I had no idea the impact it would have on my life the first day I stepped foot onto the 2nd Mile Missions campus in the Dominican Republic. This place was like no other place I’d ever been too. On the other side of the gate and the coral, barb-wired walls was a whole other world. A world struck by poverty in every way. 2nd Mile is a bright light in the midst of darkness.
The 2nd Mile Education Center was bustling with teachers, and kids! Kids playing at recess, kids receiving potentially the only meal they would eat that day, kids in the classrooms. KIDS…everywhere! Smiling, staring, laughing and giving the BEST hugs. I had heard heartbreaking stories of many of their behind the scenes day to day realities just outside the school walls. Looking at them within the safety of the school gates, I couldn’t even fathom the reality of their circumstances.
At one time, there was no place for these kids to go, let alone receive a quality education. They were left to fend for themselves as parents went to work or tried finding jobs to provide for their families. Education in the Dominican Republic is a huge expense that most families in the area of Bavaro and Monte Verde, the Haitian village, cannot afford. There was a huge need…and there still is. Thus, the 2nd Mile Education Center and the student sponsorship program through 2nd Mile Missions was birthed.
The 2nd Mile Education Center is currently educating about 800 students. Nearly 400 of those students are sponsored. Unfortunately, there are still thousands of kids in the area receiving NO education. These kids need a safe place where they can go during the day. They need a good, quality education and be able to experience structure in a safe environment. Without an education, they are stuck in the cycle of poverty.
But there is HOPE!
After that first trip, I knew I wanted to sponsor a student. Fortunately, I’ve had the opportunity to sponsor Ahbranli for the past five years. I’ve been able to sit and visit with him, play at recess and help in his classroom. This past fall, while I was there, he brought some photos that I had given him a long time ago. He wanted me to know that he keeps them in his house and has them hanging on his wall. This was a treasured moment I’ll never forget.
Know that your gift of sponsorship, no matter how long, has an everlasting impact on these kids. Pray for them, send them letters and pictures. These things they will remember and treasure for a lifetime. They understand what you are doing for them and they are grateful. Many times, because of circumstances out of their control, students will quit school. This grieves our hearts and the hearts of our sponsors but It also gives sponsors an opportunity to support and encourage another child in need. The time that we have each student, is a time treasured. No matter how long we have with a child, sponsorship is a gift that leaves an imprint on the hearts of us all.
Please check out our website for how you can get involved and make a difference in the life of a child through our sponsorship program.
By Carissa Metzger
Director of Engagement
2nd Mile Missions