Students can experience a night of culture this Friday, Sept. 26 at the fourth annual Fall Fiesta, sponsored by the Dominican Republic Outreach Program.
“We try to make it a very cultural event,” said Tatiana Rodriguez, president of DROP. “We’ll have dance lessons, dance contests and we give out prizes.”
For just a $5 ticket which can be purchased at the door, students can eat, learn to dance and enter a raffle to win gift baskets and gift cards from local restaurants.
The money from ticket sales will be used to purchase school supplies, clothing and sports equipment. Members of DROP will take these items to the Dominican Republic over spring break, and volunteer there with an organization called “Acción Callejera” or “Street Action.”
“Street Action is a well-known nonprofit in South America that helps children who live on the streets,” Rodriguez said. The group helps at-risk children, from those working in the streets shining shoes and selling cell phone cases to those who live in the streets and are addicted to drugs.
“Each year there’s a theme – last year it was ‘what do you want to be when you grow up?’ We do educational activities. Since the boys are very hyper, a lot of the activities have to do with sports.”
Last year, the DROP group had boys pick what they want to be when they grow up and then play basketball. The DROP member would write a list of steps to achieve that goal, and give one step to the boy each time he made a basket. At the end of the game, each boy had the steps he needs to work toward his goal.
“Usually we work with boys,” Rodriguez said. “Because they are the ones found in the streets. The girls there stay at home and take care of things but the boys work to get money.”
Last year, the group was able to bring $6,000 worth of donations to the Dominican Republic, including baseball helmets, gloves and shirts from the Miami Marlins.
“Hopefully this year the events we put on are even more successful than last year,” Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez isn’t just hoping for donations and fundraising from the fiesta, however. Two years ago, buying a ticket for the fiesta was what encouraged her to join the club. “I approached the table to ask what the event was about and I just thought it was an interesting club. I went to the informational meeting, and I was too embarrassed to even raise my hand.”
Now, Rodriguez would like to encourage anybody interested in DROP to join.
“We get super excited when we get new people,” Rodriguez said. The club picks members who go on the trip to the Dominican Republic through a point system. Points are earned through participation in meetings and events, so students who want to travel to the Dominican Republic should join sooner rather than later.
DROP meets from 5:30 – 7 p.m. every Wednesday in Marieb 214, and can be contacted through [email protected], or through Twitter and Instagram at DROPfgcu.
The fiesta will take place from 4 – 7 p.m. in Cohen Center room 214.