Fashion show to raise money for Dominican school

Andrew
Andrew Wagstaff
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AMHERST Those who support Tuesday nights fashion show at the Knights of Columbus Hall may never meet the students at Integracion Juvenil school in the Dominican Republic, but they will make a difference in their lives.

Fashion show to raise money for Dominican school

AMHERST Those who support Tuesday nights fashion show at the Knights of Columbus Hall may never meet the students at Integracion Juvenil school in the Dominican Republic, but they will make a difference in their lives.

The event is being held as a fundraiser for the Puerto Plata school, which teaches manual arts for children that have come off the street and are not ready to integrate into a regular classroom setting yet. Local resident Holly Martin has been helping the school since she first discovered it on a vacation there five years ago.

I wanted to get off the resort and see how the real people lived, she said.

I wanted to go to an orphanage, and contacted a newspaper there over the Internet. They told me about this school.

Started privately, the Integracion Juvenil is not visited on any safari trips by tourists, and does not receive any extra funding to keep going. Its students range in age from six to 14, and are referred to the school by police who pick them up off the street for begging and prostituting, according to Martin.

The school teaches them visual arts until the students are ready to join the regular school system, she explained.

On her first visit, she said she was surprised with what she found there.

I was amazed at how they can get by with very little, and amazed at the discipline of the kids in the school, said Martin. An adult walks into the class room, and the kids all jump to attention by their seats, until an adult tells them they can sit down. It was a total shock for me.

She was also shocked to discover that the students walk to and from school barefoot, carrying their shoes, to make them last longer and able to be passed on to others.

During her first trip, Martin took mainly clothing to the school, but over the past five years has taken school supplies, and things needed for their arts programs, such as beads and fabrics.

In the past, she has gathered the things herself and collected items donated by her co-workers at the local Family and Childrens Services office. But, with conditions being extra hard in the past year, she decided to this year hold a fundraiser. Sharons Closet has donated clothing for the fashion show, and Dick Bristol has provided equipment for sound and lights during the show.

Money raised will be used to buy extra goods, and to go as a direct cash donation to the school, which she will visit this year on Feb. 4.



Organizations: Integracion Juvenil school, Dominican Republic, Puerto Plata school Family and Childrens Services

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  • Darlene
    January 18, 2010 - 10:48

    Congrats Holly on the work you continue to do ... it does make a difference!

  • Grahame
    January 18, 2010 - 10:45

    Bless you for your work in helping Integracion Juvenil Holly. Please make contact when you are down in early Feb. Dona Rosa, Yudelka, Blas & Patria all know me & will put you in touch.
    ~ Grahame Bush.