Brush and Palette

Two of Laguna’s religious groups volunteer in the Dominican Republic

Little+Church+by+the+Sea+in+front+of+one+of+the+four+houses+they+built+while+on+their+mission+trip.+
Back to Article
Back to Article

Two of Laguna’s religious groups volunteer in the Dominican Republic

Little Church by the Sea in front of one of the four houses they built while on their mission trip.

Little Church by the Sea in front of one of the four houses they built while on their mission trip.

Little Church by the Sea in front of one of the four houses they built while on their mission trip.

Little Church by the Sea in front of one of the four houses they built while on their mission trip.

Austin Plank, Photographer

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






During Ski Week, two groups of high school students from the Laguna Beach community went on a religion-based mission trip to the Dominican Republic. The first Christian group was led by youth minister Sam Ellis and included other volunteers from Little Church by the Sea; the other was a Mormon group led by LBHS teacher Mindy Hawkins.  

The first group went to a town roughly four hours north of Santo Domingo (the capital of the Dominican Republic) and built four houses for families who desperately needed them. Those from this group even had to leave their phones behind in the U.S. because they wanted their utmost focus to be on the people there and not on those back home.  Ellis attended this mission trip after having done six service missions prior.

The other group built an aqueduct for a small village, which was crucial for providing clean water to people who did not have it, significantly improving their lives.

“Meaningful community service is important because of the eternal significance and deep, lasting impact on not only the students but the people they go to serve. When someone goes on a trip to another country, raises a ton of money, invites a team of people into their support group and goes through a 10-day journey, it marks their heart. They care a lot less about how much community service [they are earning] and more so about the impact on the family or people they went to serve.

A group of high schoolers from the Mormon based mission trip pose while at the work site of the aqueduct they helped to build in the Dominican Republic.

Also, it has the potential of changing a person’s life,” said Ellis.

Hawkins has been coordinating trips similar to these for 10 years, and through her work, she has done a great deal of good for many communities around the world.

“Over the years, I have found that getting kids out of their comfort zone and finding opportunities to connect with communities where the people face overwhelming poverty and difficult educational options— yet express joy in the same things that we value (family, friends, community)—  causes us all to change our perspective, shift our paradigm of what is important in life,” said Hawkins.

A senior here at LBHS, Lalia Garcia-Amini, has been on three mission trips in the past with the Christian youth program and has gained a lot of experience and insight through working with them.

“These trips have impacted my life in so many different ways. Coming out of Laguna into a different environment where there is a lot of poverty is very eye-opening to see how lucky we are and how much we take things for granted,” said Garcia-Amini.

Sam Arntz, a freshman, attended the Mormon led mission trip with Mrs. Hawkins and assisted in the building of the aqueduct. This church-led trip was able to encourage and open the eyes of youth who may not have otherwise been interested in participation.

“It allowed me to see other parts of the world and meet people that I otherwise would not know needed help, and I would recommend it to others,” said Arntz.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Leave a Comment

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




Navigate Left
Navigate Right
The student news site of Laguna Beach High School
Two of Laguna’s religious groups volunteer in the Dominican Republic