Christmas in May
SANTA FE, N.M.– Last May, the students at the Adventist Academy of Santa Fe (AASF) participated in a unique virtual experience with Las Palmas Children’s Village in the Dominican Republic. AASF partnered with Global Health N.E.E.D.S., a nonprofit based in Riverside, Calif., and International Child Care (ICC), which facilitated connecting them with the Adventist orphanage and made it possible to participate in the mission project. The “virtual mission trip” involved starting a school garden and interacting with Las Palmas through sharing videos, writing letters and providing school supplies/gifts.
AASF students had fun writing letters to 40 students from Las Palmas. They also sent gifts that included school supplies, personal items and a check for $1,500 to help with operations of the school and its residential homes. After receiving the gifts and letters, the Las Palmas students not only sent “thank you” letters, they also made a video highlighting their lives at Las Palmas.
In addition, the Las Palmas students prepared a special Christmas program video which AASF presented during a “Christmas in May” celebration. AASF students and staff enjoyed a typical Caribbean Christmas lunch and they decorated the room with a Dominican Christmas tree, flags and banners.
The students listened to the Las Palmas children’s choir sing Christmas carols in Spanish and learned about the local customs while eating the delicious Caribbean cuisine. The AASF students expressed that they were reminded how blessed and grateful they are to have their own parents and homes.
Overall, AASF students were thrilled to participate in this experience and have plans to do it again this year. AASF would like to encourage more schools to participate. This is a very inexpensive way to provide students with a positive learning experience, where they broaden their perspective of the world, build relationships and learn about serving others.
By Raian G. Villacruel