FGCU Dominican Outreach Program to host party as fall fundraising event

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For $5 or a donation of school supplies, sports equipment, clothes or hygiene products, FGCU students can attend the Dominican Republic Outreach Program’s fifth annual Fall Fiesta.
The fiesta will take place from 4 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 30 in the Cohen Center Ballroom B. It will involve dancing, food, prizes, a raffle and an Instagram contest.
Every spring, members of DROP spend 10 days in the Dominican Republic volunteering with children there who work in the streets. All donations received at the fiesta will go to these children.
This spring will be the fourth time DROP President Tatiana Rodriguez has participated in the trip.
“There’s a reason this is my fourth year,” Rodriguez said. “DROP has a special place in my heart.”
During the trip, members of DROP partner with a nonprofit organization called Acción Callejera or Street Action, and schedule activities with local kids. Each year, there is a different theme to the activities.
“Last year, the theme was self-esteem and empowerment,” Rodriguez said. “We helped them do a mural showing the importance of education and helped them draw something on the wall that represents them. We also brought them supplies to do an educational skit.”
Other children had to guess what the skits, which were performed silently, were about. The skits had different themes, including family, race, gender, stealing and drugs.
“These are things they might deal with every day,” Rodriguez said.
Although the trip to the Dominican Republic is one of DROP’s main service events, it has branched out into a mentoring program under the advisement of Katrina Gunnels, service-learning coordinator.
Gunnels, who is also an intervention specialist at South Fort Myers High School, founded a mentoring program that pairs volunteers up with high school students who might be struggling academically or behaviorally. The program allows FGCU students to encourage these struggling students to graduate from high school.
Rodriguez would like to encourage any interested students to come to DROP meetings, which are held from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Wednesdays in Merwin room 102. Applications to travel with DROP to the Dominican Republic this spring will open Oct. 6 and are due by Nov. 6. Students who would like to learn more about the mentorship program can contact Gunnels at [email protected]
DROP will be selling tickets from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sept. 23 through Sept. 30 on the Library Lawn and in the breezeway near Howard Hall.
Students who buy tickets with friends will receive a discounted price. Two students who buy tickets together can purchase both for a total of $8; three students can purchase them for a total of $12; and four can buy tickets for $15.