Finding Our Flow…

Programs for this blog post

Leadership & Service in Youth Development

Authored By:

Sheila Zarzuela

    Tuesday was our first day being introduced to our NGO, Accion Callejera, an organization focused on improving and developing the lives of children on the street. We were welcomed by a handful of curious and bright-eyed children. In orientation, we were informed of the services the NGO provides to the children, such as psychological support, dental assistance, and nutritional guidance to assure the children’s well-being as they maneuver life without familial help. It was saddening to hear the situations of abuse and neglect that the majority of the children suffer from in their lives, but heart-warming and reassuring to witness the ways that Accion Callejera was providing a “safety blanket” for them.

    When we began playing games with some of the children at the NGO, you could feel that they were genuinely joyful, which showed that the NGO was successful in their pursuits. Not only were the games fun, but they introduced us to the children in an interactive way and aided us in finding our flow as a Youth Mentoring Unit. The task of youth upliftment seems much easier when you have an understanding of the goal and strong connection with your team members.

    The following day we approached the children of Cien Fuegos, an impoverished community of West Santiago, with a sense of preparedness and positive mindsets. We didn’t know what to expect, but with our unity we knew that we would make a lasting impact on the children. The kids were full of energy and very inviting when we played the interactive game “bebé, mochila, y camarote,” where we had to enact a baby, backpack, or bunk bed depending on the command during a musical pause. This was surely an icebreaker and a way to share many laughs together.

    We ended this day with a culturally-immersive experience at Centro Leon museum. They helped us gain deeper insights into the historical influences on Dominican culture and modern-day life. This helped us tie together some of our initial observations in the Dominican Republic by learning about the origins of the country. Finding our fit into a new culture can be a major challenge…but it forces us to step outside of our comfort zone and build trust with the beings who are sharing the experience.

By Kokayi y Sheila