Andrea Poole 2005-2006

A volunteer's perspective on SAS and Guanin, Inc. Program

There must be unity amongst those demanding social justice if we are to ever reach our goals. I arrived in this country with much passion but very little preparation. I discovered Severino Polanco through a friend of a friend, and I literally owe my life now to this chain of contacts (another story for another timeÖ however feel free to contact me by email for details). Severino immediately hooked me up with SAS and the next day I was on my way to Jarabacoa. I don't know what sort of magic was worked out so quickly while my back was turned, but when I disembarked, it was as if the town had been awaiting my arrival. Everything I could have ever needed was arranged and my support system was already intact. SAS is a powerful organization, completely competent and able to connect one with the Dominican community at large.

My satisfaction with SAS's placement of me in Jarabacoa is more than hoped for or imagined. This small mountain town, referred to by some as the Dominican Alps, is home to the Barrio Blanco School, where ten optimistic teachers, a dedicated director, and 500 students gather in an extremely poor neighborhood.

I appreciate being part of an organization that provides guidance while also seeking to learn my perspective, seeing value in the diverse skills that each volunteer brings to the program and the country. It is an honor to participate with SAS, who has my back in this crazy and beautiful place. It would be a pleasure to communicate personally with any interested persons.

Love people at the Dominican Republic.
Please contact me for any information:
More about Andre.

poole.andrea@gmail.com , andreapoole_90@hotmail.com

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Laura 2003/2004

My name is Laura Isabel Castellanos Rodriguez, and I hereby certify that I have participated in SAS's program and professional exchange.

I am originally from Venezuela, where I studied Tourism and Hotel Management at university. SAS offered me the opportunity of an internship in the Dominican Republic. Thanks to them, now I am working at one of the most important hotels chain in the world.

I am very grateful for the help that they have provided me for my professional development, and I also thank Mr. Severino Polanco for his friendship!

Please contact me for any information. lauraisabel22@hotmail.com
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Ermyas Birru 2008
MSU Student
Hi Seve, como estan? i wish we extended the Program in Dominican Republic for 2 more months. It is not the same here, everybody is busy doing thier own thing. I miss everything already. I'm actually eating rice and bean everyday since i came back. And I tried to listen marengaue and bachata but i couldn't do it because it reminds me of all the good time we had in the DR. Anywho, i will try to come back next year or sometime soon. Please send me the quote and i will see what i can do.

The Dominican Republic is one of the most beautiful and great place Iíve ever been in my life. I recommend the SAS Program and SAS Travel to the Dominican Republic to anybody who has a plan to travel abroad for study or vaction. However, it will be difficult to travel with Guide book only. Thus, I advise anyone traveling to the DR to get an experienced tour guide who has connection to hotspots and who is sociable. For this, I highly recommend SAS / Severino Polanco and his Agency to be your choice, they are well organized and fun.

God Bless
birruerm@msu.edu
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SAS program and SAS Travel made my trip to the Dominican Republic incredible. I felt safe, and very well taken care of during my three weeks in the country. Transportation, excusions, tours, classes were always arranged and our accommodations were welcoming and very clean.

SAS (Student A. Services CxA) handled the logistics of the trip so I got to relax and enjoy the beautiful culture, environment, and people of the DR. I have recommended their services to all my friends and family, and will definitely go through them in the future. Have a good night! Suenos dulces.

Ashley Eveleth.

ashleysas@gmail.com

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Summer 2008
Dear Severino, SAS and Guanin, Inc.

The International Study Program at The Brotherhood/Sister Sol would like to thank you and your beautiful son Luis for your warmth and hospitality during our visit to the Dominican Republic. Your efforts made us feel welcome and secure. The experience of learning about the amazing history of the city of Santo Domingo, and exploring the museums, the caves, the monuments and the bateyes helped us acquire a better understanding of how Dominican culture and traditions have been an influence to our Afro-Latino communities and social and political movements in New York. The day we spent at Villa Mella will remain one of our favorite memories of the trip. Thank you again for enriching our experience in the Dominican Republic.

We hope to meet and collaborate with you again in the future.

Sincerely, Valerie, Nando, Susan & the members of the International Study Program

brotherhood-sistersol contact.

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My Connection to the Dominican Republic
Abdul Karim Bangura

My first visit to the Dominican Republic was in November of 2005 to attend the annual conference convened in Santo Domingo by the Association of Third World Studies, a scholarly organization in which I have been a member for 15 years and has served as its President and United Nations Ambassador. During that visit, I also spent a day at Isla Saona and Boca Chica. What I found in the Dominican Republic was a beautiful country with very hardworking, friendly, and contented people. I immediately fell in love with both the country and its people. While there, I also saw communities that were marginalized in terms of development, and I vowed to do the little bit that I can to help.

