The Volunteer Centre finished accepting donations on Feb. 5 for children in the Dominican Republic.
Nine student volunteers taking part in Alternative Spring Break, from Feb. 14 to Feb. 20, will pack the donations in their carry-on bags. They will give items to the children in a small fishing down called Monte Cristi. The students will work with the organization Outreach 360 for a week and help teach English to children there.
Tyler Salive—a second-year police foundations student— went last year with the group to Nicaragua. This year he decided to take the trip again. Salive also volunteered with Habitat for Humanity twice in 2015.
“It’s one of the best things you can give to somebody,” he said. “To see the face of people when you’re helping them directly,”
Rox Chwaluk, who helped to coordinate the program, said that people have many different reasons for volunteering. When her mother had breast cancer, she felt the need to be a breast cancer advocate the next day.
“You might have a desire to give back because you think you are supposed to, or you might volunteer because you want to volunteer,” Chwaluk said. She said that volunteering is a fundamental part of who we are as human beings.
Salive said students weren’t taking his reasons for going seriously this year. When he ran a bake sale with other volunteers, some students thought that the trip was just an excuse to go to relax on a beach. “I think a lot of people don’t actually think college students want to go and help people,” he said. Most of the donations for him came from going to houses or asking friends.
Each of the volunteers fundraised over $2,000, which accounts for their plane tickets and accommodations the organization provides. Students were encouraged to donate items like peanut butter instead of three-ring binders. While one might think a binder is a good donation, people don’t use them there. Peanut butter is a better donation because it is much more expensive in the Dominican Republic.