On Mission: Serving the Dominican Republic as ONE TEAM
A crew of 26 Laser Spine Institute employees arrived in the Dominican Republic with 28 pieces of luggage in tow. Those bags were brimming with nearly 1,400 pounds of clothing and shoes given by Laser Spine Institute’s ONE TEAM. The group’s mission was simple: to help as many people as possible during the six-day venture.
Although known as a popular tourist destination, a lesser-known story is the country’s utter desolation. Areas of the Dominican Republic feature broken glass, dirty syringes and feces littering dirt streets.
“The most difficult part of the trip was seeing children in poor villages living in an unclean environment without clean drinking water, little food and walking around naked,” remembered Tamara Oglesby, a Medical Care Screener at Laser Spine Institute Tampa.
The Laser Spine Institute mission trip team—working with SCORE International, an organization that has helped more than 25,000 people participate in short-term mission trips—sought to bring hope to those in the Dominican Republic by visiting underprivileged areas and bringing food, clothing and medical care.
“Any chance to interact with the children was one of the most rewarding opportunities,” said Michael Brinkman, Offline Media Specialist at Laser Spine Institute Tampa. “We did not need to bring them video games or take them to Disney. Simply taking the time to give them attention brought smiles to their faces.”
The streets are filled with children of all ages who roam around without adult supervision. In the Dominican Republic, children are not permitted to attend school if they cannot afford school uniforms, leaving many children unsupervised throughout the day and uneducated in life. Through funds raised by Laser Spine Institute’s ONE TEAM, 50 children were provided with school uniforms.
“One lady expressed to us that her mother had to work a full month just to afford to buy her a pair of shoes as a child to attend school,” recalled Lisandra Tejada, Spine Care Consultant at Laser Spine Institute Tampa.
This mission trip is just one more way that the Laser Spine Institute ONE TEAM bonded together to help those in the world around us. The funds raised helped to provide:
- 62 meals
- 40 jugs of water
- 25 snacks
- 1 pizza party
- School supplies for 75 children
- 170 arts and crafts
- 50+ school uniforms
- 50+ pairs of shoes
- 50+ hair accessories
- 8 basketballs
- 2 basketball nets
- Hundreds of toothbrushes from Coast Dental
Many Laser Spine Institute teammates found that despite the area’s lack of cleanliness and simple things such as electricity and clean water, most children were cheerful.
We were most impacted by how children around the world are happy, even with nothing.
Although the Laser Spine Institute team was only in the Dominican Republic for a short time, the efforts have created an eternal impact.