In the fall of 2002, the students involved in CCM proposed that it sponsor "An Alternate Spring Break Experience" whereby students are invited to spend spring break offering their services to help others. It was this proposal which gave birth to the Santo Domingo Project. CCM through partnership with The Orchid Foundation, of Brigantine, NJ developed its program to send students volunteers to work at the Hogar/Escuela Armando Rosenberg, an orphanage of 150 children and a school which services over 3000 children from pre-school through high school in the poorest barrio of Santo Domingo. The students travel there each spring break under the aegis of Bruce Evans,Jr '01,who serves as coordinator for the experience.This year because of the early date of Easter, we have moved this learning experience to January 7th to 17th and terrmed it "Winter Break-Santo Domingo"
At the orphanage, the students do both manual labor by working on projects assigned them as well as teaching English as a second language,computer literacy, athletics and simple interaction with the students.The students are housed at the Hotel Napolitano in Santo Domingo and travel daily to the orphanage. Besides their work at the orphanage the students are introduced to the culture and the society of the Dominican Republic.The students who returned from their experience were so moved that most years, these students volunteer to return the following January for a longer stay. There have been four groups who have journeyed to the Hogar in March and three groups who have returned again in January of the following year. The cost for the experience is usually about $1500. Applications are available each September for the January trip trip at the MulticulturalCenterand after interviews of the candidates, 10 are chosen to travel there.Studens should check the bulletin boards for the information sessions in early September.
Since CCM began this project, they have raised nearly $17,000 which they have donated to the orphanage as well as participating in the container drive sponsored by the Orchid Foundation which sends a container of food, clothing and other needed items. Last spring, the students received approval for the establishment of the Orchid Club whose sole purpose is to raise funds for the orphanage and raise awareness of the poverty in Santo Domingo.
This past year, Springfeld College, Springfield,MA joined us in the DR after seeing our web page and viewing our video.