Christine Hodges and Benjamin Hindman, 4-H Extension Agents for Alleghany, Bath and Highland Counties; have begun the planning for this year’s 4-H Dominican Republic trip and are looking for interested high school students. Participants will have the opportunity to work with underprivileged children in Punta Cara conducting a day camp, doing community work and learning about the Dominican culture.
The program has been in existence since 2006 and over 50 youth from the Alleghany Highlands have participated in the program. Over the years, teens have provided comments that gave evidence of the valuable learning and sharing experiences they had. One past participant wrote, “the best part of the trip for me was passing on your knowledge to others, being appreciated by the students, putting some happiness in a child’s life – things they will remember for a lifetime.”, and “the most important thing I learned this week about myself was that life is about giving your time to make a difference in someone else’s life! It also made me appreciate things more that we take for granted.” And comments from parents verified the impact the program had. “One thing my son has done differently at home as a result of participating in this program is that he is very gracious, looks for the good in things, recycles more, eats healthier and conserves water a bit more (except in the shower).” Overall, there were many positive comments and the common theme amongst them all was that it was a life-changing experience for everyone involved and that it was well worth the time and effort.
This year’s program will take place during the week of July 25 – August 1, 2023, and is available to youth between the ages of 14-19 years old. The program is a partnership between Alleghany/Bath/Highland County 4-H, Shenandoah County 4-H, and the Punta Cana Ecological Foundation. If you are interested, please contact Alleghany County Extension Office at 540-862-0369 or Bath County Extension Office at 839-7261 or Highland County Extension Office at 468-2225 by April 3rd.