In addition to our partnership with Children Centers, VivaKids also reaches out to families in need of new homes or repairs on their existing homes. Many families, particularly ones from our partner Children Centers, live in dilapidated, makeshift homes, oftentimes with no electricity, running water, or indoor bathroom. VivaKids works with the leaders in these communities to identify families in particular need, and then coordinates and underwrites construction of these new homes at no cost to the families.
Not only that, but VivaKids utilizes our Vacation With A Purpose teams to be apart of these construction projects. Oftentimes the teams have a chance to put the finishing touches on a newly built house, by painting the outside of it. This is not only a blessing to the families, but also a privilege for our teams to be apart of seeing a family in need receive a brand new house.
In a greater role, VivaKids was presented the challenge, which we accepted, to provide the funds to help build a new vocational school being established to provide the necessary skills for graduates to succeed in the Dominican Republic. VivaKids has already raised nearly sixty percent of the needed funds for phase one construction.
Next to the Cimiv Children’s Center, in the small Dominican community of Punta de Garza, stands a beautiful new building that will soon be filled with young minds, learning different trades and vocations. Dr. Enerio and Leopoldina Mercedes, founders of the Cimiv Children’s Center, envisioned this vocational school long ago, when they realized their graduating eighth grade students often did not have the opportunity to continue their education further due to finances.
After seeing this need, and the Mercedes’ vision, VivaKids supporters decided to make this dream a reality. Funding to make this dream a reality has come from VivaKids. As together, we broke ground and began to pour the foundation for the new school, there was a sense of excitement among the Cimiv staff members and students. They watched everyday, as the building continued to take shape and form.
Though Cimiv recently formed a partnership with a local private high school, giving Cimiv students the option to continue their academic education through our child-sponsorship program, the vocational school will become another option. For the poverty-stricken residents of Punta de Garza, having free access to learn a trade is not only empowering, but also life-changing. This new vocational school will be open to the entire community, and will also give Cimiv students the option to learn a trade that can provide income for their families in the future.
With plans to add a second and third floor, the first floor of the building is now complete and ready to be occupied. Cimiv will offer a wide range of classes, such as English, carpentry, plumbing, baking, electricity, health and beauty, nursing and human resources. Though English classes are already taking place, the rest of the many classrooms still need to be furnished and equipped, a significant expense to the center.
VivaKids continues to move forward in gaining the financial support to equip the classrooms of the new vocational school. VivaKids and Cimiv look forward to when students, along with residents of Punta de Garza, will be able to begin successful careers in their perspective fields of interest, propelling them into adulthood.