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Sunday, November 29, 2009

Film Premiere: Cane & Able - Hope in Hispaniola

Please join the University of Vermont travel-study program to the Dominican Republic and the Center for Health and Well-Being on World AIDS Day for the world premiere of:

Cane and Able: Hope in Hispaniola
Chittenden Bank Room, Davis Center, Room 413
Tuesday, December 1st at 4 p.m.

This new documentary by Fleischer Films highlights ongoing service-learning projects of University of Vermont students and faculty in Haitian migrant communities in the Dominican Republic, including a community farming initiative with Seeds of Self-Reliance and an HIV/AIDS prevention education program with Grassroot Soccer.  Following the film will be a short discussion with UVM faculty Jon Erickson (Rubenstein), Pat Erickson (Animal Science), John Hayden (Plant and Soil Science), and McKew Devitt (Romance Languages) and current and past students from their Dominican Republic classes.

For more information on upcoming January and March faculty-led programs abroad to the Dominican Republic, see:

For more information on the event, please contact Jon Erickson at or 802-656-3328.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

5th UVM 'Lose the Shoes' Soccer Tournament and Fundraiser

Please join us for the University of Vermont's 5th "Lose the Shoes" soccer tournament and fundraiser in support of Futbol para la Vida, an HIV/AIDS prevention education program in the Dominican Republic that is part of the international Grassroot Soccer network. This semester's 3 v. 3 barefoot soccer tournament will be held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the University of Vermont campus. Join us on the intermural soccer fields near the Patrick Gym for some food, prizes, music and ... of course ... barefoot soccer. For more information or to pre-register a co-ed team, please get in touch with Christina Newman at If you need convincing that barefoot soccer is a good idea in Vermont in October, just check out picts from past UVM "Lose the Shoes" events: 4th, 3rd, 2nd, and 1st.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

4th UVM 'Lose the Shoes' tournament to benefit Futbol para la Vida

On Sunday, April 26th, the University of Vermont hosted its 4th "Lose the Shoes" barefoot soccer tournament and fundraiser to benefit Futbol para la Vida, an HIV/AIDS prevention education project in the Dominican Republic and a member of the international Grassroot Soccer network.

The 3 v. 3 tournament missed the beautiful Vermont spring (a 1-day season) by just one day, but futbolistas braved the cold and the wind to play in four rounds of barefoot games, followed by found rounds of single elimination playoffs. The day included a raffle with prizes from Burlington businesses, music, pizza from Papa John's, and of course a Grassroot Soccer demonstration.

Many thanks to all the UVM students, faculty, and alumni who played (including Achier who came all the way from Boston!). A special thanks to Christina Newman and Devon Byrne who organized the fundraiser. If you're interested in getting involved with a "Futbol para la Vida" UVM student club and helping to organize our next barefoot tournament in the fall, please get in touch with Christina at

Below are some photos from the day by Devon. Enjoy.


Our fearless leader, Christina.

Bloody knees and broken toes. Hardcore barefoot soccer in Vermont.

Grassroot Soccer demo ... hide-the-ball led by Batey Libertad alumni Kris McKernan.

Group shot. (We really need a banner.)

Kamaro, a raffle prize winner.

Team spirit award - snazzy new sippy cups.

We are the champions! Can you hear Queen playing in the background?

Sunday, December 7, 2008

3rd UVM "Lose the Shoes" tournament to benefit Futbol para la Vida

The 3rd University of Vermont "Lose the Shoes" soccer tournament went off on a snowy December 7th in Vermont. While only a few "futbolistas" braved the indoor tennis courts without shoes, over 15 teams got together for a 3 v. 3 tournament and fundraiser that is quickly becoming a fall semester tradition. UVM students raised money to support Futbol para la Vida, an HIV/AIDS prevention education program in the Dominican Republic that is part of the international Grassroot Soccer network.

