Graduation

Monday, June 11th, 2018 and is filed under Uncategorized

34415242_10100247581852289_9053536024809963520_nYou won’t have to do a lot of research about the education system in the Dominican Republic for it to break your heart. The United States Agency for International Development ranked the DR 143rdout of 144 in the quality of its primary education system worldwide.

Go MAD is being relentless in helping our communities avoid becoming a victim of these statistics. In Canta la Rana, we recently got to celebrate two big education ceremonies! While they both were incredibly different ceremonies, they were both incredibly important and vital to the overall future of this community.

One ceremony was for a bunch of 5 and 6 year olds! Go MAD just graduated 9 little ones from our private pre-school. This means, that starting next fall these children will join a public-school system with one foot forward. These kids have not only learned their letters of the alphabet, how to follow basic classroom rules and instructions, and basic numbers—these kids have been learning about Jesus and how He can change lives. Our kids not only have the value of education, but they know their true value in Christ.

The other ceremony celebrated 18 adults spreading over decades in age, receiving their diploma for passing an Infotep course in baking. Infotep is a government system that provides technical training for local communities for free. Go MAD has been able to come alongside Infotep and provide the resources necessary to host classes and job trainings in our local communities. For the vast majority, this is the closest that any of them will come to getting any type of degree or high school diploma. At the end of each Infotep class, the graduates receive a certificate that is the equivalent of a technical degree and is not only useful here on our island, it is recognized in multiple countries outside the Dominican Republic. We are so proud of our adults that just recently got their Infotep degree in baking, and are excited that we now offer an Infotep course in Accounting and Administration! In August, Go MAD will be able to celebrate another 20 adults that are pursuing this degree.

Go MAD is so excited about our recent graduates in Canta la Rana! We are excited that more kids will enter Kindergarten confidently. We are excited that people can pursue careers with actual degrees to put on their resume. We are excited that the path is being paved to a better tomorrow so more people can walk down it! Malcom X is famously known for saying, “Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.” Go MAD is excited that the future of the DR is slowly changing because people are becoming more likely to succeed in their efforts to find jobs and provide basic needs for their families. We are excited that God is in control and our communities are gradually taking ownership in their future!

Bonnie Smith, Community Coordinator

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Working Ourselves Out of a Job

Monday, June 11th, 2018 and is filed under Uncategorized

If you have ever been down to visit us at Go MAD you have probably heard us talk about working ourselves out of a job. This is something that we strive to do. It’s not that we don’t love what we do. It’s not that we don’t love those that we serve. In fact, it’s because we love those that we serve that we want to work ourselves out of a job. We desire to create opportunity for people to provide for themselves and their families rather than creating a dependence on Go MAD to provide. I am excited to tell you that we have done exactly that in one of the communities we have been working. We have worked ourselves out of the village of Munoz.

Ground_Breaking3I know that many of you that have come down love the village of Munoz. We do too! We have enjoyed so much our time working there. We learned a lot and made many wonderful friendships that continue today. For me personally, building a relationship with Pastor Ricardo has been one of the most special things about my time living in the DR. He taught me so much and I will be forever grateful for the time I got to spend with him. His death was difficult, but it was also a reminder of the importance of making a difference in people’s lives. At the funeral so many people talked about the impact he had on their lives and it was wonderful to celebrate that with his family.

Why now? Great question! We perform a census in each of our communities every so often. We do this to monitor our effectiveness and look for areas of vulnerabilities that we might be missing. Some of the teams that have visited us have helped with the census taking. Well, when we did the most recent census in Munoz we found some wonderful things. The two biggest being that Munoz had the highest employment rate as well as the highest percentage of kids attending school of any of the villages we serve. In fact, almost 100% of the children that can attend school in Munoz do. As if that wasn’t enough, we learned that a new free medical clinic was opening in Munoz. Amazing!

When we looked at the data, the new clinic coming in, the fact that there are two wonderful churches in the community and that the local ministry, Luz Por La Vida, that we have been working with that was started by Pastor Ricardo is there to keep things moving, well we knew it was time. It was not an easy decision. We loved working in Munoz, but we also knew there were other areas with more need. So, the decision was made to shift our resources from Munoz to the village of Severet. I look forward to the time I can write that we have worked ourselves out a job there.

Chantz Cutts, Executive Director

Transition

Monday, June 11th, 2018 and is filed under Uncategorized

25348852_10215262170887171_8160585037464879781_nAs many of you know Jeffrey’s adoption was finally completed on October 19thof 2017. With that done, he and I arrived in Texas on October 20th. Renee has been in the U.S. in April due to health issues, but Jeffrey and I remained in the D.R. to wrap up his adoption. Brodie and Brett have been in the U.S. for a several years attending college. As of the end of October we were finally all together in the same country. It has been wonderful to have everyone together and to be close to the rest of our family’s as well.

We have had a lot of people ask what we would do now and what is going to happen with Go MAD. We have made the decision to officially move back to the U.S. This decision was made for both personal reasons and because we believe it is where we need to be for Go MAD. We are still in a process of transition. While it seems that it would be easy now that we are all together to simply move forward, we have found that it is not exactly that simple. Those that have gone through this type of transition will understand.

Though there have been, and I am sure will continue to be some struggles, we know this is where we are supposed to be at this time. Renee is homeschooling Jeffrey and he is doing great. Jeffrey is getting the necessary medical attention he has needed, and we are so thankful as this has been of such concern. I now have the opportunity to focus on fundraising for Go MAD. This is something that the work of Go MAD has needed because It is not an easy task to fundraise and build relationships for an organization while living in another country. I would love the opportunity to share the work of Go MAD with your Church or Organization.

Go MAD will continue to work in the Dominican Republic bringing hope and opportunity to those we serve. Go MAD has a tremendous staff in the DR lead by Megan Ratnam, our wonderful Country Director. They are doing a great job running and expanding the work there.

Speaking of moving, if you donate to Go MAD via check please remember to use our new address. PO Box 2411 Harker Heights, TX 76548

Thank you to all those that continue to support the work of Go MAD. You are helping to restore hope and create opportunity for so many people that are living in extreme poverty and vulnerable to exploitation. You are truly making a difference in their lives.

Chantz Cutts, Executive Director