Rams return to Dominican Republic for service trip

Rams return to Dominican Republic for service trip
It’s a humid sunny afternoon in Cabarete, Dominican Republic. There are lego’s strewn across a table at the Mariposa DR Foundation. That’s where Hannah Cooper ’21 and her new Dominican friend are working together to build a lego motorcycle or moto as the locals would say. The two girls do not speak the same language but giggle and smile their way through the activity. 

“My favorite part of the trip was being able to spend time with the Mariposa girls,” Hannah said. “They taught me to make the most of what I have and to always have a good attitude. Being able to see how differently the people in the DR live taught me that you don’t need an abundance of material things to make you happy. ”

Hannah and fifteen of her classmates from Central Catholic traveled to the Dominican Republic this summer to work with the Mariposa DR Foundation. This organization’s mission is to educate and empower girls ages 8-18 in the town of Cabarete to end the generational cycle of poverty.

Along with fun activities like building Legos, playing cards, reading, singing, and dancing together, the young women from Central Catholic worked on a list of projects around the property. The biggest task of the week was blazing a trail to connect a newly constructed pavilion to the rest of the classrooms. Students also painted a shed and fences, organized tile piles, and transplanted banana trees.
This is the fifth year that Central Catholic students and chaperones have gone on the trip to the DR. This year, Ellen Ridgeway, a Central Catholic Board Member and parent, made a repeat trip. She went with her daughter in 2015. “I didn’t know anything about the Dominican Republic before that trip – I loved the openness of its residents and its environment seemed familiar to me, reminding me of where my family lives in the Philippines.”

She says that the good work the foundation does for the community and girls in Cabarete is the reason she came back this year. “I truly believe and support their mission of empowering girls, especially in the context of ending generational poverty, and I want to continue being part of that effort.” 

She also says that she loves see the students from Central Catholic grow during their time away from their comfort zones. “[. . .] whether it’s doing physical labor in a hot environment, finding ways to engage with people of a different culture, overcoming language barriers, or trying new foods. These service trips allow students to realize how much we might take for granted living in a developed country, such as having basic utilities (plumbing and electricity) and access to a good education. It’s a humbling experience and gives students a global perspective.”