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The Mission of the Trip is Caring and Connection

Over Spring Break, ten students flew to Santo Domingo for a mission trip sponsored by IWA's Teens4Unity. The trip, called, "People, Planet and Our Ecological Conversion" was chaperoned by science teacher Cristina Dimatulac, Campus Ministry Director Brianna Amaya, and former faculty member, Ana Paula Panzarini. As part of the service mission, the students taught English classes to young children at a local school called Cafe Con Leche.

"IWA has participated in this program since 2010," says Ms. Dimatulac. "This was our fourth trip to Santo Domingo, and it's great to see the volunteers' impact grow with every visit."

Teens4 Unity students say the trip is one they will remember forever. During the mission trip, they kept one phrase in mind: #dare to care. "That meant we had to be the first to love and give back rather than wait for someone else to do it," explains Angela Benny '25. "The experience was an eye-opener for me and impacted me in such a positive way! It made me realize that not everyone is as fortunate as I am. Working with the kids during classes, workshops, and activities impacted me because I saw how happy they were to learn and have fun with the workshops we came up with. It also impacted the kids because they took the initiative to try and understand a different language while getting to know people they had never met."

"The purpose of this mission trip was to give of ourselves in order to teach kids in Santo Domingo English, have dance classes, arts and crafts, and recreational time to play with the kids," adds Tania Rodriguez '25. "I realized how happy they got when we would do the simplest acts of service for them. You don’t see the same amount of gratitude coming from the majority of the young kids we encounter nowadays. We all learned that simple acts of kindness can have a lasting impact on everyone involved."