I can't find the words to adequately describe how special and life-changing my experiences were with La Fundación Mahatma Gandhi. I can't praise this organization enough! I volunteered for FMG for the first time in the fall of 2009 for a few months. I returned to volunteer a few more months in the following spring, and again the following fall. If I had it my way, I would spend a few months there every year. When I first began as a volunteer for FMG, it was a simple, two-room library that functioned as a youth center for children in an area lacking books, resources, and much more. As volunteers at FMG, we spent our time helping with homework, running various workshops, and lending whatever skills, knowledge, and experience we had to the children who happily poured into the library everyday. It was a fantastic, blissful, and challenging time in my life that continues to reward me. I spent my second visit restoring a new, larger building for the new library and then continued with more projects and workshops for the children as I developed my Spanish skills. By my third visit, I was fluent in Spanish and able to teach an older child to read in his language, which I am incredibly proud of. This is my personal experience, and other volunteers have made their own, unique and incredible contributions. The beauty of FMG is that volunteers are encouraged to use their own creativity and strengths to contribute to the community in the way they see fit, with the support and guidance of the organization. Jose and Annette have continued to develop FMG in the years since I volunteered in ways that I could never have dreamed of. They are truly serving the community in every way possible, from children to adults to the environment. Every bit of volunteer energy goes directly to the improvement of the community in a way that you can see right before your eyes, even if you only spend a week or two with FMG. As a volunteer, you are encouraged to find your niche that you can develop as much as you are comfortable with. Jose and Annette go out of their way to see that volunteers are comfortable in the country. They became like an in-country family to me and continue to be exceptionally special people in my lives who I will always be in touch with. They are so committed to their community and are so open to the ideas as well as needs of volunteers. They also make sure to open the volunteers' eyes to their true surroundings by showing them Dominican life and poverty beyond the beautiful beaches and fancy tourist restaurants in the area. The volunteer experience with FMG is incredibly authentic, which means that at times, it will break your heart. Observing the realities in which others live in is a hard pill to swallow. As a volunteer, however, you can REALLY feel like you are "giving back." I could go on for days about FMG and will certainly be returning at some point to spend more time! I am open to any questions.