Archives for category: Santiago

Recrear Participación is an interactive workshop providing young people with the tools to develop their ideas and passion into sustainable community projects. Recrear Participación was piloted between July 10th and July 25th, 2011 in two, separate, week-long workshops in the Dominican Republic in Esperanza and Santiago.  Recrear Participación encourages participants to engage more pro-actively with their community and to think critically about their communitys challenges while exploring innovative ways to address them. Interested in how the workshops went? We invite you to read our final report!

RecrearParticipacion has been a dense and powerful learning experience for us. We found it really hard to sum up our wonderful time in the DR and we thought pictures could help – so here is our attempt. 

Kevin in the Batey

Lead by the children of the Batey Libertad Community in Esperanza, we were shown around the community from the homes, football pitch, crop fields, latrines and communal meet areas. We grew to deeply appreciate the hospitality shown by the families there.

Batey Tour

This picture was taken during our first visit of Batey Libertad. After a tour of the rice field we stopped for some story telling and to lower the motoconchos-generated adrenaline. We were able to chat with some of the young adults in the community and to understand more about their life, challenges and habits.


Cherie, also known as the great escape artist, was more often than not a mess maker. Yet despite the attention she demanded we could not imagine the Esperanza home without her. She was in many ways an equally important part of the honorary Recrear-Yspaniola team.

Project Planning

Even the simplest of exercises bring about paramount discussions, and this exercise on identifying objectives was no exception. Through a process of brainstorming, voting and coalescing of similar ideas – groups reached an exciting consensus.  With the project objectives and strategies in mind, each group moves towards the more challenging task of placing those initiatives on a 6 month time line.

Our night out dancing at Batey Libertad

This picture was taken during an unforgettable night out dancing at Batey Libartad. After a long dinner and some good Dominican Coffee at the Yspaniola house, we rode on motoconchos and were welcomed by the warmth of the Batey community. The second ‘dance floor’ for the night was in a dark alley. A car drove up as I was pushing my camera’s ISO in an attempt to capture the energy of the night – this is what came out of it. 

Mario and Luis doing the SWOT

Mario and Luis brainstorming on an exercise to develop their project, Fútbol para el Futuro, ‘Football for the Future’. After having agreed on the project’s objective, the SWOT helped identifying the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of their project idea. Mario and Luis informally organize football games in their communities in Batey Libertad and Esperanza. During Recrear Participacion they had the opportunity to work together and discuss how to coordinate their efforts and utilize football as a means of integrating their two communities.

Fútbol para el Futuro

In Esperanza we worked with two teams developing proposals focused respectively on music and football as empowerment and community building tools. In this photo the Fútbol para el Futuro team just completed an exercise to define their 3 objectives and is showcasing its work.

Football for the Future

The sports development group took their idea to the streets as the team warmed up, stretched and ran together.


A group of participants sticks around the Yspaniola house after session for a domino tournament.  During our time in Esperanza we learned that Domino is not a joke. To play it right it requires a balance between concentration, intensity and silliness. There is no small talking involved, but the silence is broken by the sound of dominos hitting the table.

Recrear Participacion Santiago

This picture gives a good sense of the vibe in the air during our workshop in Santiago. The group was energetic and ambitious. We worked in an overcrowded space and sweat a lot, but the room was always filled with positive energy and lots of engaging discussions.

Exercise in Santiago

An exercise centered around the importance of communication and goal setting energizes the Santiago group in the middle of Parque Duarte. The game was a fun way to get each group thinking practically about their capacity to realize their goal.

A remarkable group of individuals whom inspire through their committed work with the Batey community in Esperanza. Their generous hospitality and willingness to share their world with us allowed for Recrear’s project delivery to be that much more powerful.

While in Santiago, we stayed with a host family of our close friend, Eric.  Eric is a Dominican, studying Music Therapy in New Orleans at Loyola University with his colleague Alex Legges.   These guys were doing such amazing work around the city, outside of our work in Recrear, that we asked them to come do a short activity with our work group.  This video is the testament to their ability to connect individuals through the art of music.  We look forward to working with them in the future through our New Orleans local chapter.

-Kevin Potter

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Above you will find a slide show of some of my favorites while the staff enjoyed our arrival in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

For the complete collection, please visit our full gallery on Flickr.

-Kevin Potter

The Recrear team has safely landed in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic as of yesterday and while we enjoyed our day of travel through the country to Santiago, the continued work for the NOLA chapter alongside the preparation for RecrearParticipacion will keep us focused during our short stay.

As we sit around the family table with a fresh cup of Dominican coffee, laptops dominate the space as the sound of keystrokes compliment the chords of a local guitarist (our host, Eric Rodriguez).  The three members of Recrear are lucky to have this opportunity to be in the DR, but we are not alone.  Eric, and his colleague, Alex, from Loyola University New Orleans are also here in Eric’s hometown doing their own workshop on music therapy(more on them on a future blog).  It is today, everyone’s first collaboration day that we,  five aspiring youth, are setting the tone for the next few weeks of our lives here in Republica Dominicana.

Our project, RecrearParticipacion, has been a development in its own right over months of preparation since it was inspired during Recrear-Apply! in Nablus, West Bank.  Basically, what the international chapter has noticed in our first year of operation is while our ability to launch projects has been successful, the projects we have launched have been developed internally.  Since our ultimate goal as an organization is to be a platform for youth to launch their own community development projects, we have been working on “Participacion” to become our signature project; with the sole aim of inspiring youth (external to our membership) to access our network for their own ideas to be realized.

The actual RecrearParticipacion project is still in the pilot stage while we are in the DR but we have been afforded the time to actually work with two different groups of students to refine our strategies and implement the project in a very uniform manner for global application.   The first group we work with is from the Yspaniola Office in Esperanza, DR.  We will meet their staff and volunteers tomorrow and then start our series of workshops on Wednesday the 13th.

When Participation was originally conceptualize, we envisioned an eight day interactive training series.  Unfortunately, our time with our main contact, Yspaniola, was less than a week so we have been reorganizing to frame the project in a more compact manner.  This has proved extremely challenging to fit eight days into four (fifteen workshop hours total), but a bonus is that we then had a second week free to partner with another target group and implement the project back-to-back.

After a week in Esperanza, we will return to Santiago to work at UTESA (UNIVERSIDAD TECNOLOGICA DE SANTIAGO) to deliver the second round of “Participacion”. And finally, as a recap and method to further develop our local network, we will visit the Dream Project in Carbarete.

I really hope that you will continue to follow this endeavor in these amazing cities and comment when you feel inspired to do so.  Also check out the links to our partner organizations here (included where applicable) and of course – share the link to this blog with your friends.

Hasta luego, Kevin Potter