Morristown, N.J. (March 7, 2014) – The eighth annual Dominican Republic service trip sponsored by College of Saint Elizabeth is right around the corner. This year, a mission team of students, faculty, and alumni prepare for their trip, March 9-14, to set up clinics in the Batey, a poor community in the country. At the clinics, more than 1,000 patients are assisted daily by the distribution of donated medications, health kits and vitamins.
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In 2007, the trip was conceived and spearheaded by Dr. Eileen Specchio, professor and director of the undergraduate program in nursing. The opportunity for nurses, in partnership with UMDNJ/Rutgers nursing students, has been a rich collaboration. Over the years, the trip has expanded to include the psychology program, which also holds counseling workshops, focusing on domestic violence prevention presentations for the people of the Batey, as well as community leaders and pastors.
Another addition to the trip is the BEAD (Bringing Empowerment Achieving Dreams) project, an opportunity for CSE students to teach Dominican women how to create and sell handcrafted jewelry. BEAD was started by CSE alumnae Paola del Prado, '11, and Aleksandra Brzoza, '13, both global studies majors. It was initially designed to assist impoverished women living in the Dominican Republic, but has since paved the way for CSE students to empower women not just there, but globally. This year, Rowan Ghaly, '14, global studies major, and Anyelica Almonte, '15, criminal studies and business major, will go on the trip to continue the work of the BEAD project.
This service trip is continuing the College's mission of service learning and social justice together with the Foundation for Peace, a nonprofit foundation dedicated to education in the United States and to work with people in materially impoverished areas.
"The opportunity for students to serve vulnerable communities and see the impact of poverty and environment on health is a prime motivator for faculty to participate," said Lynne McEnroe, nursing instructor who will attend the trip for her seventh year.