Dustin & Emily serve with Kids Alive International, a Christian not-for-profit organization that provides holistic care to at-risk children around the world. They are based at the Park Care Center, an accredited private school in the small village of Caraballo on the north coast of the Dominican Republic. The Park Care Center serves around 150 students from kindergarten to 6th grade, all of whom live in extreme poverty. Emily currently works as an instructional coach, mentoring teachers and providing observation, feedback, and resources to improve the quality of education at the Park Care Center. Emily writes also curriculum and helps plan professional development for the Kids Alive schools across the Dominican Republic.
Dustin joined Kids Alive full time in 2018, and he serves as the Youth & Leadership Development Coordinator for Kids Alive's 10 sites in the Dominican Republic. Dustin develops and facilitates youth and transitional programs, including high school and university discipleship clubs, independence camps for residential children, and university scholarship programs. He also works on improving leadership development in Kids Alive ministries.
Emily first heard of Kids Alive in 2007, when she was placed in Caraballo for a summer internship through Wheaton College. After graduating from Wheaton in 2009, she returned to the DR to continue to serve with Kids Alive. After two years of teaching first grade, her eyes were opened to the need to improve the school’s early education program. She began to work with the teachers and students in K-2, changing the curriculum and class structure, and quickly realized she was not well equipped to do her job! She spent a year in Philadelphia getting her Master’s in Elementary Education, and then returned to the Park Care Center in June 2013 to continue ministry there.
Dustin was introduced to Kids Alive through Emily when the two met at church in the Dominican Republic and began dating. Dustin volunteered with Kids Alive as a Service Team Host for several years while serving full time with Christian Surfers International, and in early 2018 God called him to join Kids Alive full time.