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Transforming Volunteers

In addition to transforming communities, SFP is equally interested in the transformation of both the individuals who participate in our programs and the residents of the communities in which we work. We want them to develop a sense of caring and responsibility for others, confidence in their own ability to make a difference in their communities, and an ability to work together with people from different backgrounds to their own. We do this by engaging diverse groups of volunteers in direct experiences of positive, meaningful change; providing opportunities for discussing and reflecting on their experience; and presenting this service project in the context of a sustainable plan for the continued development of the host community.

Volunteers who visit our partner communities in the Dominican Republic learn about community development and contribute to projects that have been identified by the local community council. Volunteers live in their host community, spending their time volunteering and learning side by side with community members. This intentionally immersive experience is designed to expose volunteers to the process of long-term community development as told by their hosts, and it also empowers international cooperation and friendship.

One of the most significant impacts of our programs is that volunteers leave with a genuine understanding of the importance of discarding the traditional view of developing nation residents as victims. Volunteers are transformed by a number of things during our programs, but repeatedly reflect that their interactions with community partners completely change their understanding of international aid, identity, and purpose.