I would first like to thank all of our Fanatics who donated to make this Education Conference possible! We literally couldn't have done this for all our kids without you! We have said from the beginning that Gifts of Grace belongs to God, it belongs to the kids, and it belongs to you! The Gifts of Grace Dominican Education Conference brings in some of the poorest children in Santo Domingo (ages 5-17). Some of these kids have never been school, can't read, and are prime targets of those seeking to exploit them for child labor or sex tourism.
Along with the 60 kids we were able to help last year, we were able to add an additional 15 this year! The topics of the education conference include health, warnings of human traffickers, information on how to be successful in school, school supplies, in some cases tuition, mentors from the community, importance of faith, and the benefits of fitness!
A few of the stories coming in from the Dominican Republic are heart-warming and inspiring and we are so proud of these kids! Every once in a while we get a story that absolutely breaks our hearts and those stories will be shared later on but today we celebrate the successes and accomplishments of our staff and these kids in the Dominican Republic.
Meet Darirla, a young girl at the age of 5. Her cousin came home after the first day of the education conference and told her all about it! The next day she put on her nicest clothes and attended the conference, as well! While too young to attend school this year, we were able to supply her with brand new writing and coloring utensils and will be able to watch her progress in school. It is because of YOUR donations that we were able to do this for her!
Along with that story comes this home. Meet Hillary and Emily. Two young girls who, two years ago were approached by a man who offered them "modeling jobs." Their mother declined but this man has been a regular in this neighborhood over the last few years. These two young girls have never been to school and don't know to read and thus are PRIME targets for those seeking to exploit them. This picture was taken right after they were enrolled in school, and given brand new school supplies including these brand new backpacks! Gifts of Grace fights to give these kids a brighter future and a life free of exploitation. Those faces are the faces of a childhood free of exploitation and potential for the future.
Big things are coming to Gifts of Grace! Our official 501(c)(3) status is less than a month away and with our growth comes new opportunities to prevent child exploitation in the Dominican Republic. We ask for your prayers and your future support as we serve the children in the Dominican Republic. WE WONT LET THE DOMINICAN CHILDREN BE EXPLOITED!
A special thanks to our parters at Fundacion Alabcom Divina Hermandad for helping us put on the conference!