Families receiving a fresh start is something that we always cherish, but when we heard that the Garcia Vasquez family was selected by the community to receive a house in 2020, we knew that it had the opportunity to be extra special!
Every two years, Andrea and her students from Seycove Secondary School join us to work alongside a special community in the Dominican Republic. In 2018, they helped three families receive a fresh start and this March, they were going to be bringing three more families into safe, dry homes.
Students have the chance to connect on “family visits”
Bringing people together from different backgrounds has the power to change the world.
On a Build, everyone has the chance to experience something we call “Family Visits”—where volunteers and local families are able to cook, clean, and communicate together with the help of one of our translators. It’s a special time that allows for connections to be made that can leave a lasting impact.
The last time Seycove students were with us back in 2018, heavy rains had recently hit the community days before Andrea and a handful of her students had the chance to visit with the Garcia Vasquez family for their Day in the Life experience.
It was clear to everyone who walked through the front door how vulnerable this family of three was too flooding. Visible water damage could be seen across the walls, several feet above ground level, and when the dad spoke, he talked about how they would have to leave the house swimming to get to higher ground.
The mother had a sight condition, which made life difficult and their 11-year-old daughter had grown up in these unsafe living conditions for her whole life.
In talking to one of the students about their experience, Maria summed up her feelings by saying that it made her want to come back and build another home.
Breaking the news
We rely on members of the community to play a lead role in selecting who will receive a home. But when the Garcia Vasquez family popped up on the list, we were excited because in March, more student volunteers from Seycove Secondary School would be returning with Andrea.
We knew that pairing the two of them together was possible and would be extra significant to everyone involved.
During the first half of March, things changed rapidly across Canada.
As society began limiting gatherings, restrictions were put on travel, and physical distancing rules were put into effect, the trip was cancelled.
The students were disappointed that they wouldn’t be able to physically put in the work, but each of them were excited to hear that we’d be doing everything we could so that the families would receive their new homes.
Thankfully before restrictions were put in place on the island, local contractors and community members were able to come together and work alongside the family to build their house and welcome them home.
Although it’s not how we wanted the story to end, we still find an incredible amount of inspiration in the fact that Andrea and her students were able to make a difference and help the Garcia Vasquez family begin a new chapter of their lives, even from a distance.