Transformative Experiences: A B.L.U.E. Missions Journey to the Dominican Republic
By Alicia Curtis, VFC Children’s Needs Program Manager
This past summer I embarked on a once-in-a lifetime learning adventure with 19 youth in foster care to the Dominican Republic on a B.L.U.E. Missions trip, to build latrines for the residents of La Cabeza del Toro and ensure they had access to a safe, private, and sanitary bathroom—a basic necessity we often take for granted.
I was thrilled to hear Voices For Children was funding a trip for our youth to travel beyond their horizons. For many of them, it was their first time boarding a plane let alone leaving the country.
We faced long hours without electricity, running water, or the comfort of our usual bedrooms, but our kids learned to make the most out of the moments they had and started to build unforgettable memories by immersing themselves into cultural music and dance, engaging in meaningful conversations that encouraged vulnerability and discovering that they had shared-experiences with others in the group.
Each day, they acquired invaluable critical thinking skills, channeling them into sustainable initiatives that enhanced the living conditions of the villagers. With each completed latrine, their self-esteem began to soar, reinforcing the belief that they could accomplish anything they set their minds to.
The most important lesson we all gained on this trip was that of gratitude.
As our journey came to an end, the youth pulled the VFC staff aside and thanked us for providing them with an unforgettable experience and asked us if they could donate their clothing to the villagers who they felt needed it more than them.
I am sharing this story with you to underscore the immense hope that VFC's initiatives generate. We work to ensure that children and youth in foster care have the resources they need to feel empowered to dream big and strive for the goals they rightfully deserve to achieve, regardless of their circumstances.
I am personally grateful to Miami-Dade County and our invaluable donors for investing in our youth in this meaningful way. I hope you will watch the video with pride knowing that you changed a life.