Many yeas ago, Dr. Michel Ritchie (foundation’s Vice president), was involved in the purchase of some land for an Eco-Resort in Paraiso, Barahona, in the Southwestern part of the Dominican Republic.  About a half kilometer to the right of the land before reaching the proposed site for the Eco-project, Dr. Ritchie noticed a little school named Las Caobas with a lot of children present. This little school caught Dr. Ritchie’s attention because of the number
of children (over two hundred) that were packed in a small area with barely any room to run around and play.

Dr. Ritchie decided to visit Las Caobas and discovered it was overcrowded, understaffed and, in need of roof and classroom repairs, books, school supplies, computers and much more.  It was at that time Dr. Ritchie decided to help Las Caobas become a better educational environment for the Dominican and Haitian children in attendance at that school.

There was another time when Dr. Ritchie visited the Vista Paraiso project, at which time he brought Yuri Garcia (foundation’s treasurer), to see the Eco-Resort project. While passing in front of Las Caobas, they were stopped by teachers who thought they were from the Government. These teachers wanted to report the poor conditions at the school and also to request the repair of roofs and floors in the classrooms; Dr. Ritchie and Yuri witnessed first hand kids literally sitting under the sun from the damaged roofs, and when it rained classes came to a full stop and cover from the rain was sought.

Both Dr. Ritchie and Yuri listened intensely to the teacher’s concerns only to inform them they were not from the Government.  However, Yuri immediately spoke up and said to the teachers, “find out of the cost for fixing the classroom’s roofs and floors and I will personally pay for all the materials and repairs”.  Yuri kept his promise – the roofs and floors were repaired.

Dr. Ritchie wanted to further helping children in need – often saying he felt God was sending him a message to help children who were less fortunate. Thus, the idea for a foundation was conceived – a foundation that would help other misfortunate children and schools in other areas of the Dominican Republic and Haiti.

Another trip was planned to Vista Paraiso and this time Dr. Ritchie invited Larry Peterson (foundation’s current president). Dr. Ritchie showed Larry his project and Las Caobas.   Larry worked with underprivileged children and juveniles for over 25 years in the United States.  He is quite familiar and knowledgeable about working with the less fortunate, and was compelled by the need to extend a helping hand to the foundation in carrying out their mission and vision statement.

The foundation has come to realize there are many children and schools with many problems in the Dominican Republic and certainly Haiti, which lacks significant governmental funding. Thus resulting in numerous inadequacies such as the lack of computer training; attention deficit disorders; limited or no school supplies; insufficient curriculum books; poor socialization skills; disproportionate children to teachers  ratio; classrooms and schools repairs; and much more.

The members of the “Imagine Oneness Foundation” do not claim to have “THE” solution for solving the educational and poverty problems that exist in the Dominican Republic and Haiti. But, what they do have is determination – determination to provide whatever assistance possible to those children, family, or school who desperately are in need of the foundation’s services.

Our Pledge to Humanity,
“Imagine Oneness Foundation”, May 1, 2010.