This month, JetBlue and DREAM traveled to the National School for the Deaf and Mute in Santiago and Patria Mella Elementary School in Santo Domingo East, facilitating educational workshops and a cultural exchange; getting to know students. JetBlue crewmembers in attendance donated laptops, inverters, batteries, air conditioning units, travel certificate tickets and books from the airline’s Soar with Reading program (www.soarwithreading.com). The two schools were chosen by JetBlue crewmembers from both Santiago and Santo Domingo, who live and work in and come from the same communities as the students. The team had a great experience speaking to the youth about their careers at JetBlue and the path that led them from school to the DR’s most popular airline.
JetBlue and partner organization DREAM share the belief that long lasting, sustainable change can only be accomplished through investing in the most valuable resource in the Dominican Republic: its youth and their education.
JetBlue and DREAM collaborated for the fourth consecutive year, bringing together crewmembers and JetBlue business partners, leaders from the airline, and local schools for a day of service, fun and appreciation. In addition, JetBlue will also distribute travel certificate tickets to four other partner schools in Santo Domingo, San Jose de Los Matos, Puerto Plata and Samana.
The Director of the National School for the Deaf and Mute, Delfina Hidalgo, explained the profound impact of the event: “Our students are almost all from marginalized backgrounds and are constantly facing challenges with their disabilities. The country simply does not have the resources to provide high quality education for them, so we survive with contributions like these and support from responsible people that recognize that a community defines itself by how it protects their most vulnerable members. JetBlue and DREAM have shown that if we all just get involved and play a part, we can take care of all of those vulnerable youth in need.”
After a fun morning of workshops, DREAM Development Director Jonathan Wunderlich stressed the need for more companies operating in the Dominican Republic to embrace this model, supporting the public education system and doing their part. “It is such an honor to partner with JetBlue and to work with these amazing kids. We lined them up in rows with our JetBlue crewmembers, handed out wings, delivered snacks and pretended we were taking off in a plane. We ran activities that teach them about the Dominican Republic, the world around them and each other. After ten minutes, they were all laughing and eager to share their story. The supply donation is a critical need for these schools, but the exchange with the kids and their connection with Dominican JetBlue crewmembers who used to sit in the same seats in the same classrooms, that is the real community connection.”