Thursday, February 26, 2009

An update from Team 3 at the orphanage

Below is an email from the third group to go down to the NPH orphanage they have been there for almost two weeks there now.

Greetings from Team 3 of the Friends of the Orphans Sports/Medical Team:
I bring you a condensed report of the goings on so far this week.

The sports team spent the early days of the week sorting 25 hockey bags of donated sports equipment, sports clothing and shoes. They have so far distributed equipment to the children of three nearby villages, one school and of course to the children of the Orphanage. An exciting time was had when six members of the Texas Ranger Farm Club played baseball with the children here. The entire group had a barbecue at Batey Monti Christy and fed many children of the village.

A baseball game was played between the volunteers and the children of the Orphanage and of course the children outshone us by far.

There has been many physical improvements of items like repairing sinks, toilets and other things that have been broken for a long time. New tables, shelves , towel hooks have been added. Some items have been painted and bulletins boards and a Code of Conduct sign was installed at the school.

The big pick up truck now has a frame , canopy and benches in the back for transporting people. A local company had built this installation and the volunteers worked tirelessly to modify it for safety purposes.

The tremendous amount of donated clothing, hats, baby formula and other items were sorted for several days and the distribution has begun to the orphanage children and to the Tias (caregivers of the children) for their own families. The rest will be given to the poor children of the nearby villages.
Volunteers have also been going into the Music and new English classrooms to observe and help.

Much fun has been had with the Music class seeing some instruments for the first time. The sewing class has been abuzz with volunteers helping the girls sew pajamas and skirts.

Lastly, the Medical Clinic was organized and up and running despite 25 of our 60 hockey bags of medical supplies and personal belongings detained at the Airport for two full days after arrival.
There is a flurry of activity every day in the Clinic as the Orphanage kids have been receiving Health Assessments and I am happy to report that they all seem full of joy, healthy and well taken care of. We have given Medical Care to close to 200 villagers.
All the volunteers have been working so hard and are really enjoying getting to know one another.

We are a committed, enthusiastic group of forty individuals!!!!!!!

Please pass this on to your friends.

Monday, February 23, 2009

An Inspiring Success Story

As you are probably aware our recent trip to the Dominican was coordinated through Friends of the Orphans- Canada. Friends of the Orphans(FOTO)-Canada is dedicated to seeking and providing support for the needs of orphaned and abandoned children in the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, and Nicaragua on behalf of Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos, which means "Our Little Brothers and Sisters."

Their website a very inspiring story that I thought valuable to share about one of the girls that was welcomed into the orphanage at age 9 after her mother passed giving birth to her youngest brother. I really encourage you to read this story and see the great work being done by NPH & FOTO-Can.

Please read Ana Maria's story at:

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Nutri-Lawn donates soccer field to rapidly growing Dominican orphanage

Toronto, Ontario, Feb. 4 / -- Since its inception in 2003 the children at the Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos (NPH) orphanage in the Dominican Republic have been playing soccer on a rocky dirt field. Nutri-Lawn, a Canadian-based lawn care company, teamed up with Friends of the Orphans (FOTO) and sent eleven volunteers to the town of San Pedro de Macoris for seven days to participate in the construction of a competition size soccer field for the 160 children residing at the orphanage.

The trip was organized by the re:nourish program established by Nutri-Lawn in 2008 with the objective of contributing to projects that are environmentally sustainable and encourage community health.

“An important part of our re:nourish program is to reach out to communities beyond where we currently operate and live,” said Ryan Vincent, president of Nutri-Lawn. “In the orphanage team building occurs in the classroom and also on the playing field. Seeing the excitement and wonder in the eyes of the 160 children when they were released from school and were able to run and play on the field for the first time, is a moment I will not soon forget.”

As leaders in ecologically friendly lawn care, the creation of the re:nourish program was the natural realization of the company’s core purpose: “We nourish lawns and lives.” Nutri-Lawn believes that nurturing communities – both near and far – is manifested though giving communities back their greenery.

“As we were working on the field we also had a crew working on an irrigation system for the community garden that produces all the vegetables for the orphanage,” said Jordan Lavin, the Director of Operations for Nutri-Lawn. “There is an onsite preexisting well that was used to fill buckets by hand, and then the water was poured onto the plants. With the new fully automated system that draws its water from the local well, we are saving a huge expense of energy that can now be refocused.”

