Building Dreams - A Film By DunnMedia and DREAMers like you…
15 years ago, a group of committed staff and students from St. Mary’s Catholic High School in Hamilton began a grassroots project to assist needy families of the Dominican Republic. They called it DREAMS (Dominican Republic Education and Medical Support), assisting local contractors build homes, latrines, schools for the people of San José de Ocoa. Since then, hundreds of staff, students and families from all Hamilton's Catholic Schools have experienced the joy of serving the poorest of the poor through DREAMS initiatives. The goal of this film is to ensure the future of DREAMS for years to come.
Internationally recognized filmmaker Chris Atkins has just returned from filming a DREAMS mission trip, with the students of St. Mary’s CSS, Hamilton. The story follows the students from their ‘packing party’ back home, where donated medical and other needed supplies are tucked into suitcases along with clothing - to their first night stay with the Religious Hospitallers of St. Joseph in San José de Ocoa. We ride with the students in the back of a pick-up truck as they leave for the remote mountain village. We see the look of surprise on students faces when they see their living and dining quarters and the sweat on their brow as they spend their days digging a foundation, mixing cement, and laying the blocks and mortar for a simple two-room house and latrine - all under the guidance of a local construction foreman. We experience the joy shared with residents after a hard days work and witness first hand the true joy that can be found in poverty. The students return with a completely different world-view and friendships with local youth and families that will last a lifetime. The struggles the students face during this intense week of labour are only outdone by the rewards of Christ-like servant leadership.
The film was inspired by Elise Dunn, who has selflessly dedicated herself to Fr. Lou’s mission and the expansion of D.R.E.A.M.S. - by living and working with the people of Ocoa for the past number of years. Today she coordinates the many school and family missions to Ocoa. Her first hand experience combined with her infectious smile and enthusiasm plays an integral role in the continued development of the program.
Our hope is to create an immersive documentary and social media outreach about the DREAMS experience and to ensure the program lasts well into the future. The video will be used on information nights in our schools and parishes. We have also garnered the interest of Global Catholic Broadcaster EWTN who will air the documentary when it is complete. Besides the DREAMS mission, the video and outreach will honour the late John Labatte, Hamilton Catholic Teacher who worked tirelessly after retirement - in Hamilton and the Dominican - keeping DREAMS alive. John died earlier this year. We will also honour Fr. Louis Quinn, the Scarboro Missions missionary priest whose humanitarian and mission work is renowned in the in the province of San José de Ocoa, and inspired the DREAMS project.
DunnMedia is currently raising funds for the completion of the film and details can be obtained by contacting the producer, KevinDunn@dunnmedia.ca or by calling 905-516-3676.
Producers gratefully acknowledge the support of it’s growing list of benefactors, including Stephen J. Dunn Insurance Ltd., St. Mary’s CCS and our team at DunnMedia.