While the Dominican Republic might be better known to Americans as a hot-spot for beach vacations, the stories of the people who live there tell a much different story. Home to more than 10 million people, the Dominican Republic is considered one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere. While the service industry/tourism has long been considered the main commodity of the Dominican Republic, the global economic crisis has decreased this industry.
Much of the Dominican Republic is beautiful to the eye, but the reality is that a staggering number of adults and children struggling to survive.
Helping the Children
These conditions leave hundreds of thousands of children desperately in need of care and destined to repeat the cycle of poverty.
Currently, Kids Alive provides an education, nutritious meals, medical care and the love of Christ to more than 1,500 children in the Dominican Republic. This life changing care happens in our children’s homes, schools and care centers.
Support Bill and Juliana Hansen
Bill and Juliana Hansen
Bill and Juliana Hansen serve as the Directors of the Harmony Home in Jarabacoa, Dominican Republic. They have over 20 years of experience in children’s ministry. Bill is a former director of the ANIJA program, and was instrumental in establishing Kids Alive International in the Dominican Republic. In 2002 they started the Constanza Children’s Home for children who had lost at least one parent. The name was changed to Harmony Home when the ministry moved from Constanza to Jarabacoa in 2005. Bill was born in New Jersey, and Juliana is a native of Jarabacoa. The Hansen’s two adult daughters – Carolina and Sally – make their homes in the U.S.
“We want what we do to last for eternity. We hope that we can provide love, security and hope for the children in our care so that they will have a better life. Our prayer is that each child would become a Christian and grow up to raise their own Christian family.” Bill and Juliana Hansen
Support Jan Burkey
Jan Burkey first came to the Dominican Republic as a missionary, serving as Assistant Director/Teacher at the Ark Children’s Home from 1989-1993, before that ministry joined Kids Alive® International in 1993. She is presently Director of the Palo Blanco Care Center with a goal to reach hurting children-in-crisis for Christ.
Jan comes from Albany, Oregon, where her dad is a retired educator and pastor and her mother is a retired radiologist. She holds a joint Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education degree from George Fox University and Western Oregon State College, taught elementary school in Christian schools for six years and Bible school during the summer at the Deer Lake (Ontario) Canadian Indian Reservation. Jan also served as Dean of Girls at Western Mennonite High School, the school from which she graduated.
She has a brother, two sisters, and 15 nieces and nephews. Time permitting; Jan enjoys cross-stitch, making photo memory albums and a good book.
“My desire is to bring hope and change - not to just one child in a family - but to the entire family and community. The preschool is also is an avenue of support to the local church and its programs.” Jan Burkey
Support Kami West de Ciprian
Kami West de Ciprian
Kami West de Ciprian and Romulo Ciprian met while leading a Bible study in one of the poorer communities on the outskirts of Constanza, Dominican Republic. They worked together in the Kids Alive children's home in Constanza. After marrying in 2009, God opened up the opportunity for them to start a children's program in the capital city of Santo Domingo. They have been in Santo Domingo since 2009, during which time both the children's program and their family have grown. In 2010, their son, Robert David was born. The children's program has grown steadily to a total of 30 children so far. Kami is originally from Merrillville, Indiana and has a degree in Education from Moody Bible Institute. Romulo is orginally from Constanza, Dominican Republic.
Support Kerry and Milagros Dougan
Kerry and Milagros Dougan
Kerry and Milagros Dougan met at the Kids Alive Life Education Center in Jarabacoa in 1993, when Milagros was teaching there and Kerry came on a two week mission trip. They were married one year later and returned to the DR a year after that with their newborn daughter Sarah. Kerry originally taught English and now directs the school curriculum, while he and Milagros have successfully begun AWANA Bible club ministries in Anija and and elsewhere around the country.
Kerry hails from a Christian family in Madison, Indiana. He studied chemical engineering at Purdue University and has worked for Bethlehem Steel, as well as being involved with Prison Fellowship and various other ministries. Milagros was born in San Juan de la Maguana, DR. She became a Christian at the age of 12 and, upon finishing high school, studied three years in the seminary Instituto Bíblico el Caribe. She also studied education in la Universidad Cathólico Santo Domingo, and was the first teacher for Kids Alive´s newly-opened Life Education Center, now Anija Education Center. Kerry and Milagros have three children: Sarah, Oliver and Alina.
