Rebuilding Communities in the Dominican Republic


Over Thanksgiving break, a group of 24 students dedicated their time and effort by contributing to those in need in the Dominican Republic. It was a week of hard working community service, but also, a week in which students experienced respect, understanding and the beauty of really being grateful for the privileges and matters that we have.

The trip was originally organized by Mr. Reid Owens who has previous experiences from other community service programs and trips.

“Before coming to Darlington, I worked for an organization that developed service learning opportunities [trips] for high school students, and had spent time as a program leader in the DR. I love to travel and wanted to share my passion with our students at Darlington,” said Owens. “I feel like a community service trip in which you’re working alongside local community members is the best way to experience a new country and cultural.”

Owens wanted students from Darlington to be able to experience a new country and culture, like the Dominican Republic, in a real way that we are not that familiar with seeing. It is often easy to forget how privileged lives most of us are living, and how important it is to be grateful for what we have.

“We are so fortunate with the opportunities that we have in our community and our country – access to education, healthy food, and basic social services, but we often times take them for granted. I wanted our students to be able to have an experience in which they were exposed to conditions and places that are quite different than the ones that we see each day,” said Owens.

The students who went on the trip were both overwhelmed and inspired when coming back to Darlington. The trip had really made an important impact on the students.

“Going to a school like Darlington, it is so important to see how other parts of the world have it and how they live, that not everyone is as privileged and lucky as we are and I think that was really good for everyone that went,” junior Anna-Maria Jung said.

As much impact as the trip and experience had on the people who went on it; the students had an equally significant, life-changing, impact on the communities that they worked in.

“I was really surprised and very proud of all that our group was able to accomplish. We built two latrines and laid several cement floors in homes in Monte Coca and completed a 450-meter aqueduct which will benefit 18 homes (80 people).” Owens said. “ Everyone pushed themselves to the limit, and although we were tired and sore at the end of each workday, there was a great feeling of accomplishment at the end of the week.”

This feeling of great accomplishments was shared throughout the whole group.

“I think we made a big impact on the communities that we worked in, even if they helped us a lot, they would not have been able to do any work at all if we would not have contributed with the things that we could, and that felt really good,” Jung said.

The trip was, at least said, a great success and from what it looks like we’re going to have further chances and other organized trips in the future.

“I think it was an overwhelming success. I can’t wait to start planning next year’s trip!” Owens said.