Social Entrepreneur Corps intern Paige Gillen administers an eye exam during a community access campaign in Los Botados.

As our one week Social Entrepreneur Corps Winter Break Impact program in the Dominican Republic drew to a close at the end of last week, I found myself walking around Santo Domingo’s historic Colonial Zone with my colleague, Lia, and two of our Social Entrepreneur Corps interns, Helen and Silvia. Although the program had officially ended the day before, the two women had opted to stay an extra day and take in the city before heading back to the United States. It was then that we ran into an old friend of mine from the Peace Corps. After the introductions, he turned to Helen and asked, “So, where did you go?” Instead of answering, she just stood there, looking at him. “Come on, Helen! Don’t tell me you forgot the names of the places already,” I joked. “No,” she replied, “it’s just that we’ve done so much!”

In just over a week’s time, our three interns, Paige Gillen, Helen Fan and

The Social Entrepreneur Corps team gathers around the table during a lull in the campaign, which netted about $27.00, or what an average agricultural worker would earn in three days.

Silvia Chen, visited 8 distinct locations, met with 11 Dominican entrepreneurs, and participated in 2 community access campaigns that served over 80 clients. They helped to administer over 30 eye exams and facilitated the sale of over 50 products that will help people to drink clean water, read books without straining their eyes, light their homes when the power goes out and protect their families from mosquitos when they sleep at night. They made use of their unique strengths and college backgrounds to contribute to an in-depth analysis of our ongoing operations in the field. Helen asked insightful and hard-hitting questions. Silvia connected with children wherever we went. Paige brought the whole group up with her smile and unfailing positive attitude.

We are sad to see them go, but so grateful for the shared experience of working with them over this past week. We wish them the best of luck as they continue their college careers and remind them that they’ll always have a home in the Dominican Republic.