The first efforts of Dominican Republic Projects began when Rita Severinghaus enlisted the help of members of her church, the Norwich Congregational Church (NCC), to collect and send 34 boxes of relief supplies in the aftermath of Hurricane Georges in 1998 to Cotui in the Cibao region. This effort drew extensive support from the Norwich community.
With the support of NCC, Woodworth Trust Fund, The Sharon Academy (TSA) and the Cotui Lions Club, Rita leads several initiatives:
- Community Center/School construction
- Annual team trips (health and community projects)
- Community Oven construction (3), with support of baking initiatives provided by King Arthur Flour.
- Founding of women’s cooperative recycling plastic into crochet bags
- School remodeling
- Collaboration with Peace Corps, D.R.
- Rural Clinic Construction, in collaboration with the Peace Corps, the Cotui Ministry of Health and Cotui Lions Club.
- Support to local nursing home and health center for the indigent
- Development of Child Sponsor Program