What is the Drew Honduras Project?
The Drew Honduras Project is a totally student-run volunteer program. The Project is run by student board members and advised by a faculty member. The students make the plans, develop community partnerships in Honduras and the Dominican Republic, raise the money, select the participants, organize the pre-trip meetings, plan fund-raising events, manage the budget, monitor conditions in the country we are visiting, arrange the work schedules in country, lead the reflection sessions on the trip, raise all the money (did we mention that?), and generally run around a lot! In the process we refine our leadership and interpersonal skills, organizational strategies, understanding of budgeting, and knowledge of fundraising methods. We apply skills and knowledge we have learned in the classroom and also learn a lot about Honduras and the Dominican Republic–and about ourselves. From selecting group members to developing community partnerships and working on community-selected work projects, we learn about civic engagement in a hands-on manner enhanced by our Drew education. We live the “Drew and Do” credo, and learn what it means to share our knowledge and use our education with the highest of impacts! (See our Mission Statement and Philosophy to learn more)
Why is it called the Drew Honduras Project if you also work in the Dominican Republic?
In 2013 the US State Department Bureau of Consular Affairs issues a Travel Warning urging caution for those traveling to many parts of Honduras, and as a precaution Drew University decided it would be wise for the Drew Honduras Project not to visit (see more here). We were lucky enough to be connected with a children’s home in Bonao, Dominican Republic, and visited for the first time in May 2013. We have returned every year since then, and plan to return again in May 2018, building strong relationships with the place and the children there; however, we remain connected to Honduras and the many people we have met over the years, both directly via the internet and also through monetary donations to the organizations with whom we built partnerships. We would like to return whenever the situation improves, visiting the DR and Honduras in each trip, but until then we plan to continue to support the country and the people who have welcomed us for so long. We generally refer to the organization as DHP, and it has been suggested that we rename ourselves “Drew Humanitarian Project.” Maybe we will. On the other hand, for many of us Honduras has a deep symbolic meaning and the name reflects our indebtedness to all we have learned from Honduras and her people. The work we do in the Dominican Republic mirrors the work we did in Honduras, reminding us that caring about others can and should occur wherever we are . . . a lesson many of us learned in Honduras.
How can I join the DHP?
We select 12-16 participants early in the Fall semester so that they can spend the year fundraising and preparing for the trip the following May. Look for us at the Activities Fair the first week of school, watch email for the invitation to apply, or stop back to this page mid-September for more details about the application process! DHP is about more than just a two week trip abroad though. We work to help our neighbors in the US by participating in local volunteer activities as a group or subgroup, sharing donations with local organizations, visiting local schools and churches to share what we have learned in Honduras and the Dominican Republic, educating Madison residents about the situation in Honduras, and organizing events for the Drew community like the annual Honduran Dinner and faculty appreciation refreshments for College Faculty meetings. Group members also raise the funds for the trip, learning fundraising strategies and the bureaucracy around such activities. We welcome students who are not able to join us on the trip as members, and all are welcome to attend meetings, plan and participate in group activities, and learn about Honduras, the Dominican Republic, civic engagement, fundraising, and team-building.
How can I help the DHP?
If you’d like to help the Drew Honduras Project, there are a number of things we need, but the thing we need the most is money. It costs about $1,000 to send each student on the trip (for airfare, accommodation, food, materials for the work projects, and donations to the children’s homes and groups we work with), and now we also collect money to send to our community partners in Honduras. Each group participant, including the faculty and staff who accompany the students, must raise that money themselves, working alone and with the group in project fundraisers. Every penny we raise is spent getting us to the children’s home where we volunteer, paying for the materials we need to do the work there, and making donations to the organizations with whom we work. We will happily accept (tax deductible) donations of money or items (see the donations page for more details of items the groups we work with need). If you have suggestions about how we might raise money, we’d love to know that too (write to our faculty advisor or leave a comment below.) TO MAKE A SECURE ON-LINE DONATION, PLEASE USE THE “DONATE NOW” BUTTON, select “restricted gift” and then type in “Honduras Project.” All gifts are tax-deductable and are acknowledged by Drew’s Office of Development and Planned Giving. Thank you!