President Update Thanks to you our Dominican Republic partnerships took some great leaps forward in the past year. We so appreciate your continued support and want to provide you with these exciting updates.
• School Programs: The TEARS School (María Auxiliadora) and Soto School (Soto) are strengthening their vision to reach the “poorest of the poor” by increasing class size and by adding extra grades. Your donations provide quality education, breakfast, and healthcare for Dominican and Haitian children challenged by poverty, neglect, hunger and disease. Support from individuals, ‘buddy schools’ (Battalion Park, Colonel Walker, Bearspaw), nursing/health teams, churches and corporations enables these committed teachers to nurture, educate and change the lives of even more children.
• Community & Church Programs: Your partnership support also provided the means for dedicated volunteers
at the Soto and El Camino churches to care for youth and their families through camps, sports, health and mentorship programs. Support for new initiatives, such as the Soto water purification plant and a microfinance bank, will lead to sustainable impacts on health, livelihood and family lives.
These partnerships continue to make a major difference in the lives of those living in poverty. Your continued support will provide stable and growth funding for the school, health, community and church initiatives. You can give online through Canada Helps (www.canadahelps.org) or by donating directly to Partners In Deed. We hope you will check out our website to learn more about our partnership initiatives in the Dominican Republic (www.partnersindeed.org).
With our appreciation for your commitment and support,
Margot Underwood President, Partners In Deed
Partners In Deed Society of Alberta Email: email@example.com Registered Charity #849450168 RR0001 https://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/tax/charities/donors/listings/menu-e.html
“TASTE AND SEE THAT THE LORD IS GOOD” –Ps 34:8
I took this verse as an invitation as I prepared for this February’s visit to the María Auxiliadora Community. My prayer was to be intentional in the short time we spent there. To have open eyes, open ears, and an open heart to take in what God was doing through the lives of the people I met. Good intentions, though scripturally based, are often challenging to live out in reality. I found it difficult to see the community without bias. I took in the school, the people, and the open-door warmth through my own cultural lens. That lens shaded their relational wealth with colours of poverty. I found it a constant struggle not to compare two vastly different cultures and name one superior for simply being different.
As to what I saw, I can’t truly describe to you the scenes I took in or their impact. It is an experience that everyone must taste and see for themselves. My experience was both encouraging and discouraging. Throughout the last eight years I have heard stories of hope, seen pictures of smiling children in clean uniforms, and seen the fruits of the bond of hope that has been built between our communities. It was discouraging to see for myself the real limitations that the school and the people face everyday. I know now that for every smiling child in the TEARS classrooms, there are 8 more outside the gates who simply can’t be accommodated. The TEARS school is a bright light in that community but it is necessarily exclusive. Though they have the heart for the work, they do not have the resources, the time or the space to meet the needs of every child in the barrio.
Seeing the reality of life in the barrio for myself allows me to know hope in a new way. I have now seen what changes hope creates in the families that know it, and also what life is like without it. I was welcomed into the community based on the relationships and partnership that have grown over the last eight years. These are our brothers and sisters in Christ and I feel the truth of that connection in a new way as a result of this ‘field trip’. -Jacquelyn Sundberg
University of Calgary Student Nurses Experience Life and Friendships in the Maria Auxiliadora and Soto Communities (and they do great work as well)! Courtney Fischer For the University of Calgary Student Nurses
For twelve days in February, I was part of a team of student nurses that completed a community nursing placement in the Dominican Republic. Eight nursing students and one nursing instructor (Margot Underwood) from the University of Calgary, Faculty of Nursing collaborated with Partners In Deed to work in the Maria Auxiliadora and Soto communities. We spent our time giving nutritional advice about healthy choices, visiting with families in the community, and completing basic health checks at the TEARS School, Soto School, and the Polytechnical School.