The process of rebuilding the soil structure of the playing surface was the most intensive aspect of the field’s construction. Construction equipment was borrowed from a local golf course to remove rocks from the open field. An irrigation system was installed and instruction provided to the onsite staff for the maintenance of the field for years to come. The children of the orphanage also received donated soccer jerseys, cleats and shin pads, as well as goal posts for the field. “The kids should now have everything they need to go out and have a good time,” Vincent said. “At Nutri-Lawn we are committed to creating healthy lawns that are also ecologically friendly, so we felt that the children at NPH deserve to play on a great field.”

Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos (which means for "Our Little Brothers and Sisters," in Spanish) started with seven children in January of 2003 and has been growing ever since. What began as one house has grown into a much larger residence where 159 children live in 15 homes and attend school in nearby classrooms. The organization hopes to house 500 children in the next five years.

For more information on Nutri-Lawn’s commitment to community partnerships please visits

About Philanthropy at Nutri-Lawn.
Nutri-Lawn is proud to support the charitable causes that are important to customers and their associates in the global community. Through its philanthropic programs and partnerships, Nutri-Lawn supports environmental responsibility and community involvement. For twenty years Nutri-Lawn has been the leader of ecologically responsible lawn care, and their core purpose is to nourish lawns and lives. They are committed to community health through the re:nourish program. To learn more, visit

For more information please contact:
Jordan Lavin
416 620 7100

Photo's from the trip

Sunday, February 1, 2009

We did it! Thanks to so many...

Well, this trip was very moving to say the least. The kids on the orphanage are great kids, very respectful, well behaved and very well off as far as quality of life compared to the rest of the country. To be submerged in the poverty that surrounds the NPH property for 10 days really put things in perspective for me. When and entire village of 300 people share 2 outhouses, one with a door, that makes you appreciate the luxury that we live in. When 65 year old men and on the end of a shovel all day to earn a meager $5 to feed his family rice, that pulls on your emotional side.
I have a long list of very important thank yous to get through and first and foremost, the team itself. Boyd Loveless, Jessie Montpellier, Jody Macinnis, Shawn Karn, Cam Hansuld, Ryan Vincent, Steven Brooks, Terry Ormrod, Sandra Ormrod, Kalon Fairclough and Angela Arnsby. These people worked very long, very hot days and maintained the most positive of attitudes…The odds were stacked against us time after time and we still made it through completion. I was very impressed and I thank all of you. I could not think of a better team of people to work with for a week.
The Toro Company for their generous donations, Terry Ormrod for his technical expertise and unending commitment to the project, Brandon Mathews for his connections and his willingness to help out. Damon DiGiorgio, course superintendant at Roco Ki Golf course, a gem of a property in Punta Cana for the use of his brand new trencher and his assistance in connecting us with the sod farm. Mr. George Durman, whom I have not met, but through Brandon Mathews heard about our project and donated 2000 ft. of PVC pipe to install our irrigation. To all of our donors, personal and corporate, who contributed to our trip. To Green Financial for being so supportive and for “sharing the green”. Transcontinental for sending enough shirts for every child on site. Ken Speers for his level of commitment to FOTOCAN, Kieran Rigney for all he does for the children on site. Mark Robinson for a huge commitment to the cause and to Bill and Toni VanHaeren who in a roundabout way, were the inspiration for our group to take on this adventure, and many future adventures with NPH.
Anyone wanting more information about our efforts, the FOTOCAN organization or the NPH projects in central and Latin America, I am more than happy to share my experiences with you.
Please check back here regularly for photo uploads and some posts about our future plans with both Fotocan and NPH.

Thank you all,

Before -Jan 24, 2009 After -Jan 29, 2009

Mural for the new library

Last minute attendee Angela Arnsby spent the second half of the week in the new library working on a new mural for the children. The library project is headed by Julie from France who is volunteering for a year at the orphanage. The week we were there shelves were being built by one of the other groups and the books were being sorted according to age and language (English, Spanish & French).

Orphanage Director Keiran Rigney

Orphanage Director Keiran Rigney gives an overview of the overall progress at the orphanage and future development plans.

Last Day

We arrived back in Canada yesterday (Saturday) after a very early start, our bus left the hotel at 6am, then a 3 hours before taking off around 11am local time. Arriving back in Canada we are very thankful for a hot shower, the ability to drink directly from the faucet and to see our families not so happy to see the snow....

Here is a recap from our last day: