Education and Youth Empowerment 

Luz Maria Learning Center

Education is a fundamental human right inaccessible to many Dominicans. In 2006, we completed construction of the Luz Maria Learning Center. Named for a beloved woman from Cruz Verde, the Luz Maria Learning Center is a 10-minute walk from the center of the village. Today it is used for classes, microenterprise projects, tutoring, training, arts camps and leadership development. It is also a hurricane shelter. The learning center is at the heart of our work.

Learning Center, Cruz Verde

Classes, trainings and learning activities for children and adults

 A wide variety of classes, including English, computer, financial literacy, teacher trainings for local public school teachers, arts classes, youth meetings, and youth development trainings are offered at the learning center. 

Vocational meeting with INFOTEP organizational representative for young adults, Learning Center, Cruz Verde

The Emerick Scholarship Fund

This fund enables determined students to advance their university or vocational education, pursue careers and help their families and communities. Launched in 2004 by Michigan volunteer Barbara Emerick and her family, this fund has so far supported over 100 students in attending university and taking courses in computers, English, and other subjects.

Graphic designer provides information about the profession at a Learning Center meeting with young adults

Summer Arts Camp

An annual highlight, this multi-day arts camp is offered every July to over 100 kids ages 7-13. Our counselor team unites Dominican and international volunteers who lead games, songs, painting, and many creative arts and games.   

Girl with fan at summer arts camp, Learning Center, Cruz Verde

 

Health

Community Health Fund

This fund assists community members with major illness, health emergency, elder and infant urgent care. Community leaders identify those with the greatest need. Most community members lack the funds for transport and needed health care, and very often do without basic and urgently needed care. We also coordinate donation of medicines and other health care supplies.       

Dominican Republic elder
Volunteer helps to distribute donated medicines at the health clinic in nearby Altagracia

 

Home and Infrastructure

Home construction and repair

This serves community members in greatest need, identified by community leaders. Sister Island Project provides financial and volunteer resources to help meet urgent community needs, including repair and maintenance of shared community structures such as the well, and repair and construction of homes. This supports the community’s well-being and survival with sturdy concrete homes that serve as hurricane shelters. 

Post-construction, before being painted, Cruz Verde

 

Economy

RECLAIM Women’s Sewing Microenterprise

The RECLAIM Women's Cooperative is a group of community women who sew shoulder bags and other products, combining new and gently used fabric materials, and marketed in both the DR and the US. 

Sewing training for group of women at Learning Center, Cruz Verde

 

Volunteer Service Trips and Cultural Exchange  

Martin Luther King spoke of the “single garment of destiny” in which we all are bound. Thich Nhat Hanh speaks of “interbeing.” Cultural exchange is as meaningful as hands-on service activities, and the Dominicans involved in Sister Island Project are partners, not just recipients. Dominican kids and adults are givers, teachers, and sharers of their cultural wealth. Many U.S. volunteers leave feeling they have received more than they’ve given. Service is a two-way street.

Summer arts camp at the Learning Center, Cruz Verde