It all started the Summer of 2007 in Chicago, Il while I was working in my garage and listening to a program called Bendicion (Blessing) on a Christian radio station from La Romana. There were two young men sharing shocking stories about children in bateyes and looking for school supply donations. I felt compelled to contact them and see how I could help. I was able to reach those two gentlemen, Richard and Melvin and they explained the need and did their best to describe what a batey was to me. They were surprised that I was originally from the Dominican Republic and had never even heard of a batey. Since I could not grasp the batey concept I decided to go see for myself. Within a few days my husband, Luis and I were headed to La Romana with four suitcases full of school supplies.
Once we arrived we met up with Richard and Melvin who drove us around and took us to several bateyes. I could not believe what I was seeing, my heart was broken. I was so distraught by the living conditions of these people, especially the kids running around completely naked, no electricity and little to no access to fresh water. As we were distributing school supplies directly to the school, I came across a little guy who was writing on the edge of his last year notebook. When I asked him why he was doing that he immediacy replied that if he didn’t have paper to write on he was not allowed in school. That was the breaking point of my heart.
My husband and I went back to the hotel that night, our hearts completely broken, trying to identify what God was trying show us and what we were to do about it. After many hours of brain storming and prayer we felt the Lord calling us to start a Non-Profit Organization to help people in the bateyes and partner with Richard and Melvin. That’s how it all began, first we were called Laughing Hearts which has now become 12:12 Response. We partner with churches across the US to send teams out to the bateyes to share the gospel and help meet the need of those less fortunate.
“Be joyful I hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12