Building Schools (and Futures) in the Dominican Republic

More than 3,500 Dominican kids attend school every year because of what VISIONS kids & our partners have constructed.

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” – Nelson Mandela

Imagine if you couldn’t go to school simply because the school in your town was full. Actually not only full, but bursting at the seams with no overflow classrooms to accommodate you and more than 1,000 other kids in the area. Traveling to another school is not an option—it’s not in the budget—and getting an education is one of your only chances of making it, of allowing you to get a job that could sustain a family.

The Dominican Republic-based Lions Club of Sabana Perdida has earned high acclaim as one of the most active Lions Clubs in the world. They have worked with VISIONS since 1991 on large and small-scale projects alike, and members work year-round to help serve their communities.

Escuela Melvin Jones, constructed in the 1990s

This year, again with the Lions Club, VISIONS groups are at it again.

At our new homebase (as of 2021) in the town of Cotui, we continue to work with the Lions, including some of the key members from the Sababa Perdida Club. Participants last summer constructed much-needed classrooms at a primary school that was both filled to capacity and falling apart in places. This summer we’ll build a small cafeteria at the same school and new classrooms at one of the other under-resourced schools in the area.

The New DR Classroom Project

Planning new classroom construction

The new projects will start this summer with the goal of completing as much new infrastructure as time and volunteer hands allow.

Building classrooms is hard work, but it’s incredibly rewarding. Working with local project coordinators and maestros, the projects involve leveling the ground, digging trenches, laying a concrete foundation, building rebar-reinforced cinder block walls, installing a roof and painting.

What it Means

Projects like these have lasting impacts on a community, and more than 3,500 Dominican kids have received an education as a result of the many schools built by VISIONS and our partner organizations like the Lions Club over the years. Education has proven to be the key to empowerment and success, and these classrooms can hopefully open doors to a bright future. 

Although these kids’ lives will be impacted, we know it’s only a drop in the bucket. The lack of schools, school supplies, and teachers is a dilemma that is faced by many communities around the world. 

As a small organization, VISIONS tries to help when we can. With a focus on construction projects, we have skilled carpenters and local partners to guide participants through all of the steps of building. After 34 years of service projects worldwide, we have added new schools, community centers and health clinics to our host communities. And with the help of dedicated teens, leaders and partners, we will continue to do so.

It’s amazing what a group of motivated students and a determined organization like the Lions Club can accomplish in one summer, knowing that eventually, because of their hard work, a lot of kids will finally have a place in school.

Painting a school mural

Hanging out with school kids

Before & After

See pictures of the Cotui classroom project from last summer, before & after. We’ll be doing the same thing—but hopefully more of it—this summer!

Before

After

Check out the DR!

Recommended Posts

The Dominican Republic: A Love Story

The Dominican Republic: A Love Story

Personal affections, a passion for purpose and mutual adorations are at the heart of the DR experience. The love stories are diverse and enduring. -By Katherine Dayton, Director
Language Immersion & Community Service Abroad

Language Immersion & Community Service Abroad

Roll up your sleeves and join us for an immersion program in the Dominican Republic or Peru! During projects and excursions, while enjoying meals with community members, and in day-to-day life while you live as part of a local neighborhood…you can’t resist practicing your Spanish.
Building Community & Family in D.R. Summer Programs

Building Community & Family in D.R. Summer Programs

Building Community & Family in D.R. Summer Programs VISIONS has been leading teen community service programs in the Dominican Republic since 1991(!). One of our primary project partners since this program’s inception is the Lions Club (Club de Leones)—three of...

Spotlight: Leyri Garcia (Leader Photographer)

Spotlight: Leyri Garcia (Leader Photographer)

Leyri Garcia hails from the Dominican Republic and joined the VISIONS family in 2010. Back then, he was a young community member looking to help out and practice his English. He grew with VISIONS into a leadership role and has been a terrific member of our summer staff since 2015. Check out some of his amazing photography!

Check it out:

VISIONS Featured In The New York Times!