Impact Dominican Republic

July-December 2016

LaurenImpact DR, July-December 2016, Lighthouse

Overview

Impact DR works in partnership with Lighthouse Projects in the Los Alcarrizos community in the Dominican Republic. Los Alcarrizos has a growing population of more than 320,000 people, most of whom live in poor conditions with little infrastructure. Thousands of children receive no education because of extremely limited space in the public schools. To address this, iTeams Canada partnered with Juventud para Cristo (YFC) in the development and expansion of the Lighthouse School, constructing a primary and secondary school, as well as a vocational training centre.

Today the school has over 1100 students in pre-school to grade 12 receiving an education. The vocational training centre currently teaches valuable skills to nearly 300 students in English, business management, computers, and other technical fields. To date, more than 3000 people have benefited from this initiative.

Cristian has really seen the willingness of people in the community to “pay it forward,” to help others as they have been helped and encouraged. In some cases this has to do with encouraging others in their community to approach the Lighthouse for help, or helping others reach the requirements that they need to reach when partnering with the Lighthouse (eg. sharing the labour on a construction project). Cristian reiterated that their philosophy at the Lighthouse is to work with people not for people, and he has seen this attitude in the community as a whole as well.

Detailed Implementation Plan

Construction

Impact DR has been working hard on improving the infrastructure of several churches in Los Alcarrizos. Currently there are three churches in the community receiving some assistance and the Open Walls Church is almost completed. Construction was started on Pastor Maria’s church (Iglesia Fuente de Oracion), it was continued on Pastor Joel’s church (Iglesia Ministerio Evangelistico), and the roof was installed on Pastor Benjamin’s church (Iglesia el Tabor). Work at the Open Walls Church is nearly finished, with the roof being constructed, a cement floor poured and finished, and the exterior walls in the process of being finished and painted. Services for the adults on Sundays and the children on Saturdays are already occurring weekly. We are very thankful for all of the hard work that has been done in both raising money and in volunteering time to help see this large project through.

Feeding Program

The feeding program at the Lighthouse School continues to be a success and there is interest in expanding the program even more. At the start of last year there were 23 children being fed here, with a new goal of feeding 93 children at the start of this year. These children receive a balanced meal five days a week that contains a protein, a fruit or vegetable, a carbohydrate, and a multivitamin. In many instances this food is the most reliable source of nutrition for these children and it provides them the energy necessary for focussing and succeeding in school.

Schools

Lighthouse School currently educates approximately 350 children at the primary and secondary school and 379 students at the
vocational school. The vocational school continues to provide valuable training in English, business management, accounting, computer science, mechanics, and other subjects. We praise God as 46 students have graduated from high school with a variety of key skills – fourteen students as mechanics, fifteen in accounting, thirteen in computer science, and four in general studies.

Outreach

Members of the Lighthouse Projects in Los Alcarrizos have been involved in supporting a church in Saltadere, Haiti. This church, called New Jerusalem, has been recently started to support the people of Saltadere. Although they are currently worshipping underneath a tarp we are excited to see how Impact DR is reaching across borders to support fellow Christians in Haiti.

Looking Forward

Over the next six months Impact DR expects to be busy working on the operation of our school and programs. We are excited as we aim to expand the feeding program so that is able to reach 93 children, to finish off the Open Walls Church building, and work on supporting other local church construction needs.

We are still planning and praying for the neighbouring community of Villa Altagracia and our future involvement there. We ask for your continued support and prayer as we learn how we can best serve them in the years to come.

Stories of Transformation

Esteban Feliz, our student pastor, has a real passion for working with children and sharing the Gospel. He spent a lot of time and
effort with the children over the Christmas season. They were busy making dramas, singing, playing music and learning about the true meaning of Christmas. Esteban is driven by what the Gospel has to offer for these children and wants them to know why Christ came to this earth. He and Cristian regularly reflect on the words of John 10:10, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” Like everyone in this world, these children are faced with different paths and learning about Jesus will help them choose the right one. Esteban enjoys sharing with them that when you are living in Jesus you “may have life, and have it to the full.” His passion for the Gospel is helping to transform the community of Los Alcarrizos.

Partnership Community

Felix visited Canada and toured some churches and got to enjoy a Toronto Raptors game in the Fall! It was a great blessing for everyone involved.

Rob Smith has been busy fundraising and is now offering his expertise in construction to help out with some projects in Los Alcarrizos.

There is lots of excitement ahead for Impact DR! Several Impact Teams from Canada will be coming to work and help out in the Los Alcarrizos community:

  • King’s Christian Collegiate from Oakville is sending a team of 35 students in January
  • CBOQ (Canadian Baptists of Ontario and Quebec) is sending a team of 20 people in March
  • Flamborough Baptist Church is sending a team of 14 people in March

Impact DR is excited to see the work that these teams will be able to help with and to continue to develop the relationship between the Los Alcarrizos community and Canadian Christians!

We are also pleased that Impact DR has a new program champion! We are very excited to welcome Rebecca Penfold into this role and look forward to the many ways that she will be able to help both us at iTeams Canada and the people of the Dominican Republic.

Financial Information

Total Income 2016 $69,614
Total Expenses 2016 $55,822
Overall 2016 Budget $65,627