Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Community Service in the Dominican Republic and The Bement School

Last year, I began this blog about the same time as my daughter, who was then a 9th grader at The Bement School in Old Deerfield, Massachusetts, was getting ready for a community service trip with her class to La Suiza Orphanage in the Dominican Republic. I wrote in this blog about the preparations, the anticipation, and the excitement of the students and their teachers prior to the trip and the life-transforming experience that this trip was for all involved.

Much has happened to the island of Hispaniola, which is shared by the Dominican Republic and Haiti, since that class trip, especially the devastating earthquake that hit Haiti on January 12, 2010. This year's 9th grade class at The Bement School has now returned from their one week service trip to the same orphanage, which began on January 28, 2010.

Before they left, my daughter constructed a large poster filled with photos that she developed from her class trip last year and one of her former teachers brought the poster to the orphanage.

Above I share with you a photo that the teacher took of my daughter's poster at the orphanage, which is being admired and studied very intently by two boys at the orphanage. The teacher told my daughter that many of the children at this orphanage remembered their experiences with my daughter's class and were delighted to see the poster with the photos of very special memories. A return trip is planned next year for the Bement alums who have been able to help out at La Suiza and who wish to return to see the children and to reestablish the bonds made.

Memories of such experiences as these are priceless for all those involved and prove the importance of human connections and community service across national boundaries.