Dominican Republic

Program Itinerary

19 & 12 Day High School Service Programs

Dominican Republic 1

– 19 Days –

Below is the planned itinerary for the VISIONS Dominican Republic 1 summer program. The actual schedule may vary due to the flow of community service projects, the weather, impromptu invitations from local friends and other opportunities. 

 

Day 1: Arrive at the airport in Santo Domingo, where VISIONS leaders meet each student as they arrive. All teens make a quick call home before heading to homebase. (Additional calls home happen about once a week, but as with all VISIONS locations, this is otherwise a tech free teen summer program.)  We spend the day settling into our home in the easy-going, fun neighborhood of Elio Franco and learning what’s in store during the program. We also get to know each other during our first of many Circle meetings, which become a regular opportunity to touch base and plan together during the program.

 

Day 2: Visit Jardín Botánico, a lovely little oasis in Santo Domingo, where we do more program orientation. Today’s scavenger hunt helps us know our neighborhood better. In the evening, we come together for a big party and welcome dinner with community friends, usually followed by merengue and salsa lessons for everyone who’s ready to jump into Dominican culture.

 

Day 3: It’s time to begin our work! Community service projects in the D.R. include construction of schools and classroom additions using cinder block and mortar, running a popular day camp for local kids, and other labor or beautification projects like designing and painting a mural at the community center. At the conclusion of the work day, we head to Tres Ojos, three stunning lakes in limestone caves.

 

Days 4 – 7: Projects are on a roll, working mornings, having lunch at the worksite, and wrapping up by 2 pm. We also begin our homebase days, when a rotating crew helps with grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning up our living space. A couple afternoons, we go to beaches like Boca Chica and Juan Dolio. We tour batey communities that were originally built around the sugarcane industry and are now some of the country’s poorest places, with minimal running water, electricity, schools and sanitary facilities. We talk with people who live here and learn more about their lives. We also engage in “Olympics,” lighthearted competition with neighbor kids, dance lessons and other fun cultural exchanges and of course also invite local friends for dinners.

 

Days 8 & 9: It’s time for a break from the worksites with an assortment of fun planned including attending a baseball game at the Oakland A’s incredible facility outside of Santo Domingo. We also visit the Zona Colonial to check out an ancient fort and the first cathedral in “the New World.” And we take advantage of every opportunity to spend time with friends in our neighborhood, playing dominoes and vitilla (street baseball) or just hanging out practicing Spanish, while they work on their English. These are some of the best moments in the Dominican Republic.

 

Days 10 – 13: We make good progress on our projects this week, continuing with rotations that allow participants to home in on favorite projects. Afternoon and evening activities include: movie night in town, practicing merengue and salsa at a local discoteca, a couple beach afternoons, and  visiting an orphanage where one charismatic woman has been improving girls’ lives for 20 years. 

 

Days 14 & 15: We pack up early at our worksites to head to the Dominican Alps, the tallest mountain range in the Caribbean. During our two-night trip, we stay in a hotel in the idyllic mountain town of Jarabacoa.  We rest and relax (sometimes by the hotel pool), play volleyball and explore another part of this diverse country, including a hike to and swim in a waterfall.

 

Days 16 & 17: We return refreshed to our last couple days of work and time with Dominican friends. We also visit the Mercado Modelo, a 3-story artisan market with wares from craftspeople in both the Dominican Republic and neighboring Haiti. If time permits, we take a trip to San Pedro, famous for producing many professional baseball players, where we tour a working sugar cane factory. We also spend an evening wandering on the Malecon, the walkway along the beachfront in the heart of the city. 

 

Day 18: We give our living space a Big Clean and pack up, before heading to Boca Chica beach one last time.  Then we host a festive going away dinner and dance party for all of our new friends.

 

Day 19: Everyone departs Santo Domingo, and leaders see each participant off on their flights.

Dominican Republic 2

– 12 Days –

Below is the planned itinerary for the VISIONS Dominican Republic 2 program. The actual schedule may vary due to the flow of community service projects, the weather, impromptu invitations from local friends and other opportunities.

 

Day 1: Arrive at the airport in Santo Domingo, where VISIONS leaders meet each student as they arrive. All teens make a quick call home before heading to homebase. (Additional calls home happen about once a week, but as with all VISIONS locations, this is otherwise a tech free teen summer program.)  We spend the day settling into our home in the easy-going, fun neighborhood of Elio Franco and learning what’s in store during the program. We also get to know each other during our first of many Circle meetings, which become a regular opportunity to touch base and plan together during the program.

 

Day 2:Visit Jardín Botánico, a lovely little oasis in Santo Domingo, where we do more program orientation. Today’s scavenger hunt helps us know our neighborhood better. In the evening, we come together for a big party and welcome dinner with community friends, usually followed by merengue and salsa lessons for everyone who’s ready to jump into Dominican culture.

 

Day 3: It’s time to begin our work! Community service projects in the D.R. include construction of schools and classroom additions using cinder block and mortar, running a popular day camp for local kids, and other labor or beautification projects like designing and painting a mural at the community center. At the conclusion of the work day, we head to Tres Ojos, three stunning lakes in limestone caves.

 

Days 4 – 7: Projects are on a roll, working mornings, having lunch at the worksite, and wrapping up by 2 pm. We also begin our homebase days, when a rotating crew helps with grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning up our living space. Afternoons and evenings are filled with activities such as visiting Los Tres Ojos (gorgeous lakes in limestone caves), a girl’s orphanage and a few batey communities, which are among the country’s poorest neighborhoods. We also walk along the beachfront in the heart of the city and stop for pizza, take dance lessons and try them out at a local discoteca and basically jump at any and every opportunity to spend time with local peers and practice our Spanish.

 

Day 8: Time for a work break by competing in a lighthearted “Olympics” with neighbor kids and then attending a baseball game at the Oakland A’s incredible facility outside of Santo Domingo. 

 

Days 9 & 10: The last days to complete service projects and wrap up day camp with local kids!,We also make time to tour the Zona Colonial, which gives us a chance to check out an ancient fort and the first cathedral in “the New World.” And the trip isn’t complete without some time to shop at the Mercado Modelo, a 3-story artisan market with wares from craftspeople in both the Dominican Republic and neighboring Haiti. 

 

Day 11: We give our living space a Big Clean and pack up, before heading to Boca Chica beach one last time. Then we host a festive going away dinner party for our new friends.

 

Day 12: Teens depart Santo Domingo, and leaders see each participant off on their flights.

Celebrating 30 Years