Dominican Republic Service Trip

Dominican Republic Service Trip February 20-27, 2016

Cost for the trip is $950 and includes air, food and lodging

Email soneill@siena.edu for more information

See video from 2011!

Article written by Tessa Biskup about the 2015 trip   Our service trip to the Dominican Republic truly encompassed all aspects of the Franciscan education which we strive to attain through our education at Siena.  While there, we lived with the Hermanas Franciscanas Bernadinas (Franciscan Sisters) who have spent the past 23 years transforming a community of people into a community with vibrant life.  Through the creation of a Kindergarten through 5th grade school, a pharmacy which serves the people at little to no cost, and an adult education program which caters to the tourist industry in order to help the people move up the social ladder, the Sisters have gained unending trust and are so admired by the people of Los Tres Brazos.

Although the people have little – some could not afford shoes or clothes, even the barest of necessities were not guaranteed – the community was so grateful for all that they had.  The experience was humbling to say the least.  We truly learned how to embody DORS values: each trip member had diverse backgrounds which resulted in unique skills and talents.  As we worked together, we accomplished great things.  These ranged from stocking a pharmacy to teaching Bhangra to a gym class of 2nd graders.  Our group remained optimistic in the face of challenges, whether it was a late night completing lesson plans followed by an early morning walk to the convent or the difficult realization of how much of our hearts we had given to the community over the course of the week and the idea that we would soon have to part with them.  Each individual on this trip experienced the realization of the sacredness of human life and the respect which we all must have for one another.

The trip truly engaged our hearts in its personal nature.  The community was completely open to us, members invited us into their houses to teach us about their lives and asked about our own.  We learned stories of people who had lived in the neighborhood their whole lives as well as those of the sisters who moved there in 1992 and the change which they had created in such a short span of time.  The service which we did brought out the best in ourselves but more than that, it truly enabled us to see the best in others.  We all learned the true meaning of servant leadership and were able to use this to create sustainable change rather than to solely address short term issues within the community.  We attempted to create an impact which would live on after we left and as we spent time with the sisters, we felt the longstanding impact which previous groups had made.  The connection which the Sisters and the community have developed lives on from year to year in the love which they have for one another and their remembrance of Siena Students who return on the trip time and time again.  The short trip will live on forever in our hearts as it was a transformative experience which we will never forget.