Alternative Spring Break in the Dominican Republic

By: Gisel Saillant

Part 2: The Fundraiser… Party for a Cause!

UMass students hanging out at the "Party for a Cause" fundraiser

UMass students hanging out at the "Party for a Cause" fundraiser

Going on this trip was a strain on the shallow pockets my class, the Latin American Caribbean and Latino Studies 2009 Alternative Spring Break, had. As a class, we worked together to fundraise for the trip. As Treasurer of Casa Dominicana, an RSO on campus, I wrote grants detailing our involvement in the class and how we consider it to be an important element to the organization’s mission on campus. Thank you to the Office of Programs and Services for ALANA Students (OPSAS) and the Bilingual Collegiate Program (BCP) for your generosity!

The class wrote a letter of support to students to strengthen support from their individual networks. Throughout the class we got more details of the trip’s schedule. Community Service Alliance planned the trip (March 13th– March 22nd), which included lectures from community leaders and visits to historic places in the capital, Santo Domingo.

The following week we were to leave for Hato Mayor del Rey which is a rural province located two hours away from the capital. We were responsible for work on two different projects, the ARRAS’ pre-school and the construction site of the future community center of a grassroots women’s group called ‘Juana Saltitopa ,” named after a woman soldier who fought during the  Independence War. This organization is located in Palmillas, Hato Mayor.

UMass students hanging out at the "Party for a Cause" fundraiser

UMass students hanging out at the "Party for a Cause" fundraiser

We also organized a fundraiser party on the 19th floor of Kennedy, with a DJ and everything. The proceeds of the event went to the Arras preschool for school supplies. We charged $3.00 to get in and had a school supply drive that night too! The event was a success. People came out to support and we made roughly $250.00 which exchanges for RD$8,866.62 pesos. Even though it may seem like a lot of pesos, if people in the U.S are feeling the recession imagine Dominican Republic which is caught in the ripple effects of the global economic crisis.

Gisel Saillant can be reached at gsaillan@student.umass.edu.

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