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Mar 18, 2019

Dreaming big!

Manuela at her high school graduation
Manuela at her high school graduation

Last year, Manuela achieved a dream of hers when she graduated from high school. She didn't stop there though and is now going after a bigger dream: to graduate from the University of Clinical Psychology.

In January, Manuela began her studies at the La Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo (referred to as La UASD- pronounced "waz" more or less). And here's a fun fact, did you know that La UASD was the first university founded in the Americas? It began 481 years ago in 1538! 

Manuela desires to use her future degree to further help children and adolescents in Bienvenido, and specifically those in The Bienvenido Project. She has already showed her commitment to this community through her current involvement as a youth leader, aiding in the socio-spiritual formation of the younger children in the project. She is also a motivator for the other youth in the community and has paved the way for three more young people to attend the University since January; Luis Miguel, Ninosca and Manuela (another Manuela!) are the next professionals who will help many other young people in the community of Bienvenido!

We would love to help many more youth in Bienvenido achieve their sueño (dream) of attending university, but finances are the biggest hurdle for the youth and their families who wish to attend. We've shared before that it is actually the cost of transportation (approximately $100 a month), not tuition, that becomes the main obstacle. If higher education is something you feel passionate about, and you'd like to help the youth of Bienvenido reach their big dreams, please reach out to us with any questions! And if you're ready to donate, let us know you'd like it to go straight towards this need, and we'll make it happen.

Thank you for your continued support! YOU make what we do possible.

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Jan 4, 2019

2018 Highlights

La Quince
La Quince
So many things have happened this year at The Bienvenido Project, and after some time reflecting, we've determined that these three events were our favorite...
La Quince
In July we celebrated the fourth annual "Quince" celebration (the traditional Latin American coming of age party when a girl turns 15). Watching all of the proud parents see their daughters dressed up and confident in the women they are becoming was such a beautiful part of this event. A highlight for all was watching our youth dance group put on a wonderful series of dances. They definitely stole the show!
Happy Birthday to EVERYONE
Who doesn't love to celebrate their birthday?! On "Everyone's Birthday" we celebrated the birthday of EVERY child in our program. We blew up balloons and put one on each chair-- pink for the girls and green for the boys. There were three big birthday cakes shared by everyone, plus yummy snacks and juice. We also played games and danced. We've never seen so many smiling faces.
Graduation
A huge accomplishment for the program this year was that 12 of our students graduated from high school. Some of these students have been with the project since it was founded 11 years ago when they were just seven and eight years old. With the support of our programs, they have blossomed into smart and capable young leaders who dream of education and bright futures; Manuela wants to study Child Development, Bernarda wants to study Clinical Psychology, and Luis Miguel wants to study Chemical Engineering. This month our graduates are headed off to univeristy at La UASD, the largest public university in the Dominican Republic. We can't wait to see where this takes them!
2019
2018 was a big year, and there is even more on the horizon for this coming year. As mentioned, the 12 students who graduated high school are starting university, yet there are are still some challenges to overcome. We have a two-part goal for 2019 to make this a long-term reality:
  1. Secure university scholarships for our students
  2. Purchase a bus that will transport the students back and forth to university
Why is this important? Because even with scholarships for college tuition, the cost of transportation every day adds up to a monthly cost that is not feasible for the students and their families. Therefore, we need a bus to make education accessible to these students. It also opens up the opportunity for others in Bienvenido, who are not a part of our program, to attend university. We estimate needing about $20,000 USD to purchase a bus.
Another exciting development this year will be the continuation of our construction project on our building. In March, we will be taking the next steps toward building a second floor at our program center. This will open up more class and activity spaces, and allow us to expand our programming.
Now it's your turn! What was your favorite event or story from The Bienvenido Project in 2018? Interested in supporting us in one of our upcoing 2019 goals? Let us know at thebienvenidoproject@gmail.com.
Thank you for all of your support in 2018! We're looking forward to partnering together with you in 2019, and a very happy New Year from all of our staff, volunteers, and youth!
Our youth dance group stealing the show!
Our youth dance group stealing the show!
Happy Birthday to EVERYONE
Happy Birthday to EVERYONE
2017 & 2018 Graduates
2017 & 2018 Graduates
2018 construction prep for this year's addition
2018 construction prep for this year's addition
Oct 22, 2018

The impact of an education: Romeo's story

The school year is now well underway, and we are excited to share that, thanks to the support of so many of you, we were able to provide scholarships for 50 children for the 2018-2019 school year. This is 14 more than last year and something to celebrate! Education is a vital piece of being able to offer hope of a life beyond poverty to the youth in Bienvenido, and we hope the following story helps to paint a better picture of what we mean when we say this.

Romero, or “Romeo” as his friends call him, is one of the youth benefitting from a scholarship this year. He is the oldest of 5, and lives with his mother and stepfather in a single room with one bed. At 14 years old, he had never attended school, and instead spent most of his days out on the street making poor choices while befriending the wrong people. ``

Earlier this year, he approached us at The Bienvenido Project expressing his desire to study. “I want to study. I am intelligent,” he told us. And he was right. Despite having never attended school, he had managed to learn to read and write on his own. This is how our journey of working with him and his family began. Not only were we able to place him in school, but 3 of his siblings as well.

Since entering school, Romeo’s past is beginning to be re-written. We no longer see him wasting time on the streets and disrespecting others. He has improved his way of dressing, speaking, and acting. He’s excelling in school with good behavior and attendance, and is enjoying being in a positive environment with the support of teachers and peers. He’s even begun to help during our feeding program, and tutor his siblings in reading and writing.

Romeo is just one of the 50 children benefitting from our scholarship program, which is about so much more than just learning to read and write.

Thank you for allowing us to offer hope!

Romeo
Romeo
 
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