25 August 2006

Constructing Your Dreams - Youth Conference

Dear Friends and Families,

Saludos from the Dominican Republic! It is our greatest hope that this letter finds you well. As you are read this, over 150 Peace Corps volunteers are hard at work here in the DR. Working in a variety of capacities, each of these volunteers has dedicated two years of his or her life to promote the social and economic development of this third world country. I would like to take this opportunity to inform you of an opportunity to support one of the more exciting efforts being undertaken by volunteers.

Constructing Your Dreams is a youth entrepreneurship initiative founded by a group of 6 volunteers and planned in conjunction with a local non-profit organization, the Dominican Institute of Integrated Development (IDDI). The goal of the initiative is to promote economic development in the DR through youth entrepreneurship. To achieve this the initiative focuses on training Dominican Youth how to plan, start, and manage small businesses.

The initiative has two components. The first is training youth in basic business skills and working with them to develop business plans for micro-enterprises. This is done at a grassroots level by Peace Corps Volunteers and IDDI trainers who work to educate youth in their communities. Through an 8-week curriculum these youth are trained in the basic business skills (finance, accounting, marketing, feasibility studies, etc.) needed to start and manage a micro-enterprise. This culminates in the drafting of a business plan for a micro-enterprise. The second component is an annual business fair. During this fair participating youth from all over the country will come to the nation’s capital, Santo Domingo, for a three-day, two night conference. At this conference participants will listen to speakers from the Dominican business community, attend workshops on more advanced business skills, and participate in a business case study competition. The highlight of this conference will be the presentation by the youth of their business plans. These plans will be judged and winners will have the opportunity to receive a share of prize money to help fund the start-up of their businesses.

We are already pleased with our progress. Over 150 Dominican Youth have received or will receive business training in our inaugural year. We expect that 90 will attend the conference in Santo Domingo in late September. As this date approaches we are currently raising the ~US$20,000 needed to finance this business fair. This is where your support would be greatly appreciated.

Please consider an offer of financial support for our initiative. Donations will go to cover the costs associated with the conference (including food, lodging, and transportation for the participants) as well as prize money to finance winning business plans. Support of any amount is welcome. Our partner organization, IDDI, has 501 c3 status in the US and all donations will be tax deductible. Since Peace Corps Volunteer and IDDI staff costs are already covered by their parent organizations, this is a very effective way to give charitably – 100% of your support will go directly to the youth participating in this initiative.

Below are instructions for those interested in assisting our efforts.

Please direct any questions or comments to:
b.christopher.moore (at) gmail.com
or leave a comment on this blog

Thank you for your time!

"Constructing Your Dreams" Planning Committee
Peace Corps Volunteers, Dominican Republic

Instructions for Making Donations

1. Checks should be made payable to: Dominican Foundation, Inc.
2. Please write “Peace Corps Program” on the check memo line
3. Checks should be mailed to:
Dominican Foundation, Inc.
5840 Red Bug Lake Road, Suite 280
Winter Springs, FL 32708
4. Please include your name and a return address. You will receive a thank-you letter from the Dominican Foundation which can be used as a receipt for tax purposes.
5. Please also send an e-mail to Peace Corps Volunteer Chris Moore at b.christopher.moore (at) gmail.com or PCV Jessica Stearns at stearns003 (at) gmail.com confirming your name and your donation amount.

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