Dominican Republic

Group Trip for The Hun School
Meaningful Service Work,
Fun &
Community Building

Welcome!

Join other students from The Hun School for a week to remember in La Republica Dominicana! (No Spanish skills required….just an open mind, enthusiasm and desire to make a positive difference.) Your desire to participate in the D.R. program indicates a commitment to the profound learning that happens when groups of people undertake meaningful projects in another culture.

VISIONS has worked in the Dominican Republic for 31 years! We have seen that these long-term relationships are the foundation for creating mutual understanding and real change, and we would love for you to be a part of it.

MARCH 17 to 24, 2024 |DAYS
25 HRS SERVICE

We believe that stepping outside of ourselves and encountering new perspectives fosters profound and positive change. We know that young people who engage in meaningful service in new environments gain exceptional insight—it’s been our program model for 35 years. 

This is an exciting opportunity to explore another culture and develop new ways of thinking while giving back and digging deep with students and teachers from your school. Check out some photos from VISIONS summer programs (note: pictures are of high school programs so the kids will look a bit older!).

I had a blast in the DR! I believe that community service builds character. I would do this all again in a heartbeat. Throughout this program I learned values that will stick with me for the rest of my life. I also learned not to take anything for granted.”

 

Mark Poole

California

Through your D.R. experience, you will:

  • Increase your knowledge of the culture, history and society of the host community
  • Gain community living skills required to thrive as a group
  • Develop some skills required on a worksite, including tool use
  • Develop a respect for diversity, in the broadest sense
  • Increase confidence as a contributing member of a group
  • Increase your positive attitude towards interacting, learning and exploring across cultures

Experiences:

  • Meaningful Service Work: Choose from multiple projects each day
  • Cultural Exchange: Live and work as part of the community
  • Adventurous Exploration: See some of the area’s best sights
  • Reflection & Community Building: Group meetings to reflect on the experience

THE HUN SCHOOL SERVICE PROJECTS
Projects are done with community members and you will get to choose from different worksites each day. Here’s what you’ll accomplish during your time in the DR:
1. Improve the living conditions for a family whose home is currently a dirt floor by mixing, pouring, and leveling a cement floor for a new floor. 

2. Construct part of a perimeter wall at a primary school to create a barrier from the road. 

3. Help design a mural and paint it on one of the large walls at the primary school. 

ADVENTUROUS EXPLORATION
After work ends around 2 pm, the rest of the days include cultural and recreation activities (see the itinerary below) and the final full day of the program is set aside for an excursion.

COMMUNITY BUILDING
In addition to the community building we do with our Dominican hosts, we meet as a group a few times during the week in order to reflect on the experience and listen to what others have to share. 

“My VISIONS trip to the Dominican Republic was the most life-changing experience of my life. Living in the local community immersed us in a culture where family is the number one priority. By the end of the trip I feel like our group truly replicated this concept.”

 

Teodora Lupu

Washington

Dominicans’ warmth and resilience have charmed VISIONS participants since 1991. You’ll feel it from the day you first arrive.

Making Meaningful Connections

Our home is in a quaint neighborhood of Cotui known as Quitasueño. Days are characterized by the companionship of Dominican friends, project partners and children. We experience the culture beyond our neighborhood, as well, visiting marketplaces, excursion sites, and working with Dominicans who do not speak English—the perfect conditions for practicing your Spanish skills. And when words fail us, our strong basis of mutual respect and friendship in the community provides a bridge across the language barrier.

See some more details about our accommodations, here.

 

Our
Home:
Cotui,
Dominican Republic

“I wanted you to know that things could not have been better with the trip. VISIONS leaders were attentive, energetic, intuitive, and kindly firm, just as I would have hoped. We worked well as a team and the students rose to the challenges facing them.”

 

Anne Weston

Heathwood Hall; Custom Program

ITINERARY

Our time will be service-focused, and in the cross-cultural context of working and spending time with our Dominican friends. After-work activities will be a blend of cultural immersion and adventure. The following gives an overview of your week in the DR!

Day One

  • Flight arrival to Santo Domingo met by VISIONS staff
  • Approx. 2-hour drive to our homebase
  • Settle in / unpack / orientation 
  • Bienvenida Welcome Dinner!

Days Two – Six

  • Breakfasts at homebase
  • Rotating worksites and homebase crews
  • End work ~ 2 pm
  • Afternoon activities*
  • Dinners at homebase
  • Evening activities*

Day Seven

  • Depart homebase for Juan Dolio small beach town for an excursion, followed by pizza dinner and night in a quaint travel hotel

Day Eight 

  • Travel to departure airport & hasta lluego!

 

ACCOMMODATIONS: We live together in a rented house in a close-knit neighborhood. Accommodations are basic, but clean and comfortable. Read more here

FOOD: Meals and snacks are varied and healthy. Members of the group take turns preparing breakfasts and lunches, and a local cook prepares our dinners. Vegetarian options are available and participants with special food requirements provide that information before the program begins.

PACKING: Here is a link to the packing list. If anything, pare the list down slightly and don’t bring more than what’s listed. Special note: Since students will be traveling with a group and teachers are accompanying, the “Consent to Travel” form will not be needed.

AFTERNOON & EVENING ACTIVITIES

    • Tour cacao plantation & learn to make chocolate
    • Merengue & salsa lessons
    • Neighborhood scavenger hunt
    • Basketball & baseball games with local kids
    • Dominoes league with neighbors
    • Swimming & boating at one of the Caribbean’s largest freshwater lakes
    • Dinner guests and lots of social time with local friends!

LOCAL SPOTLIGHT

RAMOS FAMILY

(Santos Ramos pictured above from when he visited the VISIONS home office in Montana)

Community Organizers

In many ways, the Ramos family is like most Dominican families—warm and outgoing, loving, hard-working and humorous. In other ways, though, they stand alone. They are legendary for their integrity and selfless service in their community and as part of VISIONS. The Ramos family has been our family in the Dominican Republic since we began working there in 1991. They have embraced, guided and advised us, providing loving wisdom and active support.

Santos and Lidia Ramos are longstanding members and past presidents of Club de Leones (Lions Club). Santos owns a small colmado, or corner store, in the neighborhood where the Ramoses make their home and where VISIONS teens have their homebase. Every summer, Santos leaves his shop in the care of a neighbor and joins VISIONS to supervise work projects, and to create and nurture ever-stronger ties between our host community and us. Santos is a wise, discerning and eminently respected elder.

Lidia served as the principal at Escuela Melvin Jones, a school built by VISIONS and the Lions Club in the ’90s, which serves more than 800 school children every year. She, too, is an active community volunteer and coordinator for philanthropic and service projects in poor batey communities. Lidia offers love and affection to VISIONS teens who are living far from home.

Their son, Alberto, has also been a part of VISIONS since, as a teen, he worked with our kids. He then served as director of the VISIONS Dominican Republic program for more than 15 years and was beloved by participants. Like his parents, he holds a profound belief in the power of VISIONS to positively affect the communities and our participants. He and his wife Kenia (our former dinner cook) have three fantastic kids who are carrying on the tradition of being part of our programs every year.

Dominican Republic Blog Posts

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Your Impact Lives On

Since our inception in 1988, VISIONS continues to offer some of the best volunteer opportunities for high school students there are. Projects are ambitious and real, and have an impact that lasts on the community. And you—our alum—are part of that legacy.

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