Julie Townsend Zahm

RHS students travel to Dominican Republic to serve

August 9, 2012 // 0 Comments

At a time in the summer when many kids are getting bored and complaining about the heat, a group from Rockford and Saugatuck decided to do something. Six Rockford High School (RHS) students, four Saugatuck students and one Central Michigan University student, accompanied by three adults, recently made a weeklong trip to the La Romana, Dominican Republic, to make lives better for the people there. The July 7-14 trip focused on installing bio-sand water filters in some homes of the poorest residents of that area. Thanks to the efforts of these young people and their chaperones, 17 families and their neighbors are drinking clean water today. The group also worked one very hot, long day doing construction at the Good Samaritan Hospital. Construction was for an addition to set up a water filtration system for use at the hospital. The students hauled gravel, sand and cement, pouring the foundation for the cistern, one bucket at a time. High temps and humidity did not discourage any of their efforts at making a difference. Attitudes were always upbeat and positive. Additionally the group helped distribute over 325 pairs of footwear, donated by Wolverine Worldwide, to the underprivileged in a village and to girls at a local orphanage. The footwear was greatly appreciated by all who received them and is a luxury to many of the recipients. The group was able to spend some time playing games and doing crafts with the girls at the orphanage. Kelly Gardner, RHS Spanish teacher, and leader of the RHS student group “Thirsting To Serve,” said, “The kids were amazing. Their hearts, minds and souls were bent on service. They made us proud and served their communities and the world well. The phrase we heard repeated in by Dominicans during our trip became our mantra: OK. No problem. We can do that.” After all the hard work put into the trip, the group was rewarded with a couple of recreational outings. One day was spent in the historic area of Santo Domingo. Touring streets that were walked by legends such as Christopher Columbus were highlights of the day, along with visiting the tomb and museum dedicated to Columbus. Each participant paid for his or her own trip. Costs for the trip for […]