Starting off with a fresh cup of Dominican coffee

The Recrear team has safely landed in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic as of yesterday and while we enjoyed our day of travel through the country to Santiago, the continued work for the NOLA chapter alongside the preparation for RecrearParticipacion will keep us focused during our short stay.

As we sit around the family table with a fresh cup of Dominican coffee, laptops dominate the space as the sound of keystrokes compliment the chords of a local guitarist (our host, Eric Rodriguez).  The three members of Recrear are lucky to have this opportunity to be in the DR, but we are not alone.  Eric, and his colleague, Alex, from Loyola University New Orleans are also here in Eric’s hometown doing their own workshop on music therapy(more on them on a future blog).  It is today, everyone’s first collaboration day that we,  five aspiring youth, are setting the tone for the next few weeks of our lives here in Republica Dominicana.

Our project, RecrearParticipacion, has been a development in its own right over months of preparation since it was inspired during Recrear-Apply! in Nablus, West Bank.  Basically, what the international chapter has noticed in our first year of operation is while our ability to launch projects has been successful, the projects we have launched have been developed internally.  Since our ultimate goal as an organization is to be a platform for youth to launch their own community development projects, we have been working on “Participacion” to become our signature project; with the sole aim of inspiring youth (external to our membership) to access our network for their own ideas to be realized.

The actual RecrearParticipacion project is still in the pilot stage while we are in the DR but we have been afforded the time to actually work with two different groups of students to refine our strategies and implement the project in a very uniform manner for global application.   The first group we work with is from the Yspaniola Office in Esperanza, DR.  We will meet their staff and volunteers tomorrow and then start our series of workshops on Wednesday the 13th.

When Participation was originally conceptualize, we envisioned an eight day interactive training series.  Unfortunately, our time with our main contact, Yspaniola, was less than a week so we have been reorganizing to frame the project in a more compact manner.  This has proved extremely challenging to fit eight days into four (fifteen workshop hours total), but a bonus is that we then had a second week free to partner with another target group and implement the project back-to-back.

After a week in Esperanza, we will return to Santiago to work at UTESA (UNIVERSIDAD TECNOLOGICA DE SANTIAGO) to deliver the second round of “Participacion”. And finally, as a recap and method to further develop our local network, we will visit the Dream Project in Carbarete.

I really hope that you will continue to follow this endeavor in these amazing cities and comment when you feel inspired to do so.  Also check out the links to our partner organizations here (included where applicable) and of course – share the link to this blog with your friends.

Hasta luego, Kevin Potter

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