April 6, 2012:Easter is already here and construction of classes upstairs in the school are about to begin. With 420 students in the school every inch is taken so this will allow children to move around. This is a project that Dominica and I had as soon as the school was built (6 years ago). This is why the rods have been on the roof for all that time.
Dominica hopes it will be done in 2 months. Lets keep are fingers crossed as there is always last moment challenges. If you feel compelled to share now is a good time to send a contribution to City of Joy Aid/Dominica Orphanage. It will be appreciated a lot.
On the front of my orphanage page is a photo of Peno/Junior when he was 3 and one last year. He is a very good student and we hope he can come to the US for university as he certainly has the brain. Blessings to all of you Marie
January 29, 2012:
A few updates/explanations for the pictures I TOOK DURING MY 5 WEEKS trip to the Dominican Republic. For 4 weeks I shared with several groups of children to have true vacation. First Punta Cana with LeAnne. Then 3 in La Estancia in La Romana as it is finally finished and very pleasant with a large pool for the kids. Then 4 teenagers
Then Dominica + 8.
I must say I am enjoying the quiet again which is the big plus of this golf estate
I had a chance to catch up with Dominica and her latest projects:
2. The big news is that money is apparently ready to build finally 3 or 4 classrooms above the current classes which are too tight for the 25 teenagers/ So Dominica thinks that it will be done in 2 months, even if it takes 3 months it is wonderful news.
3. There are currently 415 children enrolled of which 190 do not pay as they belong to social plan as they cant afford it – but 30 or so have a sponsor. Dominica is so happy to be able to provide education to the teenagers she helped at the orphanage since they were 3 years old or younger. If she accepts kids from public school for the last 2 years, the overall results of Dominica school will suffer because those teenagers are not at the same level. Now she has 100% success rate. She also was able to welcome 120 new students that have been on a waiting list for a long time. I believe there are still 80 on the waiting list at this time..
then piano lessons, guitar lessons. Choir (80 kids belong to it and she is starting to have a good reputation to go singing with 30 of them in Punta Cana at Hotel Iberostar (thanks to Jean and PB Dye) for Christmas carol and more. But also companies like Orange ask the children to sing when they have a special event. Dominica hopes they will donate many computers for the room which look pitiful with currently only 8 working computers
also sowing classes and other languages when there is money to pay for
as the dormitories are being used for classes, and half of the dining area. So when the new classrooms are operative, she will have dormitories again
I asked about Penny Sue and she is no longer in La Urena, she has been adopted by a family and gives classes to the younger ones, somewhere in Higuey. Peno/junior is very well alive, studying very well. He is 2 years away from graduation. And Joanna, 28 whose mother is blind and now giving massage, has 3 children of her own and same husband.
All 19 who graduated in June are at the university, some with more semesters paid for than others. They are also working to support themselves. Jose Antonio is taking electrical engineering classes.
10. Dominica also received a call from Martine who brought clothes and shoes to be picked up in Casa del campo in La Romana. Dominica was here, so we met her and received the gifts which were welcomed by some of the kids she brought along. Interestingly, French Martine found us through the website, and followed the Wish list, and voila magic happened. Thank you Martine
11. I love this country as they invent or take advantage of opportunities. Dominica came with the grandmother of originally 10 children. Totally BLIND who for years has been begging downtown with a child and later grand child. But no more. She took a class for massage (along with 24 more) for 6 months/. She is quite good and strong as she gave me 6 massages at $11 each. I was happy and she too. She is quite a woman and cooks for herself etc Now she regained her dignity. NICE
12. I will
update the wish list, by adding VITAMINs (+ outdated medicine which is better than none!),
cream for sweaty breasts
- White socks reaching the knee for their uniform
+ DVD as David donated a new DVD players for the orphans. I am sure you can find old DVD you no longer play, English, Spanish, whatever, kids love them , especially if there are singing… I brought Star wars, Lord of the Ring…
13. Besides computers, Dominica would love to find $16,000 to buy the small land attached to the dining area, so she can expand, and before someone buys it. This is very much needed.
14. Now that the orphanage/school runs pretty well, Dominica would like to start guiding/teaching/sponsoring what she learned to others directors and staff. She definitely has something to teach/give them (besides her hard work) and that is called LOVE.
NB: If helpers or volunteers whom Dominica knows want to relax after. They are welcome to my apartment in La Estancia for a few days, let her know. She knows all the details.
November 22 2011:
"Dec. is getting close and our government
requires that all the teachers and staff be paid
Also the property next to the orphanage that we
need badly for more space, is on sale for $13,000 US.
We received a bunch of white shirts for our children of the promise choir and more clothes for the cherups as well! Thank you for being thinking about us and suplying the needed items for the orphanage. I also got a few frames. I put pictures and it looks really beautiful.