I returned to the Dominican Republic for a second visit in September of 2007 to work with the Guanin Center in order to develop and launch some community projects. In addition to developing student and faculty study and internship partnerships through the Guanin Center, we also adopted the Milla Vella community for assistance. We have been able to provide some assistance to the school children in that community in the form of volunteer instructors, books and supplies. Our major goal now is to buy a piece of land and build a school in the community.

My recent trip to the Dominican Republic was the end of March 2009. On this trip, I brought along Dr. Michael Frazier, my colleague at Howard University in Washington, DC and Director of the Master of Arts in Public Administration (MAPA) Program in the Department of Political Science, to give a lecture titled "Public Administration in the Developing World, with a Special Focus on the Dominican Republic" at the National University in Santo Domingo. At the lecture and press conference, we announced our efforts to award scholarships to citizens of the Dominican Republic who would like to pursue our MAPA degree. We also announced other student and faculty training and exchange programs on which we are working. We were also able to meet with some members of the United States Embassy in Santo Domingo to discuss how they can assist us with our projects.

For my brief biography and how to contact me, please click the following Internet link:

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My experience to the Dominican Republic
Micheal Frazier

My recent trip to the Dominican Republic was the end of March 2009. to give a lecture titled "Public Administration in the Developing World, with a Special Focus on the Dominican Republic" at the National University in Santo Domingo (UASD). At the lecture and press conference, we announced our efforts to award scholarships to citizens of the Dominican Republic who would like to pursue our MAPA degree.

I reaffirmed my belief that developing countries do have the potential capacity to improve their own lives. For many however their has to be an OPPORTUNITY for self improvement and cooperation by support groups and or agencies. One visit provides an outsider impressions but not definitive information about issues adversely impacting the country. Nevertheless, I believe a more effective public service which is transparent has the potential to make a positive difference in the lives of its citizens.

To that end, the attached document outlines my views about how Howard University can help create future opportunities for DR citizens. If the proposed program description is successful then it could be expanded to other islands in the Caribbean including Cuba when US normalize its relationship with Cuba.
Thank you Severino and Guanin Center staff for your invitation.

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Sarah Miller MSU 2009 Hey Seve, I 'm sorry it's taken me so long to get back to you, I'm really bad about going on facebook. I can't believe we've been back in Michigan for so long now. The Dominican Republic is one of the most beautiful and great place Iíve ever been in my life. I recommend the SAS Program and SAS Travel to the Dominican Republic to anybody who has a plan to travel abroad for study or vaction.

It's nice to be home and see my family and friends but I really miss the Dominican I would love to go back if I get a chance. I had a great time on the trip and I really liked the layout of the program and how we were kept busy most of the time with activities but also had time to hang out and walk around the city. I also was glad that new trips and activities were constantly added into the program appreaciated how you always looked for new things that you thought we would enjoy like teaching english at the school in Santo Domingo
How have you been, is your camp for the little kids going well? I hope to talk to you soon and I would realy ike to come visit again soon, I hope I'm able to sometime!!

Kamilah Stinnett MSU 2009

hola Seve!!!

sorry it took me so long to get this to you.

My time in the Dominican Republic was absolutely amazing! I never expected to have so much fun and learn so much at the same time. I learned a lot about myself and the world around me. This was one of the best experiences of my life and I miss it every day, I highly recommend SAS / Severino Polanco and his Agency to be your choice,SAS is a powerful organization, completely competent and able to connect one with the Dominican community at large, they are well organized and fun.

My email is: stinnet6@msu.edu

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KCrystal Stoll MSU 2009

MSU 2009 Video photos

Hi Seve!!!

"Republica Dominicana was such a beautiful island! The people there were so caring and friendly. Students from my study abroad program at Michigan State University got the chance to tutor English a few times at San Lazaro Elementary School in Santo, Domingo. This was a great opportunity especially since I am interested in pursuing a career in Higher Education.

I felt safe, and very well taken care of during my four weeks in the country. Transportation, excusions, tours, classes were always arranged and our accommodations were welcoming and very clean " -Crystal Stoll Michigan State University crystalmsu@live.com

 
Dr. Jerry and Ellie Mednick, Nov 03, 2009 Dear Severino Polanco
Thank you for talking to me on the telephone this afternoon. We found your name listed in an article in International Travel News in June, 2004, by a former client Margo Spears and her husband Joe, from Reno, Nevada. They were connected to you by Alyssa Johnson of SAS Travel and Tours in Santo Domingo.
Since we found your name on the internet, we are communicating with you directly. Having just read Fodor's 2009 Edition on the D.R., we have made a few basic decisions. We are not interested in any of the newer AI resort developments, but rather we are much more interested in the culture, music, food and geography while staying in comfortable, small hotels or B&B's. Pending your recommendations and suggestions our focus would include Santo Domingo, the geography of the South West around Barahona, Santiago and the Cibao Valley and the North Coast around Sosua and Cabarette.

