Early in 2016 it was announced that American Name Services would be giving a “bonus” to each member of the ANS team for meeting our 2015 sales goal. The bonus was to be used to fund an ANS trip for each employee and a guest. Over the next several months, we will give a brief summary of where our employees have ventured.
Collette is the head of Accounting at American Name Services. She used her ANS trip bonus to go on a humanitarian trip in the Dominican Republic with her husband, Shane. She summarizes her trip below.
Shane and I were invited to travel to Puerto Plata in the DR with our son Colton and his business partner Josh and their families. Early on they had decided they wanted to do a humanitarian project and take used baseball equipment with them. What started out as 10 people going on a trip ended up with 27 people going. Each person checked an extra bag filled with baseball equipment, shirts, hats, mitts, balls and bats as well as clothing, 100 “Girls Days” hygiene kits, candy and several thousand dollars used to buy food packs. Josh’s son Hayden used this opportunity to complete his Eagle Scout project and collected a lot of items and money from businesses and friends. Lehi City recreation donated all of their old equipment that no longer met the requirements. A Stake President (from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) in Puerto Plata was contacted and arrangements were made with him to invite 50 families in his area to meet us at a church where these items, as well as a large bag of food for each family, would be given out. The people were so sweet and loving and very appreciative of the gifts given them. One women told us (through an interpreter) that if we came to her house right now we would not find one grain of rice. Now she had food to feed her family for a week! It truly was a very humbling experience. Many hugs were given. I so wished I knew Spanish to be able to converse with them instead of just nodding my head and smiling.
The second part of our project happened within a village. Last fall this area in the DR was hit badly with heavy rains and many homes were washed away, as well as lives lost. We met a woman who founded, Starfish Foundation. The foundation helps build homes for people in this area. Their focus had been rebuilding several homes that had washed away in the rains. Also, in this area baseball is huge. Every boy dreams of becoming the next player to make it to the big leagues. In this village area there is a makeshift baseball field in what is basically a dump. When we arrived there we went directly to the field. There were around 20 boys, junior high to high school age practicing ball. They had 2 baseball mitts and a couple of bats and a few balls for the whole team. Most boys were playing barefoot. The boys typically use a hat to catch a ball when playing in the outfield. We had enough jersey’s and hats for two teams as well as a complete set of catchers’ gear, about 20 bats, mitts and balls. We handed them out, divided into two teams and played several innings of ball with them. These boys were great ball players. Everyone could hit way into the outfield and they were also great fielders. I saw such huge smiles on their faces as they each received their own equipment. When we arrived there was a group of younger kids playing also. They had no bats or balls and they were using a 2×2 board as a bat and rocks as balls. Because we had all sizes of equipment they also received some equipment. We passed out candy to the little ones who were thrilled with the treat. The little kids were very loving. They wanted to be held and played with. They immediately bonded with the kids in our group. It didn’t matter that there was a language barrier, they played together and had a great time. My granddaughters had a hard time parting with a couple of the girls who immediately attached themselves to my granddaughters. After the ball game we were able to tour their village and see the new homes that were being built. A couple invited us into their home. I think three of these home would fit in my family room. They typically housed 5-10 people. They were very sparse in furniture and few had an inside toilet. Sheets hung for doors and mattresses lay on the floor with nothing on them. Many were lucky to have electricity. We each contributed $50 and again provided a bag of food for 50 families. It was heartbreaking to have to turn people away when we ran out of food. I know it was such a small amount and helped so few people but I would like to think that it made a difference even if just for that day.
Besides doing the service projects, I was able to spend an amazing birthday being pampered and spoiled. We even did a river jump where we climbed up a mountain and jumped or slid down 12 falls. The falls were anywhere from 5 feet to 30 feet high and depending on the water depth, you jumped or slid. The rest of the time was spent at an amazing resort, relaxing, enjoying the sun, playing in the ocean, enjoying time with some family and friends, and of course eating way too much food.
Thank you ANS for providing me with the opportunity to go on this trip and also to everyone who donated to our project. The group is already talking about next year……