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May 2022 - Celebrating 20-Years of Service

Celebrating 20-Years of Service

Hello Dove family! I’m thrilled to tell you that Dove Youth Development is about to turn our earliest 20-year dream for Dove into a reality. WE HAVE BEGUN CREATING THE DOVE VOCATIONAL TRAINING CENTER for Dove’s secondary school students, ages 13-17. This vision started with my hope in 2002 to turn my training and experience in cosmetology into a training program to lift Dominican girls out of poverty.


Building On Our Past Success Dove Youth Development provides education and training to the most vulnerable youth in the barrios of the community of Puerto Plata who are subject to fall into prostitution, drugs, and other illicit activities. These individuals and their families are participants in Dove classes and programs for primary school students, ages 6-12. Dove has been successful these last 10 years with over 400 students, getting them off the streets and into school, providing food baskets to replace child labor income, and giving children a safe-haven to learn and grow.


Unmet Needs As our Dove kids age out of our primary programs, the teens strive to become self-sufficient and provide for their families' basic needs. They once again become vulnerable to the drugs and prostitution in their neighborhoods. We now have 80+ boys and girls between the ages of 13-17 years. We had a reunion of the original 15 street boys that were the very first “Youth Center “group back in 2009. We were so happy that 10 of the boys were able to attend! We shared stories of the early days and all the wonderful experiences they had from learning to surf, hike the 27 waterfalls and zip lining, along with learning English and staying in school. Each boy spoke about living in a high drug and crime area and, without learning good morals and values at Dove, they surely would have ended up selling drugs, in jail or possibly dead. Here are some of their comments: “ I was 7 years old when I joined Dove and I was shining shoes on the streets. Some of us were suffering. I will never forget my time in the club, Liz was like a Mother to me.” “ We all had so many unforgettable times together, it was like having another family.” “ We were able to meet friends from all over the world, from different countries. Dove gave us experiences and opportunities we would never have had. “ They heard about the future plan of starting a vocational training program and they were so excited! Many volunteered to come back and help in any way possible because this could be life changing for the participants. Isaac, a former student, is teaching English out of his home and online! We are hoping to offer him a job as an English teacher.

Vision for a Solution Dove Youth Development is now developing a Vocational Training Center to help vulnerable teens and community members access skills training and development programs to expand their income generating potential. The Dove teens will choose a Vocational Training Course according to their interests. We’ll begin with 3 vocational training classes:

  • Cosmetology

  • Computer Skills

  • English as a Second Language

All 3 paths will be supported by a concurrent Job Readiness class for job application skills, mentoring and apprentice opportunities. Graduates will be given the tools necessary for the individual to start her own business or be job ready to get employment in the community. As a result, graduates become empowered and will be able to provide the basic needs for themselves and their families.

The Challenge The Vocational Training Center will double Dove Youth Development’s programing and double our staff. To establish our new programs and keep them sustainable, we’ve set an ambitious financial goal to raise $150,000. We have begun raising funds with the help of individual donors, Rotary Clubs and have applied for a Rotary Global Grant. We will soon open a portal on our website to share how you can be a part of bringing this new vision to reality! $150,000 Total goal -$22,000 Ronkonkoma Rotary, New York has raised funds for renovation of 4 classrooms, rooftop, kitchen and bathrooms -$32,000 Rotary Global Grant is pending (includes $6,000 raised by Elena Carvetta--- at O’Hair Salon) to furnish and equip classrooms and support programs and classes $96,000 Challenge remains! Long-Term Impact Dove’s Vocational Training Center will begin by providing vocational training to the current 80+ Dove boys and girls between the ages of 13-17 years old, empowering them to rise out of poverty. Dove Youth Development will expand its sustainable foundation of hope in the community by providing youth with the knowledge and the skills that empower them to support themselves, their families and communities, and to become agents of change in the community. Lastly, it is with great love that I say thank you for your kindness and support these many years! This vocational training center is an ambitious goal that is imperative in supporting our teens into adulthood to become productive members of the community. Stay tuned for how to donate and other way you can get involved! Warmly, Elizabeth Rooney Executive Director and Founder

Dove Missions PO BOX 32074 Minneapolis, MN 55432

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