This program consists of two Holidays, two countries with a common theme. Countries involved are U.S.A and Dominican Republic with the Holiday of Halloween and Carnival-Independence Day. The Common Theme between the two is that both countries celebrate such holidays by wearing Costumes In the United States we celebrate Halloween and for the most part our children get to wear a new and different costume every year, now what happens with those costumes once this holiday has past? This is when our cultural exchange kicks in; we collect these gently worn or new Halloween costumes from our community and children here in the U.S. and in turn we pack-ship-donate to under-served children in the Dominican Republic for their annual Carnival and Independence Day festivities, which is held during the month of February. It is cultural tradition to dress up and parade throughout the country for these festivities. This project will allow these children, who may otherwise not be able to experience this, wearing a colorful costume while participating in the country’s tradition to dress up and enjoy the festivities and create happy childhood memories through this cultural exchange. We document the entire process and give access to all. We can all experience through images and videos where their donated costumes are going and how it impacts the life of a less fortunate child. The children learn the gift of giving, culture, history, art, geography, and of course a unique concept to recycle-reduce-reuse. Each year we gather an even greater number of donors therefore more children are able give and receive costumes through this cultural exchange. We need all hands-on deck to keep this great and educational program active, running and growing.
STORYTELLING: ADULT CHILDHOOD MEMORIES
Storytelling is a program in which we engage our children with our adult community to share and learn about their childhood memories. In this program, we will all learn more about how our customs, roots and stories connect to one another enhancing a bond with our neighbors, friends and family. This program is run through a series of monthly community events where all gather and enjoy breakfast and refreshments provided by us or whomever sponsors the event. The program follows a plan of two hours where the first 30 minutes is spent greeting participants and enjoying some breakfast while all get comfortable. An hour is spent on the actual sharing of stories which follows a pattern of 6 questions that allows the teller to stay on topic. This is an interactive activity where children can participate as the stories can sometimes relate to anyone in the room. The last 30 minutes of the event is invested in any free raffles and the gifting of old fashioned prizes for the children. The children get to go home with a prize and some of the adults with freebies which vary depending on what we can get sponsor for
• Children will learn about how life was when we were their age
• Community will engage and share their stories and perspectives
• Children will learn about each other’s life, making them aware of their own culture and roots
• Sense of community building is all around as people of all ages are invited to take part in this program, be it as listeners, tellers and/or volunteers.
These are free events for the public to attend and no money is collected or gained through them. Attendance on average is 25 guests and we rely on our supporters, donors and sponsors to help us keep these programs running and productive.