Rescue and transformation of children and youth that come from hard situations is complicated work that requires patience, love, and expertise. Using these attributes, our seven schools have developed well deserved reputations for both serving the most needy children in their communities and helping transform their lives over many years.
Most children enter our schools between 3 and 4 years of age. Sometimes they are selected from many applicants solely based on need and generally come from impoverished and dysfunctional families. They are at risk for neglect, malnutrition, undereducation, and various forms of abuse.
When possible, we also admit special needs children, to prevent their mistreatment and provide protection and services which would otherwise be unavailable to them.
We use a holistic approach to help children develop; this includes giving attention to their spiritual, academic, emotional, social, and physical development. In recent years, we have been able to enhance our program by adding resources like Christian psychologists, social workers, dentists, and health care specialists and by offering after-school programs such as sports, discipleship training, English language classes, and parent training.
Our holistic approach helps create an environment of loving care and promotes the development of all aspects of a child’s life. Our schools are recognized by the public education system for their special education capacity and overall excellence, and are generally among the top-performing schools in standardized testing in their districts (despite starting with impoverished, at-risk children). In some of our communities, a Kids Alive child is five times more likely to graduate from high school than a typical Dominican student and six times more likely to be part of a church as an adult.
We greatly appreciate the generous support that allows us to provide this multidisciplinary, holistic approach. We remain excited to see continued transformation in the lives of our students, their families, and even our communities as our schools and programs mature.
Click on an image below to enlarge and read captions
First-grade teacher Berlin creatively poured into her students through videos, messages, calls, and occasional visits during the pandemic. Everyone is excited to celebrate first-grade graduation, “Ya Se Leer” (Now I can read), in person!
These ninth graders are thrilled to have in-person graduation. They will go to another high school next year but will remain in the ANIJA program, which includes weekly club meetings and other youth activities.
Once an ANIJA student herself, Alida, now administrative director of ANIJA School, is not only capable of making events like graduation happen but is also an encouraging friend to staff and students alike.
A foundational tradition at ANIJA: the rising ninth graders march in with the Dominican flag (the only national flag with an open Bible) and the Christian flag. One day we hope to have 12th graders graduate from a Kids Alive school.
Over two decades ago, fourth-grade teacher Milagros started her career at ANIJA and is thrilled to walk alongside students through academic and life challenges. With a big smile behind her mask, this student proudly sports the Academic Excellence award.
From the smallest to the oldest, everyone is thrilled to be back on campus for soccer practices. This new sports roof has been a blessing during the pandemic, and we hope to see it used much more in the days to come. Thanks to our generous supporters!
Only 10% of public-school students in Jarabacoa graduate from high school. In sharp contrast, and despite our students coming from high-risk situations, over 80% of ANIJA students graduate from high school. Many go on to university on a Kids Alive scholarship, breaking cyclical poverty.
Many places in the DR find Dominicans and Haitians at odds, given a long and violent history between the countries. At ANIJA, God’s unconditional love is not only taught but modeled. These girls are close friends and soccer teammates.
Pastor Geury distributes food to school families from the ANIJA bakery window. Geury, who teaches computers on weekdays at ANIJA, opened his church so ANIJA students could access the internet to receive and send their study materials.
Director Ann VanDerMolen (far left) valiantly led her staff and students through a challenging year. She and the staff equipped and trained these ninth graders with technology and internet access while ensuring their families’ basic needs were met.