25 August 2006

Celebrando Cibao - Youth Conference

Dearest Family and Friends,

Saludos from the Dominican Republic! It is our greatest hope that this letter finds you well. All is well in the Dominican Republic; Peace Corps Volunteers are busy promoting and positively affecting sustainable development throughout the country.

As you may or may not be aware, volunteers, of all sectors, are involved in secondary projects. These are projects not part of our initial assignment. Most of these projects involve youth, and range from local reading projects to regional summer camps, etc. Projects are designed to present opportunities to deserving motivated youth in each of our respective communities that might not otherwise be available. One project in particular is especially important to volunteers and for this reason you are reading this letter.

“Celebrando El Cibao” (or Celebrating the Cibao) is a summer camp that takes place over the course over three days and two nights in the Cibao region, or the northern region of the Dominican Republic. For the past three years, participating volunteers have brought between two to four youth from their respective communities, who have expressed an interest in participating in the camp, usually through an application process.

Once at the camp, participants are encouraged and engaged to get to know and share with other volunteers and participants. The theme of the camp is “Celebrating Diversity.” Diversity is a very important topic here in the DR. The homogeneity of the country often causes Dominicans not take the time to look outside of their own backyard.

The camp engages participants, through a course of physically and mentally challenging activities and exercises, to the think about the world. Presentations are given covering topics looking not only at the DR, but to the island of Hispaniola, that is shared with Haiti, as well as the world outside the DR. Participants will then look at the role that they play in these settings and how their actions, both positive and negative, affect those around them. Gender, racial, physical, and religious are just a few of the forms of discrimination looked at over this three-day/two night camp. Members of foreign embassies, dance instructors, chefs, as well as nationals from other countries all share their experiences with participants.

From the camp, we have seen participants come away from the experience with the understanding of the importance of diversity as it relates to their everyday lives. Campers also gain the realization that we are all human beings and deserve to be respected and honored for whom we are inside and out. Following the camp, participants will be charged to return to their respective communities and initiate diversity-related activities that can range from a school presentation to a sports event using the skills and tools acquired during the camp.

If you are wondering how you fit into this equation, let us fill you in. Celebrando El Cibao is planned and executed by Peace Corps Volunteers and has been since its inception three years ago. Volunteers solicit financial resources yearly from the Dominican community and from friends and family in the US. Your donation to our cause would be greatly appreciated. The budget for this camp is approximately $4000 US Dollars. Donations of $25-100 dollars would cover the budget of our camp. With your donation we would be able to continue providing this once in a lifetime opportunity to deserving youth.

Below is the information for those interested in assisting our efforts. Thank you so much for you time.

Respectfully,
“Celebando El Cibao” Committee
Peace Corps Volunteers, Dominican Republic

Check Information and Mailing Information
Please make your check payable to Jessica Stearns. Please mail your check to the address listed below.

Celebrando el Cibao
c/o Marita Lamb
SDQ 8148
P.O. Box 025725
Miami, FL 33102-5725

For questions or comments please contact:

Rachelle Olden, 2006 Celebrando el Cibao Chair (rachelleolden (at) yahoo.com)
Jessica Stearns (leave a comment on this blog)

1 comment:

edith said...

jessica i wish i were a little younger so i could participate in thr program it sounds very interesting for someone to get involved with all is well around here at present love grandmother t