dominican starfish foundation january-march 2017 humanitarian trip

Download Dominican Starfish Foundation January-March 2017 Humanitarian Trip

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January-March 2017 Puerto Plata, Dominican RepublicBy Louise ZoBellExecutive DirectorDominican Starfish Foundation

Before giving a history of our trip, I want to share some significant and touching things that happened just before we left for the Dominican Republic in early January. I received a call from Mindy Oler of Lethbridge, Alberta, to come to her home and pick up school shoes that her sons had collected for children in the Dominican Republic.

David (13) Ammon (11) and Bryan Oler (8) had collected 47 pairs of shoes so that children could go to school in Puerto Plata.

My next call was from Nicole Hodgkinson, also from Lethbridge, Alberta. Her daughter, Anna had just celebrated her 8th birthday. For her party she asked her friends to bring money for the Dominican instead of gifts. She collected $230 to help build Morenas home in the Dominican Republic.

Gemma Palmer (11) was in the Dominican in November for the severe flooding. She wrote this poem for her class at school. Her assignment was to describe something without saying what it was.

I love it when anyone gets involved to help, but especially love when it is children.And a touching Christmas gift from Sadie, Kate and Ruby Baker.

We also had a group of children from Raymond, Alberta, The Busy Bee Society, raise $235 to help a family who lost everything in the flooding.


Paula Lythoge and friends from Petawawa, Ontario brought hundreds of pounds of dehydrated foodenough for thousands of meals. They also brought home baked goodies.

Over 300 food packs were delivered to hungry families. Many of these were donated by the more than 100 people we met at the resort who wanted to see the community and help in some way. Contents of a $10 food pack

Passing out food packs in the community of Javillar

Passing out food packs and 400 hot meals to the Dominican/Haitian community of La Jugua Maggiolo.

CLOTHINGEvery trip we bring thousands of pounds of shoes and clothing and other items for distribution. This trip was no exception. With the many people who came, there was in excess of 6000 pounds of donations.

Building homes for Dominicans in great need has become our major focus in the foundation.

David and More are a couple living in the Dominican whose home was sponsored by Vesta Viney and Robin McCullough, two of our board members. They raised money all throughout 2016. Thanks to many, many people who donated. David and More lived in a tiny shack with only one bedroom with their 5 children. SHELTER

This is how the new home looked when we arrived in January.

On February 3rd, Robin and family, Vesta and others were able to present More with her new partially finished home.

On February 7th Robin and others were able to participate in painting the bedrooms in the home.

On February 21st the family moved into their new home. They are so very grateful for this life-changing event for their family.

Gloria lives with her daughter and grandson in Javillar. We took her home down on October 31st during our last trip. It was in deplorable condition. Pearl Giles and Pal Humanitarian from Utah raised the first half of the money for this home. Mary Cahoon from Calgary Alberta, with other kind donors raised the second half.

Glorias home was nearing completion when we came January 10th. She moved into the home on January 29th . What a blessing it is to her life and the lives of her family. She is so grateful. Thanks to all the donors who made this possible.

Finishing touches on the home happened on March 6. A group from Pal Humanitarian, joined by some of the neighbors made the home look so beautiful. Thanks to all.

Morena is a generous, caring lady living in Javillar in the Dominican Republic. She volunteers at the hospital, caring for people who have no families. She also brings people to her home to help them recover from their illnesses. A group of volunteers with Dominican Starfish Foundation took her home down on January 24, 2017.

Thanks to our hard workers, the home was down in about 1 hours.

It was great to be able to visit regularly and see the progress.

Work continues on Morenas home. Thanks for donations from True Hope from Raymond, Alberta, Bruce and Mary Cahoon and family from Calgary, Alberta, Paula Lythgoe and her group from Ontario and Alberta and many people who donated as a gift for Louise and Jack ZoBells 45th wedding anniversary.

Carolina Corcina and her family live in poverty in the Dominican Republic. Their home is open to the elements and received much damage during the recent flooding in November. We were able to raise funds to build a new home for her and her family during our recent Christmas fundraising campaign. Thank you to Laura Webster, Tekarra Roach, Bruce and Mary Cahoon family and many other donors. On this trip we were able to announce to Carolina that the money is raised for her home and it will be starting soon.

Thanks to everyone who has made this possible.

For many years, Tommy Paulino and his wife Fior have only dreamed of owning a home someday. They have owned a piece of land for several years but have never been able to get the funds to even start the build. They have 3 children.

During this trip Will and Michele ZoBell from Raymond, Alberta organized vacation with 5 other couples for a week stay in the Dominican Republic. While there they had the opportunity to see some of the projects of Dominican Starfish Foundation. Together as a group and with a few others that were there, they chose to sponsor the Paulino Family and raise funds for them to receive a new home in 2017. They are well on the way to raising the money already. THANKS TO ALL!!!

There are two active fundraising sites for this project. For Canadian donors:

For USA donors:

They are so thrilled that they will be able to finally have their home.

Rosa Sanchez, her husband, Alberto and their five children live in desperate conditions in San Marcos, Dominican Republic. Pearl Giles is the director of Pal Humanitarian, a charity out of Utah that has been working in partnership with Dominican Starfish Foundation. Last year, Pearls 7-year-old granddaughter, Londyn, said that she wanted to raise money to build a home in the Dominican Republic for a family with children. This family was the perfect match! Together Pearl and Londyn made roasted almonds and sold them for Christmas to make money for this home.

On March 5, Pearl and her group were able to share the news with the Sanchez family that the money had been raised for their home. It will be the next one to be built by Dominican Starfish Foundation workers.

Victoria lives in one of the first houses we built in the Dominican Republic in 2013. Her husband Juanito passed away from a heart attack two years ago. Victoria hasnt been able to afford any upkeep on her home. We were blessed to have some university students from Lethbridge, Alberta plus a high school senior from Nanaimo, BC visit for a week of service. One of the things they did was to paint Victorias home. It made a beautiful difference and she is so grateful.

Original home, 2013

Another home got a facelift on this trip. Victors home was build in early 2014. It had never been painted. It was early on in our foundation and we had a very small budget. This trip, Paula Lythgoe and her group raised the money to paint Victors home and did the work as well. This was done on March 13, 2017. It looks really great. THANKS SO MUCH!


How the home looked when we met Victor in 2014. He had started but because of illness could never finish his home.

One of our first projects as a foundation in 2012 was to rebuild a school in Maggiolo. This community is a short walk from the resort where we stay. The people in Maggiolo have become dear to our hearts. During the 9 weeks we were there, we probably went to the school and the community 20 times. It is a place we can show our guests and others from the resort how the people really live.


Maggiolo School

Isabelita SchoolIsabelita School is a small private school in Javillar. It is one where the ILP (International Language Program) volunteer teachers teach English. There is so much need in the school. We have been able to visit several times with school supplies, food, toys and crafts for the children.

One cute little girl from the United States gave away her favorite Mickey Mouse toy that she had loved since she was a baby. It was heart-warming!

Kates SchoolKate is a young woman from Montreal, Canada who has given her whole adult life to serving and teaching Haitian children in a private school in the Dominican Republic. We have helped here for several years with school supplies and more.

Franks SchoolFrank and Rosa have given their lives to helping children learn more. They have started a private school where children come who attend half days in public school. Here they learn English, get help with their homework but most importantly they are taught values. Frank is especially concerned about children having children. His students are being taught to avoid this. We went many times to his school to deliver school supplies, food, clothing and other gifts for the children. He is also a pastor and in his church, the women are learning to sew purses to help support themselves.

Maggiolo Haitian School

Just a short walk from the resort where we stay, we have discovered another small private