Colegio Kids: Making a Difference in the Dominican Republic through Education
In 2001, the heart of Lincoln native, Jack Keester, was forever touched bythe warm, friendly people of the Dominican Republic. The children were most special to Jack as they dreamed to be much more than the limited opportunities of their surrounding offered them. Jack firmly believed that education was the key to breaking the chains of poverty that prevents the DR from establishing a more acceptable standard of living for its people. Education in a good private school is the path a child in the DR must take to prepare for the university and a professional career.
Jack took a very brave step in 2001 to form a 501c3 organization called Colegio Kids. The mission of Colegio Kids is to support the programs of the Diocese of the Episcopal Church of the DR through assistance in education and health issues. In addition to providing scholarships and aiding school projects, Colegio Kids assists in the health programs of Clinica Esperanza y Caridad and Centro Buen Pastor.
Since 2001, under Jack’s leadership, Colegio Kid’s has:
- Provided 1365 scholarships to primary and secondary school students.
- Provided over 200 scholarships to students at a local university.
- Completely renovated the bathroom facilities for the 600 student Colegio San Esteban.
- Assisted a Lincoln NE Rotary Club with the following:
- Establishing a matching grant program, resulting in over $200,000 in medical equipment for Clinica Esperanza.
- Provided school supplies, cooking equipment, clothing and computer lab to a small school in a migrant labor camp.
- Provided a source of clean drinking water to a poor barrio.
- Provided a connection for emergency electrical power to Colegio San Esteban.
- Arranged and funded shipment of 20,000 books in Spanish valued at $150,000 for the Episcopal school system of 23 schools and over 5000 students.
- Provided dental care for more than 200 students.
- Funded 400 new school desks.
An Urgent Need Prevails Now!!!
It is important that the wonderful work of Jack continues.
In recent years, support for Colegio Kids has diminished as sponsors have found other interests, moved away, or have simply passed to the greater life. In 2013, a shortfall of over $6000 meant 20 fewer scholarships were given. In 2014, the deficit appears it may continue to grow.
Can you help Colegio Kids??? Mission work in the Dominican Republic is an important part of the ministry life of the Diocese of Nebraska which shares a Companion Diocese relationship with the DR. Individual sponsors are the heart of this vital program. Each sponsor will receive a short bio of their student and a photograph. Most students will respond with a short thank you note in Spanish which is translated for the sponsor.
A full sponsorship costs $300 which covers one-half of the costs of the school year. A donation of $350 provides a needy student the opportunity of education for one year with an important health examination. No donation is too small!!! Gifts of less than $300 are pooled to provide scholarship support.
A second urgent need also exists. Jack is looking for a person of like heart and commitment who will assure the success of Colegio Kids continues well into the future. Jack has done all the hard work. He is looking for someone to travel with him to San Pedro De Macoris to photograph the scholarship students and obtain their bios. This person will also maintain records, make periodic solicitations for funds, and disseminate information regarding Colegio Kids.
Are you called to help? Donations can be forwarded to Colegio Kids at 2325 South 24th Street, Lincoln, NE 68502. Donations may also be made by credit card or PayPal at http://colegiokids,net/ or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ourcolegiokids. For more information on how you might assist Jack in the future of this ministry, you may contact Jack at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Together, we do make a difference!!!
– Don Peeler