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Education Sponsor student update december 2023

Ruben’s Shoes Society 

December 5, 2023

As we mark our 10 year anniversary, we are filled with gratitude, reflection, and a profound sense of accomplishment. Over the past decade, our Charity has worked tirelessly to make a positive impact on countless lives. From starting with shipping shoes to supporting education initiatives, growing our sponsorship program and building 2 schools, each milestone represents a chapter in our journey of compassion and commitment. We recently took a trip to the Dominican Republic with 20 of our sponsors and impact donors to celebrate this milestone. It’s hard to put into words how emotional this trip was for everyone. Witnessing more of our sponsors meet their students, watching donors see firsthand what they have been a part of building for so many years and, of course, seeing our incredible students beam with pride as they showed us all their many accomplishments and talents. It was a trip to remember!

During this trip our Board Chair, Desiree, and our school Director, Aris, met with each sponsor student to get a more in-depth update for you as well as snapping a photo and including a letter for you.

Personal student update here…

We are overjoyed and proud to share with you all that our schools recently won a Silver Medal at the first annual Best Schools in the Country Competition, beating out 7,000 schools across the DR. This is HUGE! The staff work so hard and are so dedicated that it’s nice to see them be recognized at this level, in addition to being officially recognized for the tremendous quality of education we are providing. This is especially significant given that our Secondary School is still so new while others have been operating for many decades!

Further to this, we’ve been approved by the Ministry of Education to offer Technical Trade Certification to our senior students which will allow them to graduate with a trade and enter the workforce right away. SO, that being said, we are now looking to build a THIRD school and are currently in the process of finding suitable land to purchase. This feels daunting but also very exciting!

As much as we prefer to share positive, uplifting news, to keep things in perspective, I also want to share the importance of your sponsorship dollars. We do not talk or share about this often, especially not publicly, but we do want you to know that the schools and students wouldn't be where they are today without you and the other sponsors in our program. A large percentage of our students, well over 50%, have learning disabilities, attention deficit and hyperactivity disorders, along with psychological and behavioral problems. They have endured abuse, have lost one or both of their parents, are being cared for by their grandmother or aunt, and some are even living alone taking care of their younger siblings with help from a neighbour. With your funding, we've been able to help many, many of our students with private psychological and medical support. Support that their families are not able to afford and would not commit to. Beyond this, the majority of our students did not have adequate reading and writing skills when they arrived at our schools; some coming from high school and not being able to read or write. Your funding has allowed them to get the one-on-one attention they need to learn to read and write, giving them the foundation for continued learning. Beyond academics, your funding has enabled us to provide them with a safe and secure environment where they are fed and well-cared for, this in addition to the mental health support is providing them with the foundation they need for the possibility of a future.

We are humbled by the unwavering support of our donors, volunteers, and the communities we serve. Here’s to a decade of making a difference and to the many more years ahead, dedicated to creating a brighter and more compassionate world together! I truly hope you get the opportunity to join us on one of our future trips to be able to personally witness the impact you have made.

With immense gratitude,

Kelly Strongitharm

CEO & FounderRuben’s Shoes Society

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