Dear Family, Friends & Associates,
On November 10th, Gary and I plus 16 others embarked on a voluntary journey to the Dominican Republic. The mission was to build two new homes for 2 families from the remote community of Caimonial in the Dominican Republic with Bridges to Community.
Bridges to Community's mission is to build a more just and sustainable world through service learning and community development by engaging volunteers to work in developing countries—building community and changing lives. They do so by working closely with community leaders in Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic in the areas of housing, education, health, and economic development. Most of Bridges' programs and projects are driven by volunteer participation that incorporates service learning into the volunteers' on-the-ground experience.
Caimonial, is a community of under 400 people; this community is in desperate need of improved housing. 54 of 89 homes in the community of Caimonial were deemed as having substandard living conditions: most have dirt floors, rotting wood walls and collapsing roofs. Repairs around the house can drastically improve the health and safety of a family, as well as contribute to boosting morale and pride in the community.
Yes, one home makes a difference. With sturdy cinderblocks and a roof attached to the foundation, instead of a wobbling structure cobbled together from scrap lumber and plastic sheeting, the home we build will remain standing after a hurricane. With tile or cement floors instead of just damp dirt beneath their feet, children and parents won't get sick as often. With doors and windows that lock, family members can go to work and school without worrying about theft. For the family who gets a new home, it changes everything.
Well before we left the USA for this trip we were encouraged to participate in fundraising. Feeling a bit awkward with soliciting money, we decided that the money we spent to go on this trip plus our labor was sufficient. Afterwards, we learned that our own money basically covered all the associated expenses to transport, feed and house us.
Now that our trip is behind us, we are still awkward asking for donations, but now have seen first hand how Bridges to Communities uses those donations wisely and to their fullest potential to make a significant difference in each community they select.
Not only do they build a community center for the children to receive some extra education and hold meetings ~ they indoctrinate themselves into the community getting to know the leaders of those communities and help them to learn how to make their communities stronger through education. The impact that they have on the communities has made us realize that the money generated from fundraising is a necessity to further their goals.
Any size donation would be immensely appreciated and will go farther than you can ever imagine to help these communities.
Thank you in advance for your generosity!
~ Lisa and Gary Kryszat