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A centre of hope

The Dominican Starfish Foundation recently completed the construction of the second floor of its community centre in Javilar, Dominican Republic.

The Dominican Starfish Foundation assists in providing food, clothing, shelter and basic needs to those suffering in poverty in the Dominican Republic. It was formed by a group of Canadians who went to the island on vacation. Observing the needs of people who lived in poverty there, the group decided to bring clothing, shoes and school supplies to citizens of the island.

The Canadian-based charity grew its efforts to build schools, libraries and homes for families around the island while still donating the essentials to life and well-being.

After completing the first floor of the centre, Starfish sought to expand the centre to house dental and medical offices and classrooms. With support from a Gay Lea Foundation grant of $10,000 (received in 2020), the Dominican Starfish Foundation recently completed a second story to its community hub.

“Due to the pandemic, the project was put on hold in 2020, and then we experienced delays in getting the necessary materials to complete the project, but I am happy to report the second floor is complete,” says Executive Director Louise ZoBell.

The centre now has three classrooms and three rooms for service groups, such as doctors, chiropractors, dentists and optometrists who travel to the Dominican Republic for humanitarian service missions. There is also a space for a consignment shop for locals to sell their original products.

“The Dominican Starfish Foundation will be hosting the volunteer group in October who will be staying in the centre to help furnish it and teach English classes to the locals,” says ZoBell. “We have another volunteer group this November to teach a course on community involvement and conflict resolution.”

ZoBell added the centre has volunteer groups booked through to the summer of 2022 to offer a range of classes and services.

“On behalf of Dominican Starfish Foundation and the people of the Dominican Republic, I would like to thank the Gay Lea Foundation who have blessed so many lives in the community Javillar,” says Zobell.

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