A few years ago, I learned about an organization called Children of the Nations (COTN) that “provides holistic, Christ-centered care for orphaned and destitute children, enabling them to create positive and lasting change in their nations.” COTN currently focuses their efforts in Sierra Leone, Malawi, Uganda, the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Liberia. I was immediately impressed by their mission and wanted to help, but how? I am not a doctor or dentist, with the ability to offer medical care and treatment. I am certainly not skilled in construction with any building or contractor resources.
Then one day, I received the monthly COTN eNewsletter that shared a story about Casa Bethesda and this called to me. In a nutshell, Casa Bethesda is the COTN mission center in the Dominican Republic that serves as base camp for their traveling venture participants. The property is also used to host COTN community and ministry events. COTN’s goal is to use this complex as a location for teens and young adults interested in the hospitality industry to complete internships by gaining experience and building their resumes to gain work within the fast growing hospitality industry in the Dominican Republic. I couldn’t believe it when I read this: COTN was asking for help in the hospitality industry. Not medical. Not construction. But, hospitality. I felt like this article was addressed to me and I knew it was time to get involved.
Having worked in hospitality for essentially my entire life, I now feel compelled to share this story with everyone in the industry. I am confident that together we can make a difference. How can you help?
Casa Bethesda is desperately in need of repair and renovation, which has been broken down into two phases:
1) kitchen renovation and construction of the dining hall and 2) additional housing. Specifically, Casa Bethesda needs support in several different ways:
1. Financial Donations: Simply put, we need money to make things happen. The budget for Phase 1 is $61,054, with Phase 2 estimated at over $100,000. But, funding for these expansion projects does not come from COTN’s regular operating expenses, so we are relying strictly on charitable donations from individuals and organizations like you.
2. Resources: COTN regularly sends a large shipment of necessary supplies to the Dominican Republic. Just last year, we fulfilled some items on the Casa Bethesda “wish list” by shipping new mattresses, bedding supplies, couches, serving dishes, draperies…even down to a new coffee maker. Do you have access to new or gently used hospitality related equipment or materials that could be donated? Items that seem unusable in your organization may be considered a treasure at Casa Bethesda.
3. Sharing: Our industry is a powerful network. Are you a member or leader of an organization or association where you could share the Casa Bethesda story? What other communication modes do you have access to (such as trade publications, advertising, website, social media) that can help us “get the word out”? Can you think of at least one other person or organization?
4. Time, Talent & Training: The current Casa Bethesda staff has no formal hospitality training; they are simply loyal, hard-working locals who are making their best efforts to operate Casa Bethesda as efficiently as possible. Additionally, young adults from neighboring villages seek internship opportunities to gain hospitality specific work experience. We are planning to bring a venture team to Casa Bethesda to provide education and guidance in all operational aspects – housekeeping, food & beverage, security, grounds maintenance, front desk, bookkeeping, technology systems, and more. Do you have personnel (especially Spanish speaking) that would be able to share their knowledge and skills with the staff and youth at Casa Bethesda?
Again, I am reaching out to the entire hospitality industry for help with this worthwhile cause. I am dedicated to fulfilling this mission and have given my personal commitment to Chris Clark, the Founder and President of COTN, that the hospitality industry will respond in support of the Casa Bethesda expansion.
Want to learn more about Children of the Nations and Casa Bethesda? Please visit the COTN website or the Giving Back page on the Libra OnDemand website to see photos and read more. Then, take the next step by offering your support. This is a call to action. Please consider making a financial or resource donation. Help spread the word to others and join our team. Please get involved in whatever method is the right fit for you. Please don’t pass this article by – just do it! For further information, please contact email@example.com.
I realize there are countless worthwhile charitable causes in the world. But rarely do we find a project in need of support through the specific resources, skills, donations and networks of the hospitality industry. Through COTN, we can collectively improve the operations at Casa Bethesda and ultimately change lives by giving them “a hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11).
Will you join me on this hospitality mission?