Thank You to Our Amazing Donors!!

There are many factors that come together to make D.R.H.O.P.E trips possible, and perhaps the biggest factor is our donors. Without them, we would not be able to buy the materials to build homes for families in need. As our building season comes to an end, we would like to thank everyone who generously supported our efforts in the Dominican Republic this year. We couldn’t do it without you!

– Air Transat
– Al Rinaldi
– Angela Jordan
– Angela Crane
– Anne & Ray Richardson
– Appleby Landscape
– Barbara Brady Financial Planning Inc.
– Beth McLaughlin
– Bob and Joan Matthews
– Bob and Tracy McKiernan
– Brechin & Huffman
– Carmelle Price
– Carol Leyland
– Caroline Lutyk
– Carolyn Solby
– Category 5 Imaging Ltd.
– Catherine Muirhead
– Charles Sevigny
– Christine Brown
– Chris and Diana Dodd
– Claire Slaver
– Connie Davidson
– Craig Worden
– Dave Brouwer
– Davina & Patrick Antoine
– Denise Moroso
– Diane Bertolo
– Dolores Birnie
– Dr Zenon Kiss/ Lena Kiss
– Ethan Maclean
– Francesco Cavataio
– Frederick Burjaw
– Greg Vagasky
– Hadrian Manufacturing Inc.
– Helen Anderson
– Holy Rosary Church
– ISG Transportation Inc
– Jacob Playfair
– J. Aird/ K.Aird
– Jennifer McCormick
– Joan Walker
– Joanne Leitch
– Joanne Moyes
– John Canning of Ace Atlantic Collision
– John Schunk
– Joseph Collet
– Judy Bolzan
– Karl Pilatzke
– Kataraynie Ugryn
– Kathie Tourangeau
– Kathryn Tekker
– Katie Overstrom
– Keith and Bertha Monrose
– Kelly Green
– Kevin O’Connon
– Lee Arruda
– Les Oeuvres Le Royer (Religious Hospitaliers)
– Linda O’Brien
– Lina Rinaldi
– Lisa Corradi
– Lisa Pope
– Logan McCann
– Lucie Rivest
– Lynda Addison
– Lynn McKee
– Marilu’s Market
– Marilyn Dowson
– Mario Soster
– Marla Ashmore
– Mary and Alistair Campbell
– Mary Tessari
– Michael Goll
– Michael Tayag
– Michelle Burjaw
– Michelle Micuda
– Mike Kirby
– Nancy Holt
– Neil Smith of Vector 17 Advisory Services
– Nicholas Tourangeau
– Patricia McLaughlin
– Peggi DeGroote
– Peggy Morely
– Peter Tekker
– RBC Automotive Financing
– Richard Burjaw
– Richard Matthews
– Richard Petsole
– Rick Fountain and Linda Amaolo
– Robert Nosal
– Ronald Baird
– Ron Tharby
– Rosalia Cavataio
– Ruta and Vytas Valaitis
– Sandra Marleau
– Sharon Doucet-Boule
– Shirley Robinson
– Society of St Vincent de Paul
– Stephanie & Peter McCann
– St John the Baptist Parish
– Sue Colasimone
– Taylor & Lina Pugsley
– Theresa Sarabura
– Tim and Heather Rye
– Tina Maclean
– Todd and Sara Barker
– Tom and Andrea Dodd
– Trista Lockwood
– Vadera and Moriarity Medicine Professional Corporation
– Wayne and Kristine Carter
– William Gilchrist
– Yvonne Klysen
– Yvonne Paul
– Zoli Varga

2016 Season

Happy New Year!

A new year means a new building season for the D.R.H.O.P.E team. We have lots of groups coming to the Dominican Republic this year to build homes for people in need. At least eight families will be receiving D.R.H.O.P.E houses in 2016. Our founder, Richard Grzelak, is already on site getting everything prepared for the first group, arriving February 3rd! Our team is also actively making an impact during the off-season, with four houses being built between October and December using generous donations from various sponsors.

We have several weeks available for anyone interested in taking a group on a life-changing trip. There are also spots available for individual travelers looking for a group to join. If you are interested, please send us a message through the “Contact Us” page and we will get back to you with more information!



D.R. H.O.P.E.’s Christmas Campaign: A Handful of HOPE!

