Springdale couple starts United for Kids Foundation in Caribbean

Jason Teakle
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Roy and Sherry Clarke will make fifth trip to Dominican Republic next month

No playgrounds. No libraries. No computers.

Springdale resident Roy Clarke talks to schoolchildren at a rural schoolhouse in the Dominican Republic. The Clarkes have started the United for Kids Foundation to help provide adequate school supplies to rural schools and medication to cure parasites aff

No playgrounds. No libraries. No computers.

 

This is the state of 22 rural schools in the Dominican Republic.

 

A typical sunny vacation on the island in 2002, for Springdale residents Sherry Clarke and her husband, Roy, turned into a calling.

 

The Clarkes have registered the United for Kids Foundation as a non-profit charity organization with the government of the Dominican Republic, to provide school supplies to rural Dominican schools, while also bringing a local Dominican doctor onboard to administer medication to cure parasites in many of the island’s rural children, often a result of a lack of clean drinking water and adequate refrigeration for perishable foods.

 

“We’ve done some fundraising,” said Ms. Clarke. “So far we’ve had a barbeque and a cold plate sale, and on August 6 we are having a draw for a picture.”

 

Ms. Clarke said they have raised $4,500 toward their next trip to the Dominican Republic to cover the high costs of both school supplies and medication.

 

On August 13, the Clarkes will return to the island for one month for their fifth trip to start working in rural schools.

 

“At first we (Mr. and Ms. Clarke) were there on vacation, and when we went out on the resort’s excursions and we saw a need, and brought the kids exercise books for school and snacks,” she said. “Then a tour guide set us up to go to rural schools, and we wanted to go the furthest into the country into areas where the resort’s excursions do not go, and help them as well, because the resorts only take you to some schools.”

 

Ms. Clarke explained the Dominican Republic is quite impoverished with the rural area of Rio San Juan, where the Clarkes have now rented a house to stay during their work on the island, only has electricity for three or four hours each day.

 

She also said that because the Dominican Republic has no social services available for the island’s residents, rural areas suffer even more.

 

“In these rural areas, people depend on other people’s good hearts and the mangoes on the tree,” she said. “We’re hoping youth groups will want to be an ongoing part of this.”

 

Ms. Clarke says she and her husband had to travel two hours from Rio San Juan just to find school supplies to purchase.

 

“Exercise books are as much money in the Dominican Republic as they are here, so they are rarely a priority for poor families,” she said.

 

Ms. Clarke says if anyone or any group is interested in the work done by United For Kids, that she is available to make a presentation.

 

Sherry Clarke can be reached at sherryclarke@nf.sympatico.ca, or (709) 673-4461 for more information on making donations, arranging a presentation of the organization’s work or to inquire about volunteering.

 

Organizations: Dominican Republic, Kids Foundation

Geographic location: Springdale, Caribbean, Rio San Juan

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  • marian anderson
    May 31, 2013 - 20:50

    Dear Sherry I just had supper with Kay and she told me all about you and Ken and what you are doing and I would love to help I could send money, I could set up a fund rasing for you guys, and I would love to sponsor a child any child or a family up to you. Please email me back and tell what i can do. Thank you and God Bless people like you Marian Anderson