Support Vic and Leslie Trautwein
Vic and Leslie Trautwein
Vic and Leslie Trautwein came to Kids Alive International from
“Working in this ministry is important to me because I believe the rescue and transformation of children’s lives is important to God. I believe He cares about each child's life and that the work of serving children is pleasing to Him. I am grateful for how God has blessed me and my family, and that He wants to use the abilities and experiences that He has given me to help in His work.” Vic Trautwein
Support Jeff and Ann VanDerMolen
Jeff and Ann VanDerMolen
Jeff and Ann VanDerMolen joined the Kids Alive staff in 1997, originally to assist with construction of the Ark Children’s Home. Jeff is currently serving as Regional Director overseeing the work in the
“ I get to touch people's lives every day and see the changes that occur in a child's life when they are able to live in a safe, loving place. It allows me to use my skills in various ways every day. I can share my love for Christ, work with children, work with staff and teams, and be involved in the expansion of new ministry sites.” Jeff VanDerMolen
Support Emily Miller
Emily Miller has been serving the children of Caraballo since 2009. A graduate of the Wheaton College Conservatory of Music, Emily discovered Kids Alive when she served as a Summer Intern at the Park Care Center in 2007. She has worked in various roles at the Care Center, including Sponsorship Coordinator, ESL teacher, and first grade teacher, but her primary focus is on improving the Care Center's Early Education program (K-2). She is passionate about literacy and cultivating a love of learning in children. For the 2012-13 school year, Emily is on furlough in Philadelphia, studying to obtain her Master's in Elementary Education, so that she can return to Caraballo better equipped to work on educational development.
Support Brian and Emily Veen
Brian and Emily Veen
Brian and Emily Veen are from Grand Rapids, Michigan. Brian has been serving with Kids Alive in the Dominican Republic as Short-Term Team Host since the fall of 2009. They will be working together as Short-Term Team Hosts and Team Coordinators.
Brian graduated from Taylor University with a Spanish and International Studies Major, and a Christian Missions Minor. After studying abroad in Spain and Bolivia, participating and leading various mission trips, and volunteering with his high school youth group, Brian felt called back to the Dominican Republic where he had visited on 3 mission trips.
Emily graduated from Michigan State University with a K-12 teaching certificate in Spanish, English as a Second Language, and elementary education. Emily participated in many short-term mission trips, volunteered with her high school youth group, studied abroad in Ecuador, and led short term mission teams in Mexico, Jamaica, and Honduras.
Brian and Emily are excited to serve together in the Dominican Republic and work with short-term mission teams.
Support Katie Green
Katie joined the ministry in Jarabacoa in August 2010 as a short-term missionary. She grew up in Baraboo, Wisconsin. She graduated from Judson College with a psychology degree and an MA in counseling from Asbury Seminary in 2007. Katie is a Licensed Professional Counselor and has worked with youth in different capacities for many years.
Katie is currently the Sponsorship Coordinator for the Ark. She spends her days at ANIJA and will be using her counseling degree in various ways with our kids in the future.
Support Derrick and Katie Allen
Derrick and Katie Allen
Derrick and Katie Allen have served in the Dominican Republic as teachers and feel the Lord is calling them to return to the same town to serve with Kids Alive. God has really given them a burden to work with the students. They are thrilled to have the opportunity to demonstrate God's love to the children on a daily bases.
Support Paul and Marcie Cooper
Paul and Marcie Cooper
Paul and Marcie Cooper have been working with Kids Alive in Jarabacoa off and on since 2004. Since 2009, Paul has been directing the ANIJA campus and Marcie has been the Service Team Coordinator.
They have three young children: Melia, Joshua, and their newest, Justin, who was born in the Dominican Republic.
Paul graduated from University of Windsor with degrees in Human Kinetics and Education. Marcie earned a degree in Inter-Cultural Religious Studies from Trinity Western University and an Education Degree from University of Windsor. While teaching in Toronto, Ontario for the several years they were involved in a Spanish Baptist Church, Iglesia Bautista Castellana. They love the children and people in the Dominican Republic and they are thrilled to be part of the Kids Alive team in Jarabacoa.
Support Mallory Cunningham
Mallory is from Raleigh, NC and graduated from the University of North Carolina Wilmington in May 2009 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communication Studies. After serving on a mission trip in Peru through Kids Alive in the summer of 2010, she fell in love with the mission and felt called to serve somewhere for a longer period of time. Mallory will be serving primarily as a Sponsorship Coordinator in the DR for two years starting in the fall of 2011.
Support The O'Brien Family
The O'Brien Family
The O'Brien family has partnered with Kids Alive to help rescue abused, abandoned, and exploited children. Fred(husband) was born in Columbia; Kasandra (wife), Giovanni (14) and Emily (9) were all born in Puerto Rico; Samuel (12) was born in Massachusetts and Miranda (7) was born in Connecticut. After five years of serving God in the Dominican Republic through one week mission trips, He provided this family the opportunity to serve Him with a two year commitment in Constanza. God has blessed them so they can bless others.
Support Kaela Precourt
Kaela is from Boulder, Colorado. She received a MA in Educational Psychology in 2009 from the University of Colorado and has been teaching preschool and elementary science since 2001. Kaela worked as an intern with Kids Alive for two summers (2010 and 2011) and felt called to return longer term. She is excited to serve at the Constanza Care Center and support the math and science curriculum.