D.R. H.O.P.E. is very excited to announce our Christmas Campaign entitled: A Handful of HOPE. Are you looking for a Christmas gift for someone who already has everything? Why not make a donation on behalf of your family member, friend or co-worker, in their name, while supporting a family in need? Look no further….

There are four options available for your donation.

Option #1 – Buy a Brick $10 CAD

Option #2 – Baby Package $25 CAD

(This includes pabulum and diapers)

Option #3 – Rice and Oil $50 CAD

(This includes one month of food for a family)

Option #4 – One 20×20 House $5,000 CAD

The campaign will run for two weeks from December 1th to December 25th.

Any donation over $25CAD is eligible for a tax receipt. All tax receipts are sent electronically; therefore, an e-mail must be provided. D.R. H.O.P.E. does not share personal information with other entities, in any capacity.

Please proceed to the ‘Donate’ page to make your contribution through PayPal. Should you have any further questions or comments, please contact a committee member through

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

March Break 2015

Group Blog

Our experience with D.R. H.O.P.E. could not have possibly been better. We began planning our trip relatively late in the year and as were consequently pressed for time in terms of fundraising. To collect the $5 000 necessary to build a house we sold poinsettias, held a bottle drive, sold bricks, and were fortunate enough to receive two corporate sponsorships from Hadrian Manufacturing and Air Transat. We picked a great group of friends to go with which made the tedious parts of planning (such as paperwork) quick and simple! Prior to our trip we held two parent meetings, which not only comforted the parents (sending your child to another country for a full week can be a tough thing to do!) but also made the participants even more excited for our trip!

group pic - blog


Feel free to click on any photo to see an enlarged version.

I have never seen as many smiles at 4:00 in the morning as I did on the day that we left for the Dominican. All of our group members were filled with so much excitement that it really didn’t matter the time of day, or the amount of travelling that we had ahead of us. Our travels went as smoothly as they possibly could with a group of eleven teenagers and the second that we arrived I knew that all of the planning had been worth it. As soon as we exited the plane we were hit with a wall of heat (which felt absolutely incredible after this long, cold winter!!). We were welcomed by the open arms of Richard, Samantha, and Wilkin. The bus ride to Rancho Arriba did not feel like five hours because it was accompanied with so much beautiful scenery.

March Break 2015 - Day 2

On our way to Rancho Arriba we stopped in San Jose de Ocoa to pick up some Dominican staples (vanilla and hot sauce!!). We stopped for dinner at a local chicken grill, which was unlike anywhere any of us have ever eaten. The food was phenomenal; french fries, BBQ chicken, and plantains (we ended up consuming a lot more of these over the course of the week… which was definitely not a bad thing!). After dinner we continued up the mountain to our site. We settled in and anticipated what the next day would bring! We were certainly not disappointed! Throughout the trip, all of our meals were amazing (particularly the guacamole!!).

March Break 2015 - Day 3

Building the house did not feel like work… The workers created such a fun atmosphere that many of us didn’t want to leave the worksite at the end of the day! For many group members, their favourite part of the trip was at night when we got an hour to play with the kids. Despite the language difference, the kids were anything but shy! The kids were so hyper that “the American’s were here” that it was difficult to keep up with their constant energy… But the group certainly managed.

March Break 2015 - Day 4

Handing out donations was very rewarding as we were able to see how happy people were there with so little. For many of us, donation day was a call to reflect on our own lives and what makes us happy. Through this experience, the Dominicans gave us more than we ever could have given them. They taught each and every one of us compassion and appreciation. Can’t wait to come back next year!

Participant’s Comments

“H.O.P.E taught me what it really means to be happy. That it’s not where you are or what you have but who you are with. I was fortunate enough to meet the most beautiful, energetic, kind souls in the Dominican, and the time I spent with them and my Assumption peers, I will treasure forever. I would recommend this type of charity work to anyone looking to inspire their lives with gratitude and joy. “ –Kerri R.

“After a group of high school students spoke at our elementary school about their H.O.P.E. mission trip to the Dominican Republic I became sold on the idea of becoming involved in the global community. Six years later, I was given the chance to go on a H.O.P.E. trip and I immediately seized the opportunity! The impact that this trip had on me was tremendous. I enjoyed every second spent in the Dominican from playing with the local children to building the house. I have taken the lessons that I learned on this trip and translated them into my everyday life. The new experiences that I was exposed to on H.O.P.E. have made me happier, more compassionate, and more grateful for the things that I have. I can’t wait to come back next year and re-integrate myself into the incredible community that is H.O.P.E!” -Rachel K.

