Joe Hartman School Update: a "City on a Hill" for the Community During COVID-19
By Cindy Rusate
Dominican Republic Mission Team
Joe Hartman School Liason
Through the very difficult challenges of the last two years, the Joe Hartman School continues to be an oasis of hope in the desperately poor barrio of Kilometer 6, La Romana . . . the school is truly a “city on a hill” for the community.
January 2022 Visit to Joe Hartman School
We were blessed to be among a team of 25 amazing volunteers who were able to travel to LaRomana in January. We arrived to find the city in the midst of a pretty severe Covid and flu outbreak. The intention for this trip was to have a small team at the school for the week to photograph all the students. Considering there were only 16 students in attendance the day we arrived (due to temporary COVID restrictions), we had to modify our objectives!
After meeting with the school administration, here are the important updates:
• Due to Covid protocols (mandated by the Dominican Government), no more than 15 students are allowed in each classroom. That has required the school to divide each class in half meaning each student is in attendance only two days per week. Friday is for remedial help to those students in need. We can imagine the challenge that this presents for both students and faculty!
• The ongoing need for quality educational opportunities is evidenced by the increase in enrollment from the initial registration in August. This brings with it the need for more sponsors for these bright and beautiful boys and girls. Our enrollment is up and we currently have only 60% of our students sponsored.
• Many sponsors have asked for an update on the kitchen/dining hall. We are happy to report that the kitchen is up and running and was being used to prepare meals sent home with the children. Because our monthly sponsorship does not include money for the food program, the administration has told us that they can prepare food for the students “when they have food to prepare”. We just don’t know the food situation in most of these households but we do know that many of them come to school hungry.
Ways to Help with Providing Food to Students
This leads us to another opportunity and we are only limited by our own imaginations. Wouldn’t it be a blessing if we could ensure that they receive at least one hearty meal each day? Here are a few ideas to consider:
- Hold a special collection at your congregation – earmark the funds for JHS
- Host a luncheon at your congregation (or workplace) sell soup/sandwiches with the proceeds funding the meal program.
- Perhaps tie the upcoming Lenten season to an opportunity for your youth programs to be involved in feeding the kiddos at the school.
Water Filtration Project Update
As you may know, the Joe Hartman School began a water filtration project during the DR Mission Team's trips to La Romana last summer, thanks to a very generous donation made in memory of William Wadsworth, Sr. This water filtration system is intended to not only provide clean water for the school and those living in the Kilometer 6 neighborhood, but also supplement the budget at the school and help with the food program. However, it’s not yet fully operational. In the meantime, we can all do our very best to provide each student with a meal each day.
Do You Receive Updates and Emails from Joe Hartman School?
If you are currently not receiving information regarding your JHS sponsorship, it could mean that we do not have your updated e-mail information. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org and we can update our records. Also, if you have any questions about the sponsorship program in general or about your sponsored child in particular, please through email (email@example.com) or call 203-626-2239.
Please look for our next update in May. We hope to have a few student interviews as well as information about a graduation celebration for the 6th graders. And if you are able, consider joining us in La Romana this summer! The DR Mission Team has a number of weeks scheduled for volunteers to come down and serve.