Here is some information (copied directly from the application form) about the Dominican Encounter.
Please contact Mr. Scanlon if you have specific questions.
Dominican Encounter with Faith and Hospitality Program
The Dominican Encounter with Faith & Hospitality (Encuentro Dominicano) offers learning opportunities from the context of faith and justice to “first world” youth and adults. We focus on the poor and the marginalized of the Dominican Republic- especially the Haitians who live in slave like conditions on bateyes in the sugar cane plantations. We are situated in the Municipality of Consuelo – a sugar mill town in the province of San Pedro de Macoris, 13 kilometres inland from the south eastern shore of the Dominican Republic.
The program offered by Encuentro Dominicano is recognized and promoted by the local Roman Catholic Diocese of San Pedro de Macoris, and is coordinated by Dean Riley who has lived and worked in the Dominican Republic since 1991. Assisting Dean in his role as General Coordinator of Encuentro Dominicano is a group of Dominican residents of Consuelo (called the Coordination Team). The Team is responsible for leading, guiding and translating for each group during their visit in the Dominican Republic.
Encuentro Dominicano is not affiliated with any Canadian charity, missionary organization, social service agency or development program. However, members of the Coordination Team (under the direction of the General Coordinator) do at times become agents of charitable projects funded by groups and individuals who have visited Consuelo and who have expressed a desire to become involved in a development project. If a group is interested in making a financial commitment to a development project of this nature, the group coordinator should consult with the General Coordinator (Dean Riley) directly.
Encuentro Dominicano does not ask visiting groups to become active in work brigades. The Program operates from the conviction that once those who live in poor countries like the Dominican Republic have gained access to the resources and human rights they lack, they become fully capable of “doing for themselves” that which is necessary to better their own lives.
Instead of the visiting groups attempting to “fix things “, we provide an experience that encourages visitors to transform themselves in order to live lives more in tune with Gospel values. We believe that the opportunity to see the world from the perspective of the poor transforms our visitors – who then desire to participate more fully in the unfolding of the Kingdom of God.
Furthermore, we provide opportunities for visitors to gain an initial understanding about the global structures that create and sustain poverty and injustice in our world. Together we identify our roles in these structures and look for ways to change our own lives rather than upholding the common misbelief that it is the poor who need to change.
We encourage visitors to insert themselves into justice networks once back at home … to seek out accurate information, continuing to educate themselves on the issues related to poverty and injustice in our world – and to begin working for systemic change (becoming practitioners of peace and justice) rather than merely acting as purveyors of charity alone.
Itinerary – The WCDSB Dominican Encounter with Faith and Hospitality experience is scheduled for:
Usually the last week in November.
While in the Dominican Republic groups participants will:
- Experience the warm and generous hospitality of Dominican host families;
- Celebrate Eucharist with the faith community of Parroquia Santa Ana in Consuelo;
- Visit the people living on the bateyes (small impoverished communities where Haitian cane cutters and their families struggle to survive in slave-like conditions);
- Meet several times throughout the week for group theological reflection;
- Visit a primary school, high school and two clinics: one public and one private;
- Dialogue in small groups with local residents of Consuelo;
- See the sights of the capital city of Santo Domingo and its colonial district, visit a day program for
- Spend time in discussion with workers from the nearby Industrial Free Trade Zone;
- Engage in a dialogue with the Bishop of the diocese San Pedro;
- Meet with a member of the Grey Nuns of Pembroke working in Consuelo for more than 50 years;
- Spend a day at a local beach on the Caribbean coast;
- Celebrate life and friendship amidst struggle and pain.
This itinerary is subject to change. The itinerary will be finalized closer to the departure date.
WCDSB Program Expectations
Prior to Departure
- Successful applicants must attend pre-trip preparation meetings, post-trip debriefing sessions. On average these meeting will be held twice a month and will most often be on Tuesday evenings (approx. 6:30 – 8:30pm).
WCDSB Application Criteria
- Applicants must attend a WCDSB secondary school and be in grade 11 or 12 during the 2018-2019 school year.
- Parental consent for applicants under 18 years old is required.
- Applicants must be willing to participate in faith oriented activities (i.e. Mass, discussions about social justice initiatives and prayer/liturgy).
- Preference will be given to applicants who demonstrate a strong attendance record and academic achievement.
Total Cost to Participant = Approximately $1700 CDN. The cost of the program is the responsibility of the participant. Fundraising opportunities are available. Please speak directly with a leadership team member if you require support with the cost of the program. Please note that the estimated cost includes a return flight to the Dominican Republic, food, accommodation with host families and transportation. The estimated cost does not include: pre-trip travel immunizations, passport, souvenirs / gifts, extra snacks.
Students and parents that are interested in learning more about the Dominican Encounter with Faith and Hospitality program are invited to email any of the school contacts with their questions.
Larry Scanlon – Larry.Scanlon@wcdsb.ca
Information and online application forms for the experience will be available on our school’s website in the Academic/Experiential Learning section. Applications will open in April.