From an Everett Public Schools News Release.
Memory Mission volunteers selected for 2020 Rio Grande, Dominican Republic trip
This week of October 14, 2019, Everett School Board member Pam LeSesne learned she had won a random drawing and will be traveling to the Dominican Republic for a week in January to add a library, computer lab, and infirmary to the Cecaini Rio Grande School near Constanza.
“I am so excited to have this opportunity to give back. This trip will be life changing for me and I cannot wait to get started building not only the school, but relationships,” said LeSesne.
Since 2000, Lifetouch has organized 16 intensive week-long volunteer service trips in eight destinations around the world. This trip will be the group’s fifth time to the Dominican Republic, where the team has already built two school campuses providing space to learn and grow to more than 400 students.
During the first trip, leaders learned the small community nestled within the mountains was rich with sheer beauty yet lacked hope for the children’s future. A one-room school provided education for about 18 students. The rest of the children were faced with the difficult decision to walk five miles round-trip for a half-day of school, or if they were old enough, to work to help support their family. Most children did not attend school.
After the 2016 – 2018 Memory Mission team built a bright two-story school and cafeteria for the families of Rio Grande, 70 new families moved into the community because of the school.
Inspired by the commitment of the community to educating their children, the 2020 Memory Mission is traveling back to add to the school.
Members of AASA, NAESP, NASSP, NSBA, National PTA, other educators and eligible employees were invited to enter the Memory Mission drawing.
The Cecaini Rio Grande School in the Dominican Republic. Photo courtesy of Everett Public Schools.