Comunidad Connect in the Dominican Republic
Comunidad Connect first explored the Dominican Republic in 2018 with a group of Nursing students and faculty from Kennesaw State University. What started as a new destination for our service learning trips has grown into a long-term partnership with the country, its people, institutions, and incredible natural environment. We partner with the ministry of health, community health promoters, local leaders, and NGO’s to improve health outcomes for marginalized families and communities.
Connections since 2018
Supporting neighbors helping neighbors build bathrooms, potable water systems, and modify homes for increased accessibility
Public Health volunteers with community leaders and residents
Household modifications to improve health, safety, and security for patients and their caregivers
Founding members of the Comunidad Connect team in the Dominican Republic
Physical Therapy outreach and rehabilitation
Occupational Therapy home visits
In 2023, we registered a new Dominican non-profit organization to formalize and reflect our commitment to reach and impact families who need our help the most. We invested in youth sports in Puerto Plata through our partnerships with Club de Deportes Proyecto Miramar and the Caribbean Surf Connection. We also hosted 10 groups of volunteers in 2023 in the mountainous region of Constanza. These 125 students and their faculty worked primarily with special needs patients and their caregivers to build dozens bathrooms, ramps, and walkways while also providing physical and occupational therapy for over 100 families.
Next Steps: Amplify & Deepen
We seek to improve the quality of life for the most vulnerable residents of every community we partner with. Thus, we gravitate towards the young, the old, and the sick and connect them with critical resources like health care, wellness enrichment activities, and housing modifications. Our initiatives improve the well-being of specific individuals and families, while our investments in community assets benefit society at large.
In 2024, we will continue to support youth sports programming in Puerto Plata with investments in coaching, infrastructure, and supplies for the Club de Deportes Proyecto Miramar. We are also a proud sponsor of the Caribbean Surf Connection – a series of five surf tournaments for youth throughout the country. We ensure that young people from marginalized communities have accommodations, transportation, and food for each event.
Comunidad Connect will host 12 groups of volunteers in 2024 with specialties in Nursing, Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Respiratory Therapy, Social Work, Public Health, Architecture, and Physical Education. We plan to launch our first ever health promoter training program, which will provide caregivers with personalized resources they need to care for their loved ones with special needs.
2024 will also see us start several social enterprises, including an exciting collaboration with our good friend Tio Antonio from Nicaragua to offer high-end hammocks to the robust tourism industry in the DR. We intend to open a coffee shop and hammock workshop to create pathways to employment and living wages for Deaf people.