Make Your Vacation Great Again!
Yeah, I borrowed a “theme” for that blog title, but it got your attention didn’t it? At least I didn’t put it on a red hat! 🙂
Pay It Forward
Make a Difference
Change a Life
Share Your Talents
Whatever you want to call it, doing something like this may or may not change your life (I would bet that it will), but I can assure you that it WILL change someone else’s life.
That said, I have a very specific suggestion for you, based on personal experience, not hearsay.
Step 1 – Get your butt down to Puerto Plata, in the Dominican Republic (it is in good shape after hurricane season). Even if you are spending a day as part of a cruise, you can make this happen easily.
Step 2 – Volunteer with the great folks at Dove Missions – half-day, full-day, one week, doesn’t matter. The more the merrier – I personally recommend a full-day – that’s what my family did. If you are on a cruise, perhaps a half-day is more appropriate.
Step 3 – It will take time, but after that experience, your perspective on many things will change. And if you are like me, you’ll be sponsoring at least one of the kids there in no time.
Important note: I am in no way compensated by Dove Missions for this.
My only goal is to communicate what an amazing experience it was for my family,
so that others can have the benefit of the same experience (see “Pay It Forward” above). 🙂
Rather than a super long blog, I’ll hit some of the key questions (FAQ) that I have fielded regarding my experience. If you have others, PLEASE contact them at VOLUNTEER@DOVEMISSIONS.ORG
One more thing – if you are not going to the Dominican Republic (or, “The DR”, as the cool kids say), no worries – please share this with your friends.
Now a few “top” questions…
Question 1 – We didn’t rent a car, how do I get there/back?
Answer – The folks at Dove make it SUPER easy for you to volunteer. Just tell them where you are staying and they have a driver that will take you to/from wherever you are staying. This applies to hotels, resorts, and even cruise ships.
Question 2 – I don’t have any “special” skill, how can I help out?
Answer – Just being there is helpful, but it also gives them a chance at English immersion, which improves their language skills, which then can lead to better opportunities for them. They really enjoy interacting with visitors, and if you think about it, the fact that you took time out of your vacation to spend time with them is very meaningful, not only to the kids, but also the staff.
Question 3 – Is it safe?
Answer – Yes, it is very safe. You are with staff 100% of the time and nobody is unhappy that you are there – your presence is appreciated.
Question 4 – Are they going to pressure me somehow to join, donate, sponsor, etc?
Answer – NO. There is the small donation for half or full days (per the website), but nobody is going to shake you down on the way home or harass you after that in any way. I personally think you will feel the “need” to sponsor a child, but that is just my opinion based on our experience.
Question 5 – If it’s just me, can I come solo or do I need to bring a group?
Answer – Solo is just fine, no worries. Your family is welcome, but not required.
Those are the “top” questions I have received, so far. I am certain there are others, and I would encourage you to drop them a line on their website or email – whichever is easier for you. You can also hop on their Facebook page and learn more there. Or, of course, drop me a line and I can share my experience. Oh yeah, and if you don’t believe me that this is a great thing, check out what others have said on TripAdvisor!
Just for fun, below are a few pictures from our trip. I hope you enjoy. And remember:
Make Your Vacation Great Again!
This was our afternoon group, with my family and founder, Liz, on the right side.
My wife teaching guitar – my son letting one of the kids play games on his iPhone in the background.
My kids teaching English.
This is their facility – basic stuff, but very functional.