I had no experience working in international communities before this trip, so I was not quite sure what to expect. Before leaving Calgary, we had been well prepared about ways to approach the community looking at their strengths, ways to partner with the communityâ€”working alongside them, and the differences in culture that we would experience. These principles are great to read about in textbooks...but being able to experience them first hand was something else. Immediately upon arriving in the Dominican I was struck by the warmth and accepting nature of the people. This was shown by the large group of smiling faces who had come to greet us, total strangers, at the airport, and then again at the TEARS school where our photograph was printed and framed on the wall. This hospitality and kindness just continued on, growing each day that we spent in the Dominican.
Working with residents of the Maria Auxiliadora and Soto communities sparked a passion within me for nursing in developing areas. Learning to recognize the strengths and assets within the community is something that I took home from this trip. A major strength of these communities is their faith, which gives them hope, happiness and resiliency. It was powerful to see that there can be such joy in families that have so little and daily face so much hardship.
I think my favourite day of our trip, was the Friday that we spent at the TEARS school assisting with kids’ camp. What stood out for me is that fact that these kids, who don’t all come from the best home situations (abuse is often quite prominent and families are often broken with blurred lines), were able to just be kids for the day. Troubles they faced in their homes and daily lives were left at the TEARS gate as they entered the school to learn and have fun. The day was full of hugs, dancing, crafts, singing, smiles, and simply love all around. It was great to be able to spend a day just playing with the kids.
It’s hard to find an appropriate word to summarize what our time was like working in the barrio and with the community; it was simply an amazing experience. Though the connections that Partners In Deed had in place we were able to build many lasting relationships. Our time spent in the Dominican certainly brightened my semester and gave me a wonderful boost of happiness, and it had nothing to do with the Caribbean sun! My whole team came back rejuvenated and transformed by the passion shown by these communities. I think given the opportunity (and maybe a lack of tuition fees and student loans) we would all drop everything to go back and visit our friends in the Dominican again. This experience made my nursing practice blossom in ways I had never expected and touched my heart. We could not have imagined a better place or group of people to complete our community health practicum with!
Check out http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uThnNQ8oLHk to learn more about our amazing experience
By Judy Shelstad It has been eight years since our involvement with the T.E.A.R.S. Ministry, whose philosophy is to raise up indigenous leaders and equip them to lead the church, and so is the case with Bautista (Bau) Valerio who started with the ministry fourteen years ago when he met Rod Davies who moved with his family from the United States to the neighbourhood of María Auxiliadora in the city of La Vega, Dominican Republic. During these eight years I have seen Bau’s growth from a young intern to a well known leader in his community, pastor and family man. I asked Bau a few questions to allow you to know and love him as much as we do.
When did you meet Rod Davies and how did you get involved with the Ministry? I moved to María Auxiliadora in 1996. As a young man I felt a calling to work with the church and wanted to go to seminary, however my family’s finances would not allow it so I started to look for ways to learn more. At that time I heard about a foreigner who was teaching the Gospel trying to speak Spanish in the barrio. Although I could not understand much of what he was talking about, my curiosity grew and I continued attending his talks. At the age of 16 I decided to follow Christ and have been working with Rod since. At that time I decided to leave school and two years later went back to school and finished my grades.
T.E.A.R.S. team 2003 – Bau far right
In the year 2000 I started working with T.E.A.R.S as a maintenance man and became involved with the youth at the church. After a few years I became part of the pastoral staff in El Camino Church and have been there ever since. Our church is an integral part of the community and has allowed me to grow as a leader.
Over the last year I have been the co-ordinator for all the groups that visit our Ministry, coming from the United States, Canada and Europe, focusing on helping the different communities in La Vega. From these visits a vision to promote unity within the different churches was born, and we are working through the pastor’s association to encourage all denominations to come together and bless the people by having the foreign groups work in their areas.
Tell me more about yourself, your family, your background I come from a family of 10 siblings, being the youngest of the 5 boys. My parents are still with us and live very close. I have been married for the past five years to Adriana and have two children, Adrian and Valery.