Thank you for the five hundred check that we also
received. It helps signifficaly with the multiple costs every single
month.Be blessed, Dominica"
An angel LeAnne hold a breakfast every
october from 7 am-11 am at Amore Breakfast at 309 Shore Road in
Ogunquit, Maine. She just hosted her 6th Benefit Breakfast to raise
money for Dominica Orphanage. The staff of Cafe Amore and Amore
Breakfast donate their time and energy to help raise funds. 100% of the
proceeds go to Dominica and the kids. Thanks to Sysco for donating eggs
and Country Kitchen for providing bread! In the past, they have raised
nearly $10,000 and helped with the cost of new bunk beds when the
dormitories were expanded, provided funds for an enclosed courtyard
where the children have a vegetable garden, and a shady yard, plus
food, shoes, clothing and other necessities. They asked for a minimum
donation of $10 per person for a full breakfast. The results are in and
$1650 were raised.
June 24, 2011
"High School Graduation Ceremony. Twenty one of
our high school children finished high school and are ready to face the
outside world. Five of these young people were sponsored with full
scholarships during their university lives by Toronto Canada, Blue
House Effect org. In addition, this organisation selected eight more
children from our Social Plan to receive their first semester tuition
to start college.
It took place on June 24th 2011 at a hotel in Santo Domingo East. Twenty one of our high school children are now ready to face life. The circle of friends of Jeanie and PB. Dye and Blue House Effect, in partnerships, joined efforts to give continued education support to the children. Once again... Muchas Gracias to these two organizations and its representants, Ms. Allana Rose Featherstone and Jeanie and P.B Dye..And to you Marie and your friends. If it were not for your oil business and your Web, we never would have had the opportunity to meet Jeanie and PB. and many many more of your people who helped and cared about us and our children. Thank you Marie!! Much hugs and kisses from all the children, Dominica" P.s.: The cost per student to attend the university is $500 US$ (18,000 pesos) per semester = twice a year. So $4,000 will cover a student university life, as far as the university is concerned. What a difference with the US costs!!! Please help a student if you can. Gracias
March 7 2011: Just back from Dominican Republic where Dominica takes care of 415 children in the school section and feeds 85 everyday, and of course she has a hard time paying the bills, as the adolescents have a BIG mouth!!!
Her pride this year is the 18 adolescents graduating (they are good students) and going to University in August if they have the money. About half of those students have been with her since they were 3 or 5 years old! 6 of them have a commitment from Allana and her marvelous group in Canada. Dominica has a celebration in a hotel on May 25 and invites everyone.
I now know why Dominica is loved in her community. She decided that the slum the school is in was filthy and she decided to do something about it. So very Friday, the children take a trash bag and come to school picking up every trash they find. Pretty soon the parents felt bad about kids doing that, so they stopped trashing the community where 3 to 4,000 people live. And when I came I commented on how clean the area was. It worked!!! Bravo Dominica.
Also, on my lunch there, Dominica asked to speak and started congratulating an 8 year old who had been abused at 6. She was in her corner and asked me constantly if she could trust me etc... Now Dominica spent 5 minutes congratulating her about her reading ability (finally) and how neat and cleaned she looked. The girl did not know what was happening, she had that beatitude smile on her face. Then everyone started clapping. Her self esteem is on its way back. She did 5 children like that. What a powerful way to build self confidence back on abused children.
Now, Dominica is so happy to see 18 children graduating. It has been a long process, as the school district would not allow her to teach beyond 4th grade, then 8 grade, and now since 2 years her “children” are able to go directly to university (with excellent grades) if they find the $1500 necessary per year
See their face. They need your help!
Also Dominica gave a group of volunteers coming to visit what children and teachers need most:
12 computers (laptop best) for the oldest students. They ave 6 and there is room for 20! Once we have those, the younger children will have access to them. As right now, the teacher has to repeat 3 times the class. A good second hand computer will work. Does someone has the time, or connections so we could have some donated. I always find it bizarre that Dominica receive the best compliments about the grades of her students among her large district schools (some 200 or so) but the government or private companies never offer to give her some equipment. She covered English classes for everyone but nowadays, they also need to be good in computers if they are to find a job. We need to concentrate on that.
November 30: "We want to thank you for thinking of our children at this critical time. It has been very hard for me to maintain the school and the orphanage with all the costs we face each month. The older children assist the youngest with all their needs and help to do chores. It is so rewarding to see how different, respectful they are from the rest of the children in the community.They have become models to follow for the school district. We are planning to celebrate Christmas and invite anyone who wants to participate. Peace and gratitude. Dominica"
NOVEMBER 11: “Please extend my gratitude on behalf of all our wonderful children! Ali's regular contribution helps us give a better care to our program. The monthly costs are extremely high for us and people like Ali and Ms LeAnne –and a few other angels around us-- make this lovely heaven a reality for our children. Tell Tio Ali and Carole that we would like to see them by Christmas. Children appreciate receiving people and feeling loved by them.
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