Discoveries International

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What do a professional baseball player, a couple of dozen high school kids, the Dominican Republic and over $100,000 have in common? Dignity. This program documents the journey of a group of high school students that discovered they could have a tremendous impact on many peoples lives. In a little under 6 months the Bellevue High School Microfinance Club, located in Washington State, raised well over $100,000 dollars from members of their community. Rather than simply give the funds to the poor as a hand out, they donated the funds to Esperanza International, (founded by Former Seattle Mariner Catcher Dave Valle), who administers micro finance loans to the poorest of the poor, to start or maintain small businesses in the Dominican Republic and Haiti.

To see first hand how their micro finance funds were being utilized, 25 students along with chaperones using their own personal funds, traveled to the Dominican Republic to experience that which can only be told in pictures and words of these remarkable young men and women. The youths visited small villages, pueblos, barrios and batays to sit in on loan meetings, talk to loan associates and learn first hand how a loan for as little as $50-250 can change not just one person's life, but potentially hundreds of others. When added to their experiences in actually going out and asking for the donations from their community, seeing how the funds are being used and making new friends along the way, the kids from Bellevue High School Microfinance Club will carry with them indelible memories for the rest of their lives and plans to share the good of micro finance with other teenagers around the world. Life changing lessons: Learning that the amount of money you may have is not the key to happiness, that a dollar has an incredibly different value depending on your circumstances and most importantly:

Young men and women CAN make a difference.