Being baseball fans, we would want to see a baseball game, either in Santo Domingo or San Pedro Macoris. Being Jewish, we would very much like to see the synagogue in Santo Domingo and also the Jewish Museum and synagogue in Sosua. A special treat would be to meet a Jewish family. A very special interest of my wife is hearing live music for listening and dancing. Thank you in advance to your attention and consideration. mednicko@sbcglobal.net
 
Make click in the picture to see the letter
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Amy On a recent cruise trip stopping at Santo Domingo we booked a tour with Severino and could not have been more pleased!!! He was prompt and most helpful in replying to our many pre-cruise e-mail questions!! He met us promptly and pleasantly at the dock and proceeded to take us on a wonderful city tour!!!

Severino was most knowledgable and personable and very accomodating!! as we toured the city we met many people who appeared to,have the highest respect for him!!!! It was a wonderful visit with a wonderful person!! we cannot reccomend him highly enough!!

Bruce and Amy Zeitlin
funmommi@verizon.net

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The Key Learning Community would like to thank you and your organization SAS and Guanin Center, Inc for so beautiful experience and hospitality during our visit to the Dominican Republic. Your efforts made us feel welcome and secure; we did not know Dominican Republic was such a beautiful Island. The people there were so caring and friendly. I have recommended your services to all my college, family and friends and we will definitely go through your institution for the next year program.

We have been working 3 years in Costa Rica, but we did not know Dominica Republic has every thing our students needs. All our trip to the different site project, like transportation, excursions, tours, visit to the orphanage and others places were always well arranged, we felt safe, and very well taken care of during our trip

Elizabeth, one of the students Key Learning:

I learned a lot about myself and the world around me. This was one of the best experiences of my life, we do have too much at home and we do not know how to appreciate. I feel lucky to be born in America, I want to come back definitely and help those kids. And I miss you already Seve, I highly recommend SAS / Severino and Guanin Center, they are a powerful organizations, completely competent and able to connect one with the Dominican community at large, you are fun and well organized.

Face Book photos

 
MSU Medico Group 2010, Professor Dr. Nassari.

1) Ben Marengo, marengob@msu.edu
My experience in the Dominican Republic was phenomenal. The trip exceeded all of my expectations. I would have payed double the cost for the same experiences. I can't wait to go back! Severino you are the best.

2) Aliya Bahjet, bahjetal@msu.edu
The loving, open nature of all the Dominicans I had the pleasure of meeting touched my heart and made me feel welcome in an unfamiliar place. Never before had I been surrounded by so many people radiant with such inner beauty. I adored the bachata and meringue music that played outside my hotel window, lulling me to sleep. Time is never of the essence, which is liberating at times, but not so much when trying to stick to a schedule. Aside from the cultural gems I enjoyed, I witnessed first-hand how people are struggling to survive in places not too far from the more affluent, where you can find fancy movie theaters, a TGIF restaurant, and even a Ferrari dealership. There are plenty of people there who need help, and there are plenty who are able to. I plan to at least do a small part by raising money to go toward buying a basketball hoop for a kids' summer camp. Hopefully they'll practice and improve so much that they'll be able to sneak a field goal past Severino.

3) Katlyn Ruterbusch, ruterbu3@msu.edu
I had the time of my life. Dominicans are so open whether it is with their minds or their hearts. I did not encounter any negative attitudes towards us. I loved everyone I met! The atmosphere was so rich with laughter and love. I have never had an experience such as this one. It was an experience that I will keep very close to my heart. I will not be able to make it back for the summer camp because I am taking summer courses at MSU. (07/01/10-08/04/10) However, I know for sure that I plan on contributing to the basketball hoop. Lastly, thank you so much for everything you did for us Severino! Miss you!:)

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Summer Camp 2013, CIEE Volunteer.

From Annie Greene, Email: angreene@shorecrest.org
Dear CIEE Staff,
I just returned last night from a month in the Dominican Republic, Guanin Community Center in la Pidra. I wanted to write to tell you ALL thank you so much for everything! Thank you for the partial scholarship that made the trip a possibility. Thank you for the wonderful opportunity CIEE provided for me to become a better leader, to improve my Spanish, and most importantly to work with the most BEAUTIFUL children I have ever encountered! I lived with a great host family, and it was so difficult to leave them after just a month! I miss them so much this morning! My peer group was amazing, and I believe I made friendships that will last a lifetime. Nick did a great job of keeping everyone up and excited. Lynne Guitar is one of the most knowledgeable and intelligent people I've had the opportunity to know. She gave depth to the entire CIEE experience. I hope I will be fortunate enough to work with her again in the future! Everyone related to the CIEE experience was so nice and made the trip an experience that will have a lasting impact on me. Despite spending a night in the hospital and enduring a week or so of having a really bad stomach, I wouldn't change a thing about my trip! Thank you to everyone from CIEE who contributed to this opportunity!

Best, Annie Greene :
P.S. Please forward to all CIEE and GUANIN staff who contributed to the planning, organization and implementation of the DR trip! Thanks!

 

 

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