“I had an incredible experience on H.O.P.E. this past March. I enjoyed every minute I spent with all of the kids and seeing all of the beauty the Dominican Republic had to offer. I learned a lot about myself and the world on this trip by getting to experience a culture completely different from ours here at home. Also, over the course of the week I became much closer with my friends and had an amazing time with all of them. I would recommend that every high school student have the chance to go on one of these trips. I H.O.P.E. at some point I will be privileged enough to go on another trip like this in my lifetime. Cheers to H.O.P.E. 2015!!” -Jake H.

“My experience with H.O.P.E. was extremely eye opening to the hardships of the world that we in developed countries are shielded from. This trip made me thankful for all of the extravagant but also simple benefits that I live with everyday; things even as simple as a glass of water when I’m thirsty, a granola bar when I’m hungry and a bed to lay in when I’m tired. I went on this trip eager to work hard and build a house, but I quickly learned that the building process is such a small part of what H.O.P.E. stands for. I can’t wait to return next year so that the community can change my life in ways I never imagined one more time.”- Joe G.

“H.O.P.E. was an amazing experience. I had always wanted to go on a mission trip but I never realized how much it would change my life. We built a house for someone in need, but that was a small part if the amazing week. The part that affected me the most were the kids, they were absolutely adorable, there was always at least one or two walking around with us wherever we went, and they would always want to be holding you hand or on your back. They craved affection… This was what made realize the little things that I take for granted in my life. Of course I knew that we were privileged because we had houses to live in and food to eat, but I never thought about how It’s just a given that my parents and family would always be there for me. This has changed the way I think and how I prioritize the things in my life, hence H.O.P.E. has had an incredible impact on my life and I would definitely go back.” -Zoee F.

“H.O.P.E. was a very eye-opening trip for me. We were in a very different environment and people that lived a completely different lifestyle surrounded us. It felt amazing to know that we changed some people’s lives by building them a house, and I think everyone should experience this at least once.” -Lauren M.

“Going on this trip was a fantastic experience that changes you. It makes you appreciate all the privileges we have at home. Each H.O.P.E. trip you go on will be a new and different experience. You make a change in their lives but a bigger change is made in your life.” -Nick P.

“H.O.P.E. 2015 was incredible. Getting to build a house alongside the Dominicans was so rewarding, these are some of the hardest working individuals I have ever seen. They rarely took breaks…impressive! Even though we went on the trip for the purpose of building the house we were given so many opportunities to interact with the locals and in my opinion that was so rewarding. After our second day of working I had already found a best friend, he was 12 years old and such a gentleman. I can’t wait to go back next year and see him and how much he has progressed in school due to his incredible work ethic. We were welcomed so well at the compound that I can say without a doubt that I will return next year. I was taught so much on how to appreciate the little things in my life and definitely not wasting as much food. Richard and Samantha welcomed us so well that I felt like I was at home. See you next year D.R. H.O.P.E.” -Nathalie J

“I can’t even begin to put into words the way I feel about my trip to the Dominican Republic with H.O.P.E. Over the course of the week I learned a lot about myself and the world we live in. I was amazed by the amount of poverty I saw everywhere, in contrast to the amount of love and compassion I felt from the community. I now feel compelled to help these people. I am so grateful to have gone on this trip, and I can’t wait to go back.” -Nick T.

“ H.O.P.E. was an all around amazing experience! I think what made it especially great was that we got the opportunity to meet the family we were helping and to get to know many of the locals. I think that meeting all of them and seeing how appreciative they were for everything that was done for them taught me to appreciate the small things that I would generally take for granted. I loved every moment of my H.O.P.E. trip and would love to go back one day!” -Haley D

“Opened my eyes to a part of the Dominican Republic I had never seen before. Wonderful experience, looking forward to another trip in the future” -Matthew J (Chaperone)


A quick message from the On-Site Coordinators: We were so thankful to have hosted the March Break group here in Rancho Arriba and are very grateful for their contribution to our program, their dedication and hard work, as well as their participation with the promise to return. This group was very outgoing, thoughtful about their surroundings, and very interested in the culture of the Dominican republic, the daily life and how D.R. H.O.P.E. is able to sustainably assist so many needy families. Upon booking another trip, we look forward to welcoming your group back in the Dominican Republic in 2016! Thank you all for a wonderful week and your chaperones for allowing the week to run so smoothly. 

