In addition to providing capital to low-cost schools in the Dominican Republic, Edify works to ensure that all schools owners and directors that we work with have access to training and resources that will help them deliver an outstanding, Christ-centered education. This past weekend, 76 school owners and directors gathered at a quiet retreat center, high in the mountains, in the town of La Vega for a 2-day retreat. Each of the participants have received a loan from Edify’s partner ASPIRE. It doesn’t matter whether the loan was $20,000 or $1,000, all who received a loan were given the opportunity to join in this retreat which was accurately called “Transformados” or “Transformed”.
The first session began slowly. Despite the presenter’s enthusiastic attempt to engage the audience, no one quite knew how to act or perhaps they were fearful of answering a question incorrectly in front of their peers. However, the speaker was relentless and continued to break the ice with a healthy mix of humor, personal stories, and lively worship songs. Soon the austere room full of school owners was alive with energy, laughter, and sense of comradery. One could not help but be impressed at the passion and sincerity with which these people devoured new information and also shared their wealth of knowledge with one another.
Over the course of the two days the foremost leaders on Christian education in the Dominican Republic encouraged these school entrepreneurs to keep Christ at the center of their teachings, as this is how the lives of tomorrow’s leaders will be transformed. Lester Flaquer with the Association of Christian Schools International challenged school directors to avoid dualism by integrating Christ into every class, setting the bar high for hiring Christian teachers, and holding the authority of the Bible above the authority and teachings of the world.
This group of 76 men and women are some of the many founders and directors of the low-cost, private schools that are shaping the minds and hearts of students around the world. Their thirst to continue learning and to put into practice what they have learned is inspiring. The dialogue and challenging questions I heard coming from the directors was evidence of the transformation and growth that has begun and will continue to be passed along to the teachers and students in each of their schools. Please pray for the school owners and directors that partook in this event and for the continued transformation that will happen in their schools as they focus on bringing a Christ-centered education to the youth in the Dominican Republic.