Una Noche Dominicana: Come Support Madres Jewelry

October 21st, 2014

Madres Jewelry will be at the Gauntlet Gallery in San Francisco this Thursday (October 23), 6:00-8:00 PM!

Come out and join us for a lovely night of lively Latin music, local wines and beers, and tasty eats, while shopping the newest collection of Madres Jewely.

Come to know more about and support this amazing iniciative, which exists to empower Dominican and Haitian women in the rural, mountain town of Los Pinos del Eden, local near the Haitian-Dominican border.

You can buy your tickets online here or at the door! $10 gets you admission, free drinks and eats, and a $5 credit towards your Madres purchase.

We’ll see you there!

Children’s Rights Day

September 30th, 2014

Today, September 29, is the National Children’s Rights (in the Dominican Republic).

In honor of this special day, we would like to recognize our friends at Hogar Jeremi (a children’s home in Neyba) and at Caritas Felices (a school for children with special needs/from low-income families in Barahona). These amazing institutions and others in the country are doing a wonderful work to advocate for child children’s rights and promote their well-being.

That is why we seize every chance we can get, to take our trip participants to visit these lovely places, learn more about their work, take part in what they are doing and be inspired to support their or similar work long-term. It’s been a pleasure to come alongside these two institutions and see the incredible impact that they have had in the lives of the children they serve!

Find out ways you can support their work by emailing Una Vida Country Director, Kylie Culver, at kylie@una-vida.org.


Out of My Comfort Zone Into Community

September 23rd, 2014

Una Vida has had the great pleasure of having many of its participants return to the DR to participate in multiple service-learning trips. Gina Andrade has participated in two Una Vida trips, and from each, has been challenged and grown exponentially as a result. She [like most other participants] has encountered love and community like never before in her life, which has changed her for the better.

“[In] March of 2013, I got the opportunity to go to the DR. I had been wanting to go for a few years, but was nervous. Although I was nervous to leave the country without my family, I was wanting to expose myself to something new, to something that would take me out of my comfort zone. The amount of love that everyone shows towards each other [in the DR] is beautiful.

I went back this June because I had learned so much on my first trip, such as it is sometimes easy to forget to be grateful for the most basic things, and I was ready to learn more.
A quote that stuck with me during my trip was, “Find out what uncomfortable feels like. You might feel more comfortable than you think.”

One of my favorite DR memories was on the trip this  June, when we were driving up to Los Pinos and we ran into Michael [a friend I had met on my first trip]. He was talking to Wagner [our driver] and then looks up at me and yells “Gina! You came back!”. As we drove further into Los Pinos, more people knew me by name. It was a really special feeling to be so welcomed back into the town. It was great to know that the people I had been thinking about since the day I had left 15 months prior were happy to see me and remembered me.”

I think the trip is important because it helps the participants see what true, authentic community is, while experiencing another culture.”

– Gina Andrade, Una Vida Trip Participant

“Poor is Relative” Blogpost by the Daily Gratitude Report

September 22nd, 2014

Una Vida recently had the great honor of being featured in a blogpost by the Daily Gratitude Report. Check it out for yourself on the Daily Gratitude Blog, and read about the way Lexi Swan’s outlook on life changed after participating on an Una Vida service learning trip to the Dominican Republic.

Lessons from the DR: Reflection by Former Trip Participant, Alexis Halstenson

September 16th, 2014

Former trip participant, Alexis Halstenson, took a moment to share with us a heartfelt reflection from her experiences with Una Vida in the Dominican Republic.

“After going to the Dominican Republic with Una Vida in high school, I went three more times while in college as a nursing student. Spending time in the Dominican Republic during nursing school was a critical part of my college education, without a doubt. It allowed for real life application of the lessons in compassion we learned on campus. Spending time living alongside people who live passionately, love actively, and care selflessly gives college students inspiration and passion to do something really incredible with their lives. I’ve seen this time and again. Students realize how connected the world is while in the DR, and get excited to become a part of it. An experience like this is the perfect pair to go with the in-class lectures as we realize how much more exists outside of the classroom. I know I have been a better health care professional because of the lessons I learned while on Una Vida trips: for that I am forever grateful.

My favorite story from my trips to the Dominican Republic is one that I will not ever forget. Una Vida’s health focused trips have a special place in my heart as I saw them grow from the ground up. During one of these trips, a pregnant woman came to see us with no idea how far along she was or worse, how sick she was. She had a common yet preventable complication of pregnancy called pre-eclampsia– basically dangerously high blood pressure that compromises both the baby and mother. Recognizing she needed medical attention immediately, we used an Una Vida vehicle to drive her to the closest hospital. After a long couple of days not knowing what happened, the participants and I got the best news. The baby was born by emergency C-section, and both mom and baby were doing great. If that wasn’t enough, we were able to visit the hospital on our way home on the last day. Because we happened to be in town that day, we saved two lives in a situation that could have had a devastating outcome. We learned that simple maternity health education, something we take for granted, is lacking in many parts of the world. We also learned how big an impact each of us can make on others and on the world.”

–Alexis Halstenson