Impact travel with Fathom to give, grow and play.
It’s hard to believe it’s been just a week since Fathom’s Inaugural Voyage to the Dominican Republic. It was a meaningful and rich experience in so many ways. I’ve returned feeling blessed, energized and inspired to keep the positive momentum going. Below are highlights from my week on the Adonia and in the Dominican Republic.
Impact Activities and the Results
While in-country, we had the opportunity to participate in an array of diverse activities which were created and led in collaboration with in-country partners, Entrena and IDDI. My schedule from Tuesday to Friday consisted of half-day sessions working side-by-side with Dominican community members and like-minded travelers.
Reforestation and Nursery (IDDI)
- Reforestation efforts designed to restore degraded land, contribute to forest and wildlife conservation throughout the region, and improve the livelihoods of Dominican families. A literal example of rolling up your sleeves and getting your hands dirty to get things done!
Student English Conversation and Learning (Entrena)
- English is one of the skills most in demand by local employers, however, Dominican children face many obstacles to academic success. We had the opportunity to visit a local school and work with students and teachers using formalized curriculum and activities. The five-year vision is to enable more than 2,200 students to achieve a working proficiency in English to equip them for better jobs thereby raising the income level of their families.
Recycled Paper & Crafts Entrepreneurship (IDDI)
- These enterprising Dominican women create and sell arts and crafts from locally recycled paper. In addition, they make hand-crafted candles and jewelry. The entrepreneurship creates a critical source of income and empowerment for these local women and their families.
We had the opportunity to learn the crafts from the women, contribute on the projects – and – have fun in the midst of it all with singing and dancing.
Cacao and Women’s Chocolate Cooperative (IDDI)
- Cacao is an important source of income for the Puerto Plata region and it is the focus of his local women’s cooperative. Our group spent the morning learning about the process and then contributing at various stages of production cycle – from preparing the raw materials to packaging the final product. We were also happy to sample a bit of our work as well! By helping to improve production and increase sales, the vision is to help the organization grow, hire more local women thereby providing valuable employment and income opportunities.
You may be wondering how much we were able to accomplish during the trip. Here are just a few highlights from Fathom on what was accomplished during our three days ashore:
- Helped nearly 650 students and community members further their English-language capabilities
- Planted more than 2,400 trees
- Cleaned more than 200 pounds of cacao nibs and wrapped more than 6,000 chocolate bars
In addition, I had the opportunity to mix-in some rejuvenating ‘joy-time’ as well. From the selection of shore excursions, I enjoyed a lovely afternoon at the beach and a catamaran sail/snorkel adventure with my new Fathom ‘tribe’. A wonderful opportunity to combine social impact contribution with leisure travel and exploration.
Inaugural Voyage: My three key take-aways
In reflection of the overall experience, there are three main reasons this trip was so meaningful and unique:
- Making a positive difference: The opportunity to help others help themselves – and knowing it is a part of a bigger impact given the Fathom global impact model and partnership with IDDI and Entrena.
- Connection: Meeting and working with local people and like-minded travelers. These personal connections and experiences are what I’ll hold in my mind and heart forever.
- AND vs. OR: For those considering a traditional vacation -or- a service trip, Fathom allows you to have both. This experience combines the two in a very thoughtful way enabling travelers to give, grow & play.
Many thanks to Tara Russell and the entire Fathom team for an amazing inaugural voyage and an experience to remember for a life-time!
Below are resources for additional information:
GIVEjoy interview with Tara Russell – Fathom Founder, President and Global Impact Lead