Continuous Improvement – Beautification and Education

It is amazing that while planning ahead, dates can seem long and far away. That’s how I felt when I returned to Toronto, on July 1st. I had a whole five weeks to rest and get a few things done before heading back on August 5th.  As it turned out, those five weeks were very short and went by very quickly.

Well August 5th is here and I am heading back to Puerto Plata.

There are a number of projects to be completed before the first day of school on September 8th. Registration has begun and so far we have just under 30 students registered.  We are expecting more students during the next week. Scheduled during this time are: two professional development seminars; repairs of desks and benches; painting the interior and exterior of the school; rearranging the pantry/library, and getting the uniforms sown. If it seems a lot, it really is, would not mind a few more helping hands!!

Picking up paint
Picking up paint
Putting the paint to use
Putting the paint to use
Getting to the hard to reach places
Paul getting to the hard to reach places
The "New and Improved" New Horizon School
The “New and Improved” New Horizon School

This year will be different as school will be full time for the first time, as opposed to two half-days,  being run in the mornings and afternoons.

Paul, Arlene, and some of the New Horizon Team
Paul, Arlene, and some of the New Horizon Team
Improved educational strategies with help from our valued volunteers
Improved educational strategies with help from Patricia, a valued volunteer
Health and Safety Training Seminar
Teacher Professional Development Seminar

Stay tuned for more update!

Next Fundraising Event – November 16, 2014

On July 10th the team met to continue the planning session for the upcoming 2nd Chance International Annual Fundraising Event. It promises to be an exciting event as we share with you our experiences and achievements throughout the year, and our future plans. We know that you have been tracking our path-to-success on our blog and we will continue to keep you informed as we enter the 2014-2015 school year.

Our team – Lydia Keen, Sandra Thomas, Darlene Thompson, Fran Musial, Arlene Belle, Jim Horner, Dave Williams, and Julie Finlay, are excited about our upcoming event.   Plan to spend the afternoon with us as we continue to track the progress of The New Horizon School in Munoz.

Here are the details for this year’s fundraising event:

When:     Sunday, November 16, 2014
Where:   The Carib Club
600 Wentworth Street E, Oshawa, ON

stay tuned for further information.

The end of another school year


Ah yes, another school year is almost over!

But before it comes to a close, the dreaded final exams that mark the end of studying and the beginning of a fun-packed summer must be completed. The same can be said of the New Horizon School. Some kids, I think, would rather have a root canal than write exams. It’s interesting to see the different dynamics at play as the school year winds down.

The children are very adventurous. This summer break, so many hours will be spent in the local river and at the beach. It’s mango season, so others will be busy climbing mango trees looking for the ripest and juiciest mangoes. Occasionally, some will drop by the school looking to see if there is anything available to eat!

The tradition at the end of the school year is for a meeting to be called with the parents and for the teachers to then hand out the grade cards so parents can see the progress their children made over the last several months.

While the children are off playing and being adventurous, we will be busy repairing benches and desks, among other things, and preparing the teachers for the 2014-2015 school year.

Thank you all for giving the children in the Munoz community a chance for a better future.

Continuous Improvement Report – Health and Hygiene

It took a while but we were finally able to refurbish the bathroom at The New Horizon School. There is only one toilet at the school and it was in disrepair for a while, as the internal mechanism was broken.  The hand basin was broken after it had fallen off the wall as the screws were loose.

Old Wasroom

Thanks to our donors/supporters we were able to replace both units in the bathroom as well as install the faucet in the Kitchen. These repairs enhance our chances of improving and maintaining a higher level of hygiene at the facility.

New Washroom 1New Washroom 2New-sink-toilet

We also took the opportunity to install a faucet in the kitchen. This was long overdue as it eliminated the need to transport water into the kitchen.

Water in Kitchen


June 2014 – Utilizing what Nature provides

It’s been five days since the last drop of water drained from the taps in Munoz. Those who are fortunate to have water tanks coped with the situation  a lot  better than those without.  Although the water is not potable, it is used for sanitary purposes. We do have drums that we keep filled to be used when the water stops running for a day or so, but this is an extended period.

With the roof recently patched, the heavy downpour today was timely as we were able to fill our drums and put the washroom back into full usage.


Helping where we can – Draw your own conclusions

Asked what his plans are for the summer, Fernando said that he will be an understudy to the local painter who sells his paintings to tourists along the beach. Well, I thought that I would give him an opportunity to practice so I commissioned him to do my portrait! Before he could get started, his friend Martin joined him, so they both took on the challenging assignment. Let me see … umm. Well, you be the judge!



June 2014 – Assisting with the sustainability of the Community

There are a number of industrious individuals in the Munoz community who are always seeking a way of improving their standard of living. Throughout the community, there are little convenience stores where items can be purchased in various quantities and poundage.  It  is also not unusual to see the women with a basket of fruits on their heads, walking through the community. As far as economically possible, we purchase our fruits, and other supplies locally. The students are provided with a serving of fruit daily such as mangoes, bananas, melons,  and  pineapple which are grown locally.  Our local fruit supplier is Mama.

IMG_2797IMG_3074 Eating Mangoes

May 2014 – More beautification and safety improvements

The front steps were a hazard for our students and visitors entering and leaving the school as it was in the form of a steep ramp. Last week the hazard was eliminated as the steps were repaired.Front-stairs-Edit

The only consistency with the electrical service is the fact that it goes out mid-morning each day and returns sometime in the afternoon. When this happens we are unable to have use of the computers and internet service.  We have purchased a generator which went into service this week. This has made a significant improvement as we are now able to have the use of electronic devices during the entire school day.