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Dove Youth Development Vocational Training Center

Your generous support goes directly to help pay for teacher salaries, supplies and classroom materials to sustain the Dove Vocational Training Center

Turning a Dream Into Reality

We're thrilled to announce the Dove Youth Development is about to turn a 20-year dream for the Dove children into a reality. Construction is underway for Dove’s secondary school students, ages 13-17.

This dream started with Liz's vision in 2002 to turn her experience in cosmetology into a training program to lift Dominican girls out of poverty.

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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 past 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.

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.


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.

The Challenge

The Vocational Training Center will double Dove Youth Development’s programming and double our staff.  To establish our new programs and keep them sustainable, we’ve set an ambitious financial goal to raise $250,000. This will cover operation costs for the Vocational Training Center’s first five years. ​




We have raised funds with the help of individual donors, Rotary Clubs and a Rotary Global Grant, to construct 4 classrooms, update and renovate our kitchen and bathrooms and have everything in place to launch our new vocational programs in June 2022!


$150,000 – Total goal COMPLETE thanks to these generous donors below!


​$32,000    Ronkonkoma Rotary, New York raised funds for renovation of 4 classrooms, rooftop, kitchen and bathrooms


$32,000    Rotary Global Grant awarded (and includes a match for $6,000 raised by Elena Carvetta--- at O’Hair Salon) to furnish and equip classrooms and support programs and classes 


$86,000    Ron Grue donated the financial support and 6 weeks of volunteer work in reconstruction and remodeling to make the center look and feel brand new!




$250,000 of the Challenge remains to make the Vocational Training center sustainable for the next 5 years!

We are pleased to announce a $25,000 donation given by an anonymous Dove donor to help kick start our campaign! 


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.


A message from our founder and
Executive Director, Liz Rooney:

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.