#TBT: Winterim In The Dominican Republic

My Experience by Bianca Drouin ’21

This is the one of an occasional series penned by students. The stories focus on their experiences at Lawrence Academy and within the school’s many programs. Enjoy!

The Mariposa Foundation

For my Winterim, I went to the Dominican Republic, where we worked with little girls and built a structure at The Mariposa Foundation. The Mariposa Foundation takes in girls who live in extreme poverty and gives them better education so they can have a better life than what was laid out for them by their socio-economic status. The Foundation takes girls starting at age 7 through high school graduation. The Foundation began in 2009, and it has grown tremendously since then.

The Maripositas

Every morning, we would get to the Mariposa Foundation at around 8:45 am. The first day, we were split up into groups of five to go to classes with the Maripositas. Every day my group would go to math, then reading, and then sports or board games. I became very close to one of the Maripositas named Katiana. She was adorable, sassy, and full of energy. Wherever we went, she would hold my hand and make sure I never left her side. These girls come from almost nothing, yet they are the happiest I have ever seen a child. They all have such an energy about them that radiated joy and compassion in everything they do.

“Eco-brick” Project

During our time in the Dominican Republic, we built the Maripositas a music room made out of “eco-bricks,” which are water bottles compacted with trash. We used these because of the trash problem in the Dominican. The streets are littered with plastic and garbage that people will throw on the ground, not thinking about how it could affect the environment. Using these “eco-bricks” will help put some of this trash to better use. The Mariposa Foundation paid locals to find water bottles and stuff them with debris. 2,000 bottles were collected, and we used every last one. Each day from around 1pm to 4pm we worked on this structure; by the end of the 10 days we were there, our work was finished!

The Blue Moon Retreat Center

During our stay in the Dominican Republic, we stayed at the Blue Moon Retreat Center. There were four bungalows that we all lived in for 10 days. There was even a saltwater pool next to the huts, where we ate breakfast and dinner. The owner of the Blue Moon would cook our food, which consisted of all different meal styles everyday. The owners live in a house on the top of the hill, which the Blue Moon sits upon. They have two kids named Samuel and Khyla, two dogs named Luna and Rico, and a cat named Cookie. Samuel and Khyla would come down during dinner to eat and hang out with us. They loved spending time with everyone. We all became very close to these kids and loved them just as much as they loved us.


Throughout Winterim, my group became very close. I didn’t know most of the people who came with me to the Dominican, but by the end of it, we were all good friends. Furthermore, this trip really opened my eyes to how good we all have it living in the United States, going to a private school, and having a safe home. As such, I’m so grateful to have had this opportunity and wouldn’t trade anything for this incredible experience.

Check out Bianca’s gallery from the Dominican Republic