Service in Santiago
During the week, Encuentro students spend two hours on Mondays and Wednesdays working alongside Dominican agencies at assigned service sites. Students are able to choose (within the limits of availability) between six sites that work with children, teenagers and elder adults living in challenging circumstances. Currently, Encuentro Dominicano works alongside the following sites:
- Hospicio San Vicente de Paul - Hospicio is an elder care facility that provides housing and care for senior citizens who do not have the family and/or resources to care for themselves. Hospicio also serves the community through a private Physical Therapy clinic, and is expanding to build an Occupational Therapy area as well. Proceeds from these clinics, as well as donations and proceeds from a private residential area help fund the Hospicio. The Student Perspective on Hospicio
- Angeles de CONANI - Formerly known as Hogar Luby, Angeles de CONANI has been taken over by the Dominican government in recent years, and has seen many improvements. CONANI is an orphanage for children (infant to 18 years old) with physical and mental disabilities. Working in CONANI can be challenging, as conditions are quite different from US standards, and children often do not receive the therapy or education they need to thrive. However, CONANI is always a favorite site amongst Encuentro students because of the endless amounts of love the children share. The Student Perspective on CONANI CONANI Informational Video
- Acción Callejera - Acción Callejera is an organization that works with children who are living and/or working on the streets in Santiago. Many of the children at the center have dropped out of school to make a living on the streets, shining shoes or washing car windows. They are a very vulnerable population whose rights are often neglected. Acción Callejera provides a variety of services to the children - counseling, homework help, meals, showers and recreation, and Encuentro students are often able to choose between these areas at Acción based on their skills and interests. The Student Perspective on Acción Callejera
- Caritas in Licey and Cien Fuegos - Caritas is a Dominican NGO that belongs to the Archdiocese of Santiago and to the Caritas Internationalis network. They are a large organization that works in Santiago to support and develop marginalized communities through a holistic approach. Encuentro students work in two of their Childhood Nutrition centers in the neighborhoods of Licey and Cien Fuegos. The centers provide meals to the neighborhood children from families who are not able to provide them with three meals a day. They also provide them with homework help and education about values and healthy living. The Student Perspctive on Caritas Cien Fuegos. The Student Perspective on Caritas Licey.
- La Escuela Santa Lucia - Escuela Santa Lucia is a primary school located in the Santa Lucia sector of Cien Fuegos, an urban neighborhood just outside of Santiago. Cien Fuegos is primarily a very poor neighborhood, suffering from recent layoffs at the nearby free-trade zone and highly impacted by it's proximity to the city dump. Many of the children at the school come from low-income and/or single-parent families, and therefore deal with situations that make it difficult for them to strive in school. Students serving at Escuela Santa Lucia also notice the challenges of the Dominican Education system, which is underfunded and poorly developed. The Student Perspective on Escuela Santa Lucia.