The Wakefield Rotary Club is happy to announce that it has sponsored a new school for young children in an impoverished area of the Dominican Republic. Specifically, the club has paid for $5,000 of new equipment La Escuela Cajuil, located in Macao, Dominican Republic. In partnership with the Rotary Club of Punta Cana-Bavaro, Dominican Rotarians shopped locally with the funds from the Wakefield Club to purchase much needed school supplies including 50 children’s desks, a teacher desk and chair, a water cooler, filing cabinets, trash barrels, brooms, mops, cleaning supplies. Additionally, the funds purchased 50 basic learning books and literacy supports. “When we heard that the kids needed simple things, we knew we could help,” commented Wakefield Rotary Club President Amy Luckiewicz. “Our Board of Directors acted very fast, just like they would for a local need, and approved the funds to be sent to our partner club in the Dominican Republic.”

The children check out their new desks at La Escuela Cajuil in Macao, Dominican Republic.

The partnership began with a simple business relationship. Wakefield Rotarian Bob Mailhoit, a local realtor, began chatting with his clients, Paul and Dolores Tiernery while waiting for a late potential buyer. The couple was planning a relocation to the Dominican Republic. Mailhoit mentioned that the Wakefield Rotary Club was looking to support an international project. Both Tierneys, members of the Rotary Club of Punta Cana-Bavaro recognized the opportunity of a partner project. They described their school project and how, although being able to fund the school build, they were seeking ways of funding the furnishings. “Bob (Mailhoit) called me up and described the project,” Luckiewicz explained. “I encouraged him to bring the idea to the next Board of Directors meeting.” Armed with a budget, photographs and a personal connection, Mailhoit presented the humanitarian project to the Wakefield Rotary Board in early Fall. In alignment with Rotary’s Areas of Focus, this basic education project was easily approved. “We wanted to make sure that the school would be finished. As soon as we got pictures from the Tierneys of the completed school in late February, we sent the money right away,” continued Mailhoit.

The school will be presented by the Dominican Rotary Club to the community of Macao this Friday. There are plans for the international partnership to continue as well. Two of Wakefield club members, Suzanne Bowering and Lisa Roderick are headed to Punta Cana for vacation this summer. They’re planning on bringing down extra luggage filled with school supplies and personally presenting the items to the school teachers. In addition, our high school level of Rotary, Interact, is planning on sending down baseballs, deflated soccer balls, and ball pumps as their first international project. “We don’t want this to be just a one-time financial project,” commented Mailhoit. “It’s important to us that the kids know that people want to invest in their education. In fact, it’s one of the best things our club can invest in locally as well.”

Click here for more photos of the project on our official Facebook page.