Transforming lives, building community!

This summer Serve To LEAD launched its first international youth development camp in the Dominican Republic! Working with youth from Asheville and the village of Saman, these young people spent 6 1/2 weeks learning, sharing, serving, and growing together. 


Youth from Asheville trained with us during the school year to prepare for the summer. These students from Asheville High School spent time taking a deeper look at global issues and Serve To LEAD’s holistic approach to addressing problems that grow from spiritual, social, and material poverty. They served as interns in our local World Changer Clubs learning to teach, plan, fund raise, budget, and experience success and set-backs with a positive mindset. As they prepared for the summer they grew in confidence and competence as equipped, servant-leaders.



Once in the Dominican Republic, Serve To LEAD met with our community leaders to identify youth in the area who wanted to join the camp’s leadership team. Three youth from Asheville and four youth from Saman joined together to lead the Saman Social Circus camp. In this camp, 21 young people from the community of Saman and the youth leadership team worked together to advance life skills and leadership abilities through the medium of performing arts. Sharing their love of dance, art, music, and acro-yoga, these students worked together for 6 1/2 weeks to choreograph a group performance.

This talented group capped off the summer by putting on a high energy show for the entire community!

Youth who participated said that they learned how to work together to accomplish a common goal, overcome set backs through communication, commitment, and encouragement, hold themselves and others accountable, trust others, respect others, and believe in themselves. One of our Saman community leaders said that the youth in the village had never been given an opportunity to envision something and bring it to fruition. He said that many things in the community start but are left unfinished. He said that this camp demonstrated to the youth that they could work together and use their God-given abilities to make an idea a reality! 

So many life skills were learned in our leadership development camp this summer, but above all, we had the joy of bringing teenagers together from different cultures and social-backgrounds to share their talents, learn from one another, and serve together to make their world a better place.
Love, Equity, Altruism, and Dignity L.E.A.D. our approach to youth and community development!
We are breaking down social barriers and reducing global poverty: spiritually, socially, and materially. As youth learn and serve with us guided by L.E.A.D. core values, they gain life skills and new perspectives that enable them to make positive changes in their own lives and in their communities!

The heart of our development approach is so