12/13/2013 7:21:05 AM
Franciscan Spirit Spread to Dominican Republic
Monday, February 18, 2013
By Elise Fernandez '13
Ten Siena College students spent a week in the Dominican Republic during winter break. Rather than relaxing on the beach they were working with Franciscan sisters in Santo Domingo as part of a service trip sponsored by the Sr. Thea Bowman Center for Women. The group worked in health clinics and taught young children in the community of Los Tres Brazos.
“The trip involved spending time with the children, creating lesson plans for the K-4 school, teaching English lessons for the slightly older children, volunteering when needed at the medical clinic, pharmacy or just running around at recess,” said Shannon O’Neil Ph.D., director of the Sr. Thea Bowman Center for Women.
“It seemed unbelievable to see families living in what were essentially a cement room with a patchwork tin roof,” said Padua Hall Residence Director Riane Corter who served as one of the trip’s chaperones. “I think the biggest difference that everyone felt was the undrinkable water. You always hear “don’t drink the water,” but until you are actually brushing your teeth with bottled water, you don’t feel the impact. To think of people living without drinkable water readily available to them is heartbreaking,” Corter said.
“It’s been (an) inspiration to see the work that the Sisters do,” said Claire Frank’13. “Seeing all the positive effects and outcomes of their work makes you realize, ‘wow I really can make a difference.’ It’s amazing to see how much time and energy they give to the people. They are so selfless and so giving and it’s great to be a part of that.”
The students brought money and donated goods for the Franciscan Sisters to distribute to people in need. They also brought Beanie Babies to give to the children on the last day of the trip. “Their faces just lit right up,” Frank said. “Some of them had never had a stuffed animal and it’s just the best gift you could give a little child.”
This was the Bowman Center’s seventh annual service trip to the Dominican Republic.
Contact: Ken Jubie
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