UCCS Honors Program Travels!
As an honors program, we believe in the importance of international travel. Students increase the breadth of their cultural knowledge when they travel abroad. UCCS Honors has sponsored several trips in the past which include China, Spain, Turkey, and Greece. EF Educational Tours, Inc. is the tour company that UCCS Honors uses for international trips. The trip fee through EF includes: round trip airfare, all ground transportation, hotel stays, most meals, an in-country tour guide, and students can purchase insurance through EF if necessary. The UCCS Honors Program works with EF because of the ease of planning and its "all-inclusive" nature, but EF also institutes academic learning in their tours through the in-country tour guide and the historic sites visited. UCCS works with participating travelers to review university policies and safety measures.
The Children of Cabarete
Imagine living in a modest home of cement bricks, a tin roof, and a dirt or cement floor. Picture life without consistent running water and frequent power outages. Imagine not having access to quality drinking water, education, sanitation, or medical care. Imagine working as a taxi driver or a construction worker struggling to feed your children. Sadly, this is the day-to-day reality for most of the Haitian and Dominican men, women, and children who live in abject and extreme poverty in the Dominican Republic. Many are frustrated by their daily reality and ashamed of their living conditions.
How do we end generational poverty? “One girl at a time,” is how the Mariposa Foundation responds. They are committed to personalized education for girls and their families because they realize that women are the hard-working pillars of Dominican society and their empowerment is necessary to lift poor communities out of abject poverty. The Mariposa Foundation’s stance on student retention is “whatever it takes”: individualized tutoring, monthly home visits, family involvement, or even material assistance, if needed. Their priority is getting entire families involved in encouraging girls to prioritize education and get excited about their futures.
By choosing to participate in a community service project, you will have access to a side of the community not seen by traditional visitors. Plunging into a world outside of the classroom, you will see, hear, touch, smell, and feel things that you have never known before. Furthermore, when you choose to participate in our service-learning tours, you will leave knowing that you have touched a life and made a difference. Many of the service projects that student groups complete involve physical labor such as painting homes, remodeling schools, building playgrounds, creating educational materials, or helping bring in the harvest.
While there is much intrinsic value in the projects themselves, the improved self-esteem of a woman with a newly painted home and the cross-cultural exchange between the visitors and their hosts are benefits that will last a lifetime. Our desire is to help others to help themselves and the confidence and pride that result from the physical improvements we make to the homes of community members lead to them taking a more active role in their community.
‘Be The Change’ is an introductory service program for students who want to learn about the fundamentals of community outreach initiatives and Dominican culture. In addition, this program incorporates mindfulness exercises that are designed to calm student’s minds in preparation for the day’s full schedule and help them focus on the richness of its content.
The Mariposa Foundation’s home is Cabarete: a hip coastal village just 25 minutes east of the Gregorio Luperón International Airport in Puerto Plata. Cabarete is popular among the adventurous because of its beaches’ suitability for aquatic sports, its world famous annual jazz festival, and its eclectic collection of international bars, cafes, restaurants, and shops. This town is the kite boarding and wind sports capital of the world, thanks to its warm waters and consistently strong winds.
If you would like more information about the 2014 service-learning trip or if you wish to sign up for the trip, please click HERE.