Damaris Delgado-Vega

Daily Point of Light # 3530 Aug 15, 2007

Damaris Delgado-Vega is dedicated to serving youth and improving young people's educational experiences. She has been Coordinator of Interact Club Caribe since 2005. Damaris has helped teenage Interactors get involved in community service for the first time. Damaris has supported Interactors in serving the elderly, youth, orphans and the environment in projects where they learn by being exposed to other people's economic, social or cultural reality. Besides local service, Interactors have also done service internationally. They have impacted education by sending books to Botswana and Belize, and raising money to build a classroom in Port-Au-Pax Haiti. Interactors also contributed to the Ashley Kaimowitz fund, to help child rape victims in South Africa. These experiences introduced Interactors to people that otherwise they would have never known.

Under Damaris' advice Interact members have received the President's Volunteer Service Award, Youth Service America Bulletin's Everyday Hero and membership in the National Society of High School Scholars. The Club was recognized with the Rotary's International World Interact Week Celebration Award and by the Nicodemus Ecologist's Initiative for their environmental work cleaning up beaches.

All Interactors that finished high school were admitted to college. Damaris was actively involved helping them prepare well-rounded applications. She has helped them secure scholarships to colleges in the continental U. S. and Puerto Rico. One Interactor won the AXA scholarship for Puerto Rico. Damaris has shown Interactors that regardless of financial need, if you work hard, you can go to college.

Besides Interact, Damaris works with elementary school kids, Damaris obtained a Rotary Grant to fund an after-school program for "Amalia H. Mangual", a rural elementary school. The grant provided sports equipment. Damaris arranged for donations of computers from the local U. S. District Court which enabled the school to get the local Department of Education to install a computer lab, since the school had demonstrated its ability to generate matching resources. Damaris also arranged a schedule for Rotarians and Interactors to volunteer at the school.

Damaris created "Classroom in the Garden." This program was implemented with Mangual's third grade science class. The children grew vegetable and flower gardens in the school. The gardening process is used to teach tem Arithmetic, Science, nutrition, and values. When the students harvested their vegetables they shared vegetables with parents and teachers. The program has been such a success that it will expand to fourth and fifth graders for next school year.

Damaris is best remembered by Rotarians for helping a young Costa Rican boy – Romario Rojas, to get prosthetic legs. Benny Garcia, a member of our Rotary Club learned about Romario during a Costa Rican trip. Benny brought the ideas and Damaris seized it and coordinated Romario's trip to Puerto Rico, arranged with Garcia to provide therapy, fitting services and prosthetic legs, while the San Jose Rotary Club paid for the boy's plane tickets. Damaris hosted Romario while he received his prosthetic legs from Garcia. For her long-term commitment to help youngsters Damaris will always be recognized as a role model.