors have helped our CFCA preachers at weekend church presentations.
Others have organized CFCA Sponsorship Sundays at their church or have shared the work of CFCA in their own communities.
Trip participants from this group continued this magnificent outreach by requesting more than 60 folders with family profiles and photos of children, youth and aging friends waiting to be sponsored.
They will take the folders home with them in hopes of finding sponsors for the young and old who are on our waiting list.
A bit of background
CFCA has been working in the Dominican Republic since 1982. CFCA currently serves 5,945 sponsored friends and 105 scholarship students, with 1,117 individuals waiting for sponsorship. Read more
We recently published a story about Buenaventura, a sponsored 63-year-old in the Dominican Republic who has learned to read and write through a CFCA adult literacy program.
In the 22 countries where CFCA works, aging people such as Buenaventura often have no one to depend on for their well-being.
They usually receive no social security and may not be able to count on family members for support because adult children are often occupied with their own survival.
We always encourage people to sponsor a child, but we also encourage people to consider sponsoring an elderly or aging friend. The elderly often serve as mentors for young people in the community and offer support and encouragement to one another.
Sponsorship provides them with medical care, nutritious food and the opportunity to participate in recreational and educational programs.
As Buenaventura’s story demonstrates, it’s never too late to begin achieving your educational dreams!
In honor of fathers worldwide, we decided to share this special story of Jose Luis in the Dominican Republic. His daughters are sponsored through CFCA.
Jose Luis struggled to provide for his familyís needs without leaving them to find work. He was able to stay and find employment after discovering CFCA’s Hope for a Family program.
This video features a mothers group in our project in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
The narrator in the video, Altagracia Flores, is a charismatic social worker in the Santo Domingo project. She and other CFCA staff members work closely with mothers of sponsored children who want to start or improve their livelihood or business.
They can access small loans from the group fund, which consists of the mothersí individual contributions and a CFCA matching amount.
Altagracia shares with us the example of two mothers who have succeeded in improving their small businesses and their families’ living conditions.
From the Santo Domingo project in the Dominican Republic
Through the Centro Familiar (Family Center), we prepare activities for teenagers that address personal growth, values and respect for life. As part of this program, we have given two workshops this year: career counseling and values and dating. The career counseling workshop involved a personality survey to help the participants see which profession would best suit them.
These two workshops attracted 1,807 teenagers, with some attending from every subproject.
Another activity is a camp we offer every year. Its goal is to make use of the teenagersí free time during vacation for formation activities that focus on personal development. The camps have an educational and formative theme. Various activities are offered such as crafts, visual arts, theater, writing composition, table sports, and racket sports. The camp ends in Santo Domingo with the distribution of participant awards, a medal and a trophy, to each first, second, and third place winner.
Upon reflection, this activityís importance stood out because the teenagers participated in healthy activities during their vacation and distanced themselves from other activities that might have been detrimental to their well-being. Also, they appreciated the involvement of and interaction with teenagers from other subprojects. This interaction is just what we wanted, that CFCA become one big family. We have made an effort so that every teenager can participate in the camps, which we believe will help them in the future to become better citizens.
During the 2009 camp, we had 350 teenagers benefit from the program.
Here is an interview between Santo Domingo project coordinator Nelson Figueroa and Samuel, a 17-year-old sponsored youth from Santo Domingo.
Q. When did you start playing baseball?
A. I was five years old. I started in a children¥s league called Borinquen. However, Iíve always played in the streets with my friends
Q. How often do you play?
A. I play every Saturday and Sunday in the league. Monday, Tuesday and Thursday we have practice in the league, but I play with my friends every time I can.
Q. What do you think about baseball and why do you like the game?
A. It is very important and very good. It helps my muscles and allows me to be in shape by being active all the time. It keeps my mind busy and away from unhealthy environments.
Q. What position do you like to play?
A. Center field because you get many balls and can throw them to the bases. You run a lot.
Q. What is the best thing you ever did in a game?
A. Once I was playing against the team from Azua (Azua is a province in the south) and I grabbed a ground ball and threw it with all my strength to home plate. The player was out and we won the game. On another occasion, we were in Barahona (another province in the southeast). I was playing with my team. I had to bat and I hit a home run out of the field. We were losing, but the team got energized by it and we won the game. By the way, I have never done it again!
Q. Who is your favorite baseball player?
A. Pedro ìEl Grandeî Martinez.
Did you miss Nelson’s blog post about baseball in the Dominican Republic? Read it here!