In partnership with the upcoming holiday Día de los Muertos, the FGCU organization
D.R.O.P. held a fall fiesta and raffle prizes to help raise money toward their charity outreach trip to the Dominican Republic.
D.R.O.P., which stands for Dominican Republic Outreach Program, has been running for eighteen years at FGCU.
Once a year, they organize and host trips to the Dominican Republic to work with the at- risk youth organization Acción Callejera to provide aid and resources for civilians needs in order to live—such as providing supplies for hygiene, and repair schools and other buildings to clean condition.
According to Ellie Perez, the organization’s president and a senior studying biology at FGCU, D.R.O.P.’s mission statement is “education to power,” which goes hand-in-hand with their objective during their ten days trip in the Dominican Republic.
Their fall fiesta consisted of an itinerary of free food, live performances of salseros and poetry by the president of FGCU’s poetry club, Poetree.
Afterwards, raffles were drawn with students winning various prizes: Eaglepalooza tickets, gift cards for free dinner or to a movie theatre, press-on nails, Beats by Dre headphones and shirts.
The fiesta ended with an open dance floor lasting into the next hour.
The organization has similar raffle prizes often, so there are other chances to land a jackpot win.
D.R.O.P. is not only a charitable organization but it is also full of very diverse and welcoming members.
Seeka Agama, the secretary and a sophomore in pre-nursing at FGCU, said that “[D.R.O.P.] is like a family and everyone who’s a part of it really wants to be a part of it.”
“I love D.R.O.P.,” Eliven Cruz, the outreach coordinator, legal studies and political science senior said. “This was one of the first organizations I experienced on campus where I feel like I belong, like I’m not out of place. We’re all like-minded individuals [here] and on top of that, I love how diverse it is. Because […] we do have a lot of students here of Latin or Creole origin and I really love that and just, like, being introduced to the Haitian culture.”
As a collected agreement by the officers, becoming a part of the organization and traveling to the Dominican Republic has been a life-changing experience for the better.
“Last year was my first trip and it opened my mind,” Adrian Urquiola, D.R.O.P. treasurer said. “[In the society we currently live] we see things and we take it for granted. While there [where D.R.O.P. visited in the Dominican Republic], those kids will play with anything, have fun with anything, and in their place I would be like ‘this is awful.’ But they’re having fun.”
Rene Dejerano, the vice president of D.R.O.P., agrees with Urquiola.
“I have family in Cuba and I have little cousins over there,” Dejerano said. “When I joined this organization, I realized there were a lot of other places in the world with the same problem that my family has at home. It helped me realize that even when we go for ten days we make a huge impact.”
D.R.O.P. regularly partners with local service-based events and fundraisers that open up a lot of alternative opportunities for students.
In the near future, they plan to volunteer at local high schools, partner with food banks and with a youth detention center. All in all, the organization has provided a lasting impact that will for surely stay with these members for the remainder of their lives.
“DROP has changed me in the sense that it made me love myself more,” Perez said. “A small example is before going on the trip, I could never be seen without makeup. But now, when I go there, I realize how unimportant that is, and I’m like ‘I don’t even care anymore.’ It isn’t about the superficial things; it goes deeper than that. So, it shows me to be me, and how to love myself more and be more appreciative with what I have around me.”
D.R.O.P. meets every Mon- day from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. in Merwin Hall 103.
They can be reached at drop. [email protected]