"Abazos" to Matt Linder for organizing the tournament, and to all the UVM students who trudged to the gym on a cold Sunday morning just before the last week of classes.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Grassroot Soccer co-founder on CNN

Co-founder of Grassroot Soccer, Ethan Zohn, was interviewed this month by CNN as he wrapped up his recent HIV awareness campaign, a soccer ball dribble from Boston to Washington, DC. Grassroot Soccer continues to expand programs and train new NGO partners in HIV/AIDS prevention education throughout Africa, as well as supporting our Futbol para la Vida program in the Dominican Republic through sharing their curriculum and with joint fundraising opportunities.

For more on this recent interview with Ethan, check out the CNN video clip below.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Highlights from Nov. '08 UVM travel-study class to the DR

The latest group of University of Vermont (UVM) students returned from their November break trip to the Dominican Republic with a long list of accomplishments, and a still longer list of new found friends. The group worked with the community of Batey Libertad to accomplish many projects, including building a bathroom for the community center and health clinic, freshening-up the community center with a new coat of paint, fixing a community shower, and repairing a stinky latrine. Thirteen students and UVM faculty Pat and Jon Erickson also coordinated a community health clinic, hosted the 7th Annual Soccer Tournament of the Batey Libertad Coalition, brought two buses full of smiling faces to the beach for the day (despite the rain!), participated in a vodou presentation, and had quite a dance party during one of the home-stay evenings.

The fundraisers leading up to the trip also supported a bed project of the Las Madres de la Iglesia women's group -- raising enough money to buy 6 beds for batey residents in need -- and the immigration project of the Famn Vayan women's group -- purchasing candles to earn money for passports and visas for Haitian women to live and work legally in the DR. The group was also successful in obtaining a visa for Emely (aka Negrita) to come back to the U.S. with for her ear surgery later this month. In between days at Batey Libertad they managed to visit Santiago, Puerto Plata, Cabarete, the community of Saman, and the border town of Dajabon ... with lots of coughs, stomach aches, and fevers thrown in with the rain just to spice things up a bit.

If you're interested in learning more about travel-study opportunities to the DR, please join this semester's class on Tuesday, December 9th in 105 Aiken on the UVM campus as we share some trip experiences and final reflections from a busy couple weeks in Hispaniola. Students from upcoming travel study courses to the DR in January and March will be in attendance as we pass the service-learning baton. If you're interested in learning more about our yearly trips and ongoing projects in health education, community gardening, Spanish literacy, and community development then please don't miss this opportunity to connect with students and faculty from past, current, and future trips.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

2008-09 UVM Travel Study Courses to the DR

The University of Vermont (UVM) will lead three travel-study courses to the Dominican Republic to work with the communities of Batey Libertad and Saman during the 2008-09 academic year. These international service-learning courses have been run in partnership with these communities and local NGOs working in the DR since 2005.

The first group of UVM students will be led by Drs. Pat and Jon Erickson during the Thanksgiving week. The focus will be community health, with projects including a Futbol para la Vida HIV/AIDS course at two local schools in Esperanza, a community health clinic, bed donations, and numerous projects involving upkeep and expansion of the services of the community center and clinic. Students are organizing a number of fundraisers in Burlington, Vermont, including a benefit dinner, candle and bake sale, a dribble-a-thon with UVM soccer teams, a run-a-thon with UVM running teams, and a 3rd annual Lose the Shoes soccer tournament. The class will also be supporting the annual Batey Libertad Coalition soccer tournament at Batey Libertad on Saturday, November 29th, and returning to Burlington, VT to host a World AIDS Day event on December 1st.

Over the January winter break, John Hayden of UVM's Plant and Soil Science Department and Seeds of Self Reliance will lead a class to continue the community gardening project with the Batey Libertad community. The class will also be helping to start a new community garden in Saman, a barrio of the city of Montellano in the province of Puerto Plata. More info. on last year's class is available at:

To round out the academic year, Mckew Devitt of UVM's Romance Language Department will return for his 4th trip to Batey Libertad to continue work on language literacy and service-learning. The March '08 class built a home for a family at Batey Libertad.