Friends’ Center

a community center providing life-changing benefits in CIENFUEGOS, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

About the center

The Friends’ Center was inaugurated in November 2020. Providing an additional 1,700 square feet of space, the center improves access to education, nutrition and health services, as well as youth empowerment activities for nearly 2,000 children and youth. Tutoring, computer classes, leadership training, art and music, Sport for Development, scholarships for higher education, Into Employment and more ... all these programs are interconnected and essential to helping children and youth break the cycle of poverty.  

Beyond the immediate, tangible benefits of renovating this center is the multiplier effect that our program has within the community. Investing in these children’s lives has a positive impact on their parents, siblings, extended families and the entire community — as well as all of the new children who will be served by this center in the years ahead.


About the community

Cienfuegos, or “100 fires,” is one of the most impoverished barrios in the Dominican Republic. Home to about 80,000 people, the community has the unfortunate distinction of being located by Santiago’s city landfill. From nearly anywhere in Cienfuegos, you can see and smell the smoke climbing out of the mountains of trash along the community’s southern side.

Families struggle to provide for their children’s basic needs in Cienfuegos. Malnutrition coupled with the widespread lack of adequate sanitation facilities make children in this region highly vulnerable to illness. Residents also suffer from respiratory illness and parasites, caused by living so close to the landfill.

Thanks to these big-hearted donors who make our work possible

We extend our sincere gratitude and appreciation for the compassionate individuals who invested in the Friends' Center — where children and youth can learn, grow and thrive.

  • Lead investments provided by Gordon & Donna Bailey and Bill & Jill Dahlberg, giving them naming rights to the community center — which will inspire children and youth for decades to come.
  • The Jack and Marjorie Schillinger Family Foundation funded the computer room, where young people will explore the wonders of technology while they learn vital computer skills.
“Donna and I hope the Friends’ Center provides a safe place where the kids can have fun, improve their knowledge and develop specific skills that will help them make their way in the world. We hope the lessons they learn as Children International sponsored kids will create in each of them a desire to give back to those who come after them. And, most importantly, we wish for them lifelong friendships that will greatly enhance their quality of life.”

— Gordon Bailey, donor

a man and a woman standing next to a child

Naming opportunities

Make a lifelong impact on children’s futures by naming one of the rooms still available. The very spaces that are changing the lives of kids will honor you or someone you love. We will highlight your investment with a plaque in the available room of your choice, in addition to adding the room name to our website.

For additional information about the recognition associated with naming opportunities, please contact Global Philanthropy at 800‑888‑4089 or

Friends’ Center floor plan

Questions? Contact us!

To provide support or learn more, please contact our Global Philanthropy Team at:

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