I just returned from a President’s Vision trip to the Dominican Republic to visit the staff and work of Buckner Dominicana. Donors, pastors, and staff went with me to visit the work of Buckner in two Family Hope Centers as well as visits government offices and churches. Brad Barnett, Senior VP for Buckner Children and Family Services and Buckner Adoption and Maternity Services; and Dexton Shores, Sr. Regional Director of Buckner Latin America, joined me on this trip. Sarah Hetrick was our Trip Leader.
The first major event of the week was a lecture I was invited to deliver on behalf of Buckner at the Autonomous University of Santo Domingo (UASD), the oldest university in the Western hemisphere. My topic was “Leading Social Change: Buckner in Latin America and the Caribbean. About 160 were present including students from the school of social work, medicine, business, faculty, guests from CONANI (Family and Protective Services), foundation leaders, pastors, Buckner Dominicana collaborators, board members, and staff was also present. Maria Alida de Brugal, Executive Director, Buckner Dominicana, organized the lecture and invited community leaders to attend this introductory lecture on Buckner.
The lecture dealt with Buckner history, philosophy of ministry, and our own transformation as a ministry over the past 136 years. We saw excellent interaction between government leaders, pastors, board members, and foundation leaders. Pastors connected with Alberto Padilla, the head of CONANI, regarding ways to advance foster care in the DR.
On our first day, we were also privileged to place brand new shoes on children at Hope School, a ministry of Iglesia Bautista International. The week was off to a great start.