Multi-purpose Sports Court for School and Community

  • Community Growth
  • Youth
  • Dominican Republic
This project is led by Anne Waldoch, a Volunteer from Illinois

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This project comprises the construction of a multi-purpose court in a small, deprived community in the northwest region of the Dominican Republic. The community will join forces with an NGO, a US-based non-profit organization, to build a gender-inclusive court that will undeniably provide what its concerned citizens are seeking. A court is a healthy diversion from the struggles youth in this area typically face: domestic violence, theft, high teen pregnancy rates, alcoholism, and drug use. Additionally, the availability of a court during the school day will expand the variety of sports the children learn to play. The Physical Education teacher and Peace Corps Volunteer will plan activities that combine sports and information regarding healthy decision-making. An example is during halftime of a basketball game, the P.E. teacher can provide a healthy snack and talk about the importance of a balanced diet. Through this project, community members will advance important skills: leadership, fundraising, money management, project maintenance, and intercultural knowledge. Additionally, these citizens will contribute to the construction of a recreational area for generations to come. The community has already donated land, labor, equipment, and some supplies needed for the project. Local leaders, a contractor, teachers, parents, young adults, and students are committed to contribute time and resources towards the completion of this project. The community is prepared to host a NGO team and is enthusiastic to experience such a constructive exchange of culture.

Several community leaders have been the driving force behind the NGO project: president of the Culture and Sports group, school staff (principal, coordinator, psychologist, teachers, etc.), presidents of neighborhood committees, and the president of the PTA. Moreover, the desire to have a court in the community is eagerly expressed by parents, grandparents, and children alike. Many young adults in the community (ages 17-25) have agreed to donate their time and labor to the construction of this court. “The work,” they say, “will contribute to a safer community and healthier opportunities for the children.” The town agrees that a court will address issues of increasing delinquency and lack of safe, fun areas for local youth.  

Edward is the president of the community group in addition to the Physical Education teacher at the school. A native to the community and an advocate for sustainable programs, he was the first to approach the Peace Corps Volunteer (PCV) to discuss the process of constructing a court. Together, they have visited homes in the community to discuss the project and ways in which community members can become involved in the process. 

The town has put together three committees to dedicate their time and knowledge to the construction of the court: food committee, culture committee, and court committee. The months following the construction project, the court and culture committees will continue to reunite to discuss activities and ideas to ensure the court’s use is sustainable. Individuals who have already pledged their time and resources to these courts include: a contractor, strong citizens who will volunteer labor, cultural group which will plan activities with the NGO group, a bus driver who offered to transport the NGO group to/from the airport for a discounted price, and a group of mothers who will cook for the NGO group in the school’s kitchen.  The “Equipo de la Cancha” will host several meetings open to the public over the course of the year to plan and organize the construction of the court and discuss different ways it can positively influence the community. It is of the utmost importance to community members they not only contribute time and resources to the project, but they are prepared to host a group of dedicated foreigners for seven days. 

Daily, the school will use this court. Not only during physical education, but also during recess and teacher-led activities. The court committee has agreed it is important to compile rules that list safe and respectful ways to treat the court and its participants. Teachers and school staff have agreed to reinforce these rules each time before they use the court. Before moving to the community, one of the teachers played competitive volleyball. She has already volunteered to start an after-school volleyball club. Additionally, a few young mothers asked the PCV to start a yoga group. They will learn yoga prior to the construction of the court and plan to lead a yoga group in the mornings before school. The court will welcome marginalized groups such as women and children. It is clear through the dedication and hard work of soliciting for a court, hosting a group of foreigners, fundraising, and donating that the community has done/will do that they will continue to work together long after it is built to maintain its quality and use. Additionally, three essential community leaders agree to oversee the sustainability and treatment of the court: the president of the neighborhood committee, Bobito (town safety and security man), and Edward (school P.E. teacher).

Community Contributions
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