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July 2016 Newsletter

WWW.GOSPELMUSICFESTIVALS.COM


Howdy Folks; Let me state that I am the "Proud and Loving" Grandpa to this Beautiful Young Lady. I strongly feel that with her University courses and the degree that she is pursuing, Courtney has found her niche. Be  Blessed -  Luv  G P O

This Month's Featured Writer
"Courtney Myers"

Today, we woke up, had breakfast and headed over to SJPS to start our day in school. Once I walked into the first grade, I was called over by a young boy named Cristopher that I had been working with the past few days. His teacher told me that he showed up at school one day and no one knew who he was. He wouldn’t tell anyone his name so they have since called him Christopher. This was one of the many children of Monte Cristi who amazed me. On day one, I sat next to him and he was discouraged. He wanted nothing to do with the English class and I could not get him to participate at all. But by the fourth day of teaching, he called me over as soon as I walked into the classroom “Teacher! Teacher!” and I was blown away with his progress. He was participating more than I ever thought he would. He was happy and excited to see me and to learn about English and it took a piece of my heart knowing that I had a small part in that. This was one of the many connections that will not be forgotten.
When we got to the 4th grade (my class) on the first day, they were rowdy. Many of the children were getting in trouble and misbehaving. Corporal punishment is still legal in the Dominican Republic which made it hard to see the children being punished. However, by the third day, we were able to gain the children’s respect and they were listening and participating in our lessons with excitement. Many children showed unbelievable progress in learning as the week went on and I would like to point out a young boy in the 5th grade. On the first day, he wanted nothing to do with class. He was eating glue and playing with a doll- smacking it and pretending to pull out its hair. This was hard for me to see as his actions may be things that are considered “normal” for him, his family, and his friends. However, by the third day, he was excited. He was signing with the class and raising his hand. He even got discouraged when he didn’t get picked to participate. It shocked me in the most amazing way to see a child be so inattentive and in just a few days, become so involved in the classroom that he didn’t even seem like the same child.
Next, I would like to share about a young woman named Jasmine. Jasmine was dropped off at the Outreach360 orphanage when she was 5 months old and stayed until she was 18. She moved out and married a man whom with which they had 2 children together. Outreach260 allows her to come sell bracelets to the Outreach360 volunteers in order to make money to go to college. She is currently working at a bank but has hopes to go to college to become an English teacher. Before I left for this trip, my church and community raised so much money for me that I was able to bring $200.00 (American) down to the Dominican with me. While I was down there, if I saw a need, I would use that money to meet that need. As soon as I met Jasmine, I knew I had to give her the money. I approached her and told her my story and she was so thankful that I chose to give her the money as she was trying to pay her rent and that money went towards helping her and her family afford to stay in their house.
Our last day at SJPS, was lucky enough to fall on “national student day” in the Dominican Republic. This meant that we had a full recess all afternoon with no classes. We were able to interact with the children for hours and it was unbelievable. They children were so happy and so excited to get to interact with the volunteers and the volunteers were even more excited to play with the kids. When the time came to say goodbye to the staff and students of SJPS, all the volunteers didn’t want to leave. The connections that everyone had made with the students were life changing. As we were leaving, all the students were walking home and one student in the second grade that I had been helping all week ran across the road and threw his arms around me. It broke my heart to have to say goodbye to these children and thinking about it still to this day, tears my heart in two. To quote Dr. Seuss “Don’t be sad because it’s over, smile because it happened”. This is something that I have to tell myself on a daily basis. This experience changed my life for the better. Myself, and my fellow volunteers were in Monte Cristi for 1 week and to think about the impact we had on the community takes my breath away.

Courtney Myers

Link to my blog: http://courtneymyers16.wix.com/backroadstoatlantic

Please  Note:  Part 2 of 3.  May-July-Sept. Issues


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Be a Featured Writer!

If you’d like to contribute an article, about your faith, your music, or a story that would inspire, and have it featured in an upcoming newsletter, please send your article, 1000 words or less, to:
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