Happy (soon to be) 4th of July America! As I was writing this post I realized I haven’t been in the U.S. for the past two years for the 4th of July! I was in Colombia (2014) and Spain (2013).
While I was writing this I realized how thankful I am to be living where I am today and to know I am able to give back to those in need. I am very proud of where I am from. America is a beautiful country and traveling has definitely made me appreciate that.
One of the main purposes of my blog is to try to create awareness and impact on all social tourism, social businesses or non profits that I encounter as I travel the world.
I believe we live in a generation where people/companies/ brands are beginning to build awareness for social and environment causes.
A couple of weeks ago I went on a family vacation to Dominican Republic where I stayed at the Paradisus Palma Real Resort in Punta Cana. Besides the fact that the resort was beautiful and the service was lovely. What I truly loved the most was how much they ‘gave back‘ to their local communities.
Don’t get me wrong I am sure TONS of resorts ‘give back’ in Dominican Republic, but I just happened to be staying at Paradisus Palma Real Resort in Punta Cana and they did a great job of share with me how they gave back to their local communities and environment.
The Paradisus is currently working on a special project with Famous Enterprises (company based in the U.S.) who has donated $10,000 to help with the construction of an all boys orphanage in Higuey. They will be rebuilding the bathroom, bedrooms and re-painting the inside (among other things).
Famous Enterprise one of the largest regional wholesale distributors for Building Products (and other supplies). They take a group of customers on a trip every year to visit a children’s charity or organization. And take food, personal needs and toys for the children as well as trying to identify ways that they, as a distributors, can help the organization. Last year, Famous was in Jamaica and they were able to ship supplies, fixtures and various tools to help them with the establishment of a new fresh water well.
I decided that during my 7 days at the resort I would donate some time and energy to helping out! One morning I headed to Higuey on a one hour car ride into the town with some employees from the Paradisus Resort.
Our first stop was to a nursing home. We dropped off some spare linens and towels. The Paradisus does this regularly. They drops off linens, towels, anything that is left over and needed to either the nursing home or community centers.
Our second stop was the super market. My family and I wanted to donate some food to the local boys orphanage in Higuey. Check out what we bought!
Lastly, the orphanage in Higuey. It was an all boys orphanage with about 18 boys. It was so good to see there faces when we bought in all the groceries. Hanging out with them and talking to a few of them about their favorite baseball teams was so rewarding.
These boys were so thankful and happy to see me. To meet a stranger. They appreciate so little of what they have. One of their biggest concerns (like most days) is receiving running FRESH water. They only get running fresh water at a certain time of day for a limited time. (Made me think of all the times I take my running water for granted.)
The Paradisus does several things for different orphanages in the area. They also donate any useful items that are left behind from the hotel guests as well as anything donated from the guests as well.
They promote social tourism at the resort, as they have shuttle buses that take guests outside of the resort to local shops. They encourage local excursions, promote the cultural heritage, invite local handcrafts and artists to the resorts.
One of their biggest Sustainable Development projects is with Socio-Economic Alliance with Haiti Chiquito. Where they collect old books, magazines, newspapers, cardboards, and other items for Haiti Chiquito Community to make recycled picture frames, which are then purchased by the hotels to use as a give away for their guests! Check out my frame…
Meliá Hotels International (Owners of The Paradisus Palma Real Resort) have a global agreement with UNICEF, where they campaign to raise awareness about zero tolerance for violence and abuse, including sexual exploitation of children. With this they have implemented the initiative Guest of Heart, by which their guests can collaborate by donating a dollar per room per person, to help carry out projects to protect children in the Dominican Republic. The employees are also involved through the Solidarity Paycheck action, by which they can voluntarily make contributions too.
Other actions are helping the local community through donations and sponsorship of the School Las Dos Jardas of the Verón community with 205 children enrolled, coming from less advantaged families.
Lastly, the environment, they keep track of their carbon foot prints, recycle throughout the resort, and help maintain the ecosystem that surround their resorts. They have met all compliances for sustainability. They are currently certified by “Earth Check”, since 2012 we have obtained the Blue Flag certification. They also participate each year in local foundations initiatives such as beach cleanups and reforestation activities. They have an environmental training program in coordination with the Institute of Environmental Law in Dominican Republic for their employees.
It’s resorts/companies/brands/people like this that are making a difference that matters!
As I mentioned above, I believe we live in a generation where people are becoming more aware of social issues and are actually trying to help. (Now, I am not telling you to take less showers! Haha) But I am telling you to appreciate what you have. I am an American born to Cuban Immigrants. Where my parents came to America because it is the country ‘where dreams come true’ and I couldn’t be prouder to stand for such a country. We have the opportunities to grow and, most importantly, to give back to other that need it the most. When you wear your flag tomorrow America, wear it loud and proud!! 🙂
If you’d like to donate or would like more information on how to donate reach out to me on social media or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Disclaimer: This post is written from my own experience and knowledge. I was not paid to write this.)