Seeing the great need in our community, Adriana and I want to work with families in our barrio and La Vega in general, promoting education in every sense of the word. I have been studying Social Sciences at the university for the last four years and I am getting close to finishing. My wife Adriana started post secondary studies as well a year ago.
What are your plans and dreams for your family, community and the T.E.A.R.S Ministry? We have many goals in mind seeing the great needs in our community.
Personally I have always felt called to help people. It has been my passion, especially being involved with young adults. Thus my involvement with the church as a pastor. I am burdened by the need in the Haitian community, not only in the Dominican Republic but in their native Haiti, and some day I would like to be able to travel to Haiti and work as a missionary. I dream of going to other countries and experience their cultures as well. For now my focus is to finish university, continue working to be able to see my wife and children continue their educations, and some day be able to own a house and a vehicle. As a team we continue to work with the church to promote our school and the water system which are vital to our community. My goal is to develop a program through education with other neighborhoods involved. The idea is to find experienced Dominican and foreign teachers, and together train our local teachers in public schools in various neighborhoods, and look for ways to raise funds to purchase school supplies and equipment for students. Training and provision of some of these basic materials are priorities for a good education in our country, as our education system does not provide either. This is my desire and a way to use my college career to help communities. I just pray that this is part of God's plan for my life.
NEWS FROM SOTO
Many exciting developments are taking place in Soto, a primarily Haitian community near La Vega in the Dominican Republic. The lives of Haitians who reside in the Dominican Republic can be difficult due to discrimination, poverty, and less than ideal working conditions. Yet, there is joy in being part of a community that is growing spiritually and with hope for a better future. The Soto Church has a burgeoning congregation with many new families and children of all ages. Over 100 people attend the church each week under Pastor Hector’s leadership. Every pew is full of enthusiastic and faithful worshipers who come in their “Sunday best” to worship God and serve the broader community.
This church is also home to the Soto School, which receives the majority of funds from Partners In Deed (PID). Under Pastor Hector’s wise stewardship and three committed teachers, approximately 60 children (nearly half pre-kindergarten or kindergarten ages) have access to educational opportunities they would never have dreamed possible only a few years ago. The school is thriving; however the need for educational resources (e.g., books, pencils, desks) is great as is the need for nutritional programs that support healthy minds and bodies.
As you may recall, one of the first PID initiatives was to bring clean water to the María Auxiliadora barrio. This highly successful program is now being replicated in the Soto community, and PID board members led by Don Dufault, are working closely with our Soto partners to realize the dream of providing the Soto community with a sustainable source of clean water. Access to clean water is fundamental for maintaining the health and well-being of men, women, and children in Soto and the surrounding communities. This is an exciting time for the Soto community and we would welcome your financial sponsorship of these projects. Funds can be designated to the Soto School or the Soto Water Project through Partners In Deed directly or online at their website at www.partnersindeed.org through the donations tab at Canada Helps (under the appropriate fund designation).
Abridged Financial Statements August 31, 2010 and 2009
CURRENT ASSETS Cash Accounts Receivable
CURRENT LIABILITIES Accounts Payable Net Assets
STATEMENT OF OPERATIONS AND NET ASSETS
REVENUE Donations and Fundraising
Team travel and accomodation (note 1)
Church and social assistance
Teacher scholarship and literacy development
Promotion and communication
DIRECT PROGRAM EXPENSES
Capacity support and other FUNDRAISING EXPENSES GROSS MARGINS GENERAL AND ADMINISTRATION
EXCESS RECEIPTS OVER DISBURSEMENTS
Opening Retained Earnings
Closing Retained Earnings
Note 1 - Team Travel and Accomodation costs were incurred in support of the program delivery and on-site reviews. The above financial statements present fairly, in all material aspects, the financial position of Partners In Deed Society of Alberta as at August 31, 2010 and 2009 and the results of its operations for the years then ended, in accordance with Canadian generally accepted accounting principles. A full set of audited financial statements is available by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.