Worcester, Mass. – For the second straight winter break Clark University has partnered with a service organization to send a contingent of student-athletes on an international service learning trip. Known as CAST (Clark Athletics Service Trip), 11 student-athletes along with an advisor and representatives from Service For Peace will travel to El Cidral, Dominican Republic on January 2.
The student-athletes taking part in this year’s endeavor are Courtney Pharr (Seattle, Wash.), Mia Cattaneo (Santa Barbara, Calif.), Nikki Feinberg (San Antonio, Texas), Kara Fischer (Belmont, Mass.), Taylor Johnson (Ledyard, Conn.), Rebecca Kravetz (Wayland, Mass.), Gabby Paolini (North Potomac, Md.), Alistair Richardson (Tolland, Conn.), Emily Seibring (Arlington, Mass.), Michael Spanos (Waterford, Conn.) and Brooke Wilson (Fairbanks, Alaska).
“I am thrilled that the Clark Athletics Service-Learning Trip (CAST) is happening again,” said Pharr, who was a part of the first trip in 2014 that helped teach sports to the children of Loma Linda, Guatemala. “This will be a life-changing and eye-opening experience for all of the student-athletes.”
The group will spend nine days working with community members to finish building a schoolroom in El Cidral.
El Cidral is a peaceful and unified community located in a valley nestled in the mountains of Villa Altagracia County within the province of San Cristobal, just 45 minutes northwest of the capital city limits of Santo Domingo.
The town is comprised of four smaller communities of hamlets: La Represa, El Cidral, Barrio Chino and Cambustera. Together, the four communities that form El Cidral are very much focused on the welfare and education of their children, and thus focus many of their development initiatives on the elementary school.
Most residents are employed seasonally in agriculture and a high percentage rely on remittances from family members abroad. El Cidral has big plans for the future, and has a vision for its community as a regional center for social services, wellbeing, and community empowerment.
Service For Peace involves volunteers in ongoing community development programs throughout the world. Their programs are designed to further the growth and development of individuals and communities through the shared experience of voluntary service.
“One of our Service For Peace objectives is to foster social entrepreneurs and leaders that will find solutions to needs being faced by communities across the globe,” said Joan Mateo, the Executive Director for Service For Peace.
They work to bring lasting, substantial change to a community while also developing the capacity of all participants to be agents of positive change throughout their lives. They have two central themes: community development and personal development.
“This is such a wonderful opportunity that Clark has given to its student-athletes,” said Pharr, “and I am sure it will impact our lives in more ways than we can imagine.”