CCI Promoting Service for Aid in the DR (Betsy's Blog #3)

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CCI volunteer, Betsy Dupuis, is carrying out CCI’s Service for Aid model in the DR.  Read her latest blog:

The past couple of weeks have been full of service projects, both with children in the literacy center and with women’s slow-pitch softball teams.

Since the literacy classes are free, the children’s contribution to their learning experience is cleaning the classroom. Each day after the lesson, one student sweeps the floor while another puts the chairs back in place and collects books and other materials.

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As a special project in the literacy center, I taught a brief lesson on trash and the environment. The children contributed their ideas about why they have thrown garbage on the ground in the past, what effects that could have on their community and the environment, and what they can do to help the environment. Some of them already had well-formed ideas about pollution and its negative effects on animals, for example, but for others it was a new idea. We encouraged them to not only stop throwing bags, bottles, and wrappers on the ground, but also to help educate more people.



IMG_3825Immediately following the lesson, over 30 children went out with trash bags and collected as much garbage as they could from the area surrounding the literacy center. It was impressive how much they picked up! The pair that collected the most, Fernando and Samantha, won pencils and pencil sharpeners.

Similarly, the softball teams helped to clean up their communities. On two separate Sundays, Billceidy and I went to the bateyes, impoverished communities in the outskirts of Consuelo, to explain the Diamond Project to the women and their coaches. Four teams participated, for a total of 55 women, plus their coaches and lots of children who tagged along. The teams chose areas of their communities to clean up, and in exchange for that service we provided each team with a bag of softball gear (two bats, ten balls, four gloves, three helmets, and four pairs of cleats). From now on, they will be able to use this equipment as they practice for the tournament in November!

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It was especially gratifying to see the organization and initiative taken by the team from the batey known as AB4—even before we arrived with the equipment, the team had started to cut down weeds and sweep up garbage in the park, and they were very appreciative of the donated equipment. It’s too bad I won’t be here to see them play in the tournament!


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