A Recap of January…

D.R. H.O.P.E. has been actively working within the community of Rancho Arriba and Arroyo Blanco for the past month and we are excited to provide a summary of the work that has been completed and is in progress.

Both the On-Site Coordinator and Assistant On-Site Coordinator are overseeing the construction of a Roman Catholic Church and the construction of houses, as well as other components of this project, such as preparing for our participant groups that will be arriving shortly. We are in a unique situation this year as we are constructing the Roman Catholic Church and houses on a piece of land purchased by D.R. H.O.P.E. with the vision of creating a community atmosphere. The intention of the purchase of this piece of land by D.R. H.O.P.E. was to ensure that families who do not own land, yet qualify to receive homes, are included in our vision of building thriving, sustainable communities.

We are pleased to report that the construction of our first house has been completed and is awaiting the finishing touches: plastering and painting, prior to the family moving in. Further, the construction of the Roman Catholic Church is in the final stages, as well. The foundation has been dug and cement has been poured, the blocks have been laid and the roof is in the beginning stages of constructing. Once the roof has been completed, plastering will commence, as will the process of laying the floor, and thereafter, the doors, windows and painting will occur. We anticipate the completion of the Church to occur within the next four weeks. Finally, D.R. H.O.P.E. is blessed to work with fantastic volunteers that allow this process to occur in a very efficient manner, and as a result, another house will commence this week (Feb 16th – 20th).

We are excited to report that we are very busy preparing for a participant group arriving in early March, as well a visit from the D.R. H.O.P.E. committee in March. Our preparation includes travel arrangements, ensuring all building materials arrive promptly, volunteers are available and the family is selected. Every aspect of our program is very important to ensure the smooth delivery of the project.

Lastly, D.R. H.O.P.E. is currently working on behind the scenes projects that we look forward to sharing with you in the very near future. Please stay tuned, as we are forever grateful for your interest in our project. We are very thankful to the participants who believe in, and align with our vision to make this project possible.

For further information, inquiries or comments, please contact the committee at We welcome your feedback and would love to discuss involvement opportunities, in both Canada and the Dominican Republic.

Take Care and Stay Warm.



Welcome to D.R. H.O.P.E.’s website! The committee and volunteers are thrilled you have decided to browse through our website and learn more about our organization. Check out our background information, what it is we do, where we are located and our history. We hope you will want to get involved with D.R. H.O.P.E. to build thriving, sustainable communities in the mountain villages of the Dominican Republic, or make a monetary or material donation (look under ‘Donations’.)

Founded in 2006, D.R. H.O.P.E. has flourished into a non-profit organization that has facilitated more than 1,200 volunteers and built 106 houses to date. Approximately 50 Canadian and American volunteers will work with D.R. H.O.P.E. in the Dominican Republic this year. With the contribution of these groups and the outside fundraising efforts, D.R. H.O.P.E. anticipates building 7 houses. Furthermore, a church will be completed in the community of Arroyo Blanco as a result of a successful fundraising campaign last year. Lastly, visiting groups will distribute food and material donations, such as clothing, footwear, medical, hygiene and educational supplies. These accomplishments are astounding for a grassroots organization, and D.R. H.O.P.E. looks forward to what the future might hold!

D.R. H.O.P.E. is very pleased to host a blog on the new website and we encourage and hope you will visit us often to stay connected with the work being done in the DR. We anticipate the blog to include current work, participant perspectives, ongoing campaigns, and even words from receiving Dominican families.

There are numerous ways to get involved with D.R. H.O.P.E. and we hope you can become involved in some capacity. Please contact us if you want to participate on a mission trip, organize a trip as a group leader, or become involved through fundraising and promotion efforts here in Canada. Each is vital to the continued success of D.R. H.O.P.E. Committee members in Canada and the Dominican Republic, as well as the receiving Dominican families, sincerely thank you in advance for considering involvement in our program. We hope to hear from you soon and look forward to keeping you connected through our blog.

Please stay tuned for D.R. H.O.P.E.’s Christmas Campaign: A Handful of HOPE!