Support Lauren McKinley
Lauren graduated from Indiana Wesleyan University in Marion, IN in the spring of 2011 with a bachelor's degree in Elementary Education. This past year she has been an ESL program teacher for preschoolers of refugee families through World Relief in her hometown of Wheaton, IL. Having been raised in a family involved in international sports ministry through soccer, she developed a love for traveling and using common interests as a way to share Christ's love. As she grew into a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ, he placed heavily on her heart the need for teachers in overseas ministry.
She will be joining the team in Jarabacoa at the ANIJA campus where she will serve as an English teacher and assisting in the child sponsorship program. She is blessed by the opportunity the Lord has given her with Kids Alive to serve God's children in the Dominican Republic till 2014!
Support Emily Bill
Emily is from Pontiac, Illinois and a 2010 graduate of Moody Bible Institute. She has felt God's call to missions since a young age. She was first introduced to Kids Alive on a service team to Constanza, Dominican Republic and later as a summer intern.
God has given her a passion for children and teenagers affected by poverty and injustice. She is excited to join what Jesus is doing in the Dominican Republic by serving as a Sponsorship Coordinator for two years!
Support Karen Lithgow
Karen is from Western Pennsylvania originally, but has lived in Northern Virginia for most of her life. She completed both her undergraduate and her graduate studies at James Madison University. She studied Elementary Education, ESL, and Spanish. She received a Masters of Arts in Teaching and is anxious to use her skills as she serves God’s children in the Dominican Republic!
God has given Karen a heart for loving at risk children. She heard about Kids Alive during a short term missions trip to the Dominican Republic with her church. She is excited to spend the next two years teaching English, among other subjects, to the children of Caraballo.
Support Chrissy Finlay
Chrissy Finlay joined Kids Alive as a missionary in May 2012. Growing up in Guelph, Ontario, early on Chrissy had a love for working with children and was drawn towards missions. Only after serving with Kids Alive in the DR on a service team with her church, did Chrissy feel a confirmation of God’s calling to serve as a Short Term Missionary there.
Chrissy is currently working as Sponsorship Assistant in the Constanza ministry, providing teaching/tutoring support at the school, and coordinating various projects with the children and visiting work teams.
Support James and Rebekah Holt
James and Rebekah Holt
James and Rebekah have been serving in inner city Philadelphia at Urban Hope Community Church and Training Center where James has been working for the past 10 years as the youth pastor and worship leader. During that time they have had the privilege of seeing God change even very hardened lives through Jesus.
James met Rebekah through a mutual friend while she was serving with Kids Alive at the Eva M Russell School in Monte Plata. She first began as a summer intern in 2003, but after returning for several summers, realized that God was calling her there long term. When they met, she had been living in Monte Plata for three years.
After their 2010 wedding, Rebekah moved to Philly to work alongside James in the ministry at Urban Hope, but they felt that God would soon call them to overseas ministry. When the opportunity to serve as Directors of Casa Monte Plata, the children's home near the school where Rebekah had worked, they realized that the time to go had come.
In February of 2012, two years to the day from when they first met, they welcomed their son, Elliot David, into their home. They are looking forward to raising him with his many Dominican brothers and sisters at Casa Monte Plata.
The Holts are anticipating leaving their home in Philly after Thanksgiving to attend Missionary training and language school with the goal of arriving in Monte Plata the beginning of 2013.
Support Kelsey Pruitt
Kelsey Pruitt is from Little Rock, Arkansas. She graduated from the University of Arkansas in Little Rock in December of 2011. Since graduation, she has been teaching third grade for the North Little Rock School District.
Kelsey’s first mission trip overseas was to the Dominican Republic through Kids Alive International in 2004. After several mission trips to the Dominican Republic, God has called her to live and serve in the Dominican Republic full-time. She will be working at the Palo Blanco Care Center, serving as an English teacher and tutor for other subjects.
Support Alex Wines
Alex Wines made his first visit to the Dominican Republic on a spring break trip during 2012 to the Ark in Constanza. After returning for another week during the summer, Alex felt led to spend a longer period of time serving in the Dominican Republic. Starting in August 2013, Alex will be teaching English in the school in Monte Plata.
Support Kristin Barber
Kristin grew up in Phoenix, Arizona. She first visited the Dominican Republic with her youth group in 2005. After four short-term mission trips to the country, Kristin is confident about God's call to serve in the Dominican Republic full-time. Kristin graduated from Arizona State University in 2009 with a degree in multicultural and multilingual elementary education. She has served as a public school teacher for the past four years in Arizona. She will be joining Kids Alive as an English teacher and Math instructional coach at the Eva Russell School in Monte Plata in August, 2013.
Support Brian and Angie Barber
Brian and Angie Barber
Brian and Angie are from Valparaiso, Indiana. They have served extensively in their home church working with children. Feeling called to serve abroad, they visited the Dominican Republic with a small group in the fall of 2012. After touring multiple sites, Brian and Angie confirmed the calling and decided to pursue long-term roles in the Dominican Republic. They are excited to serve together working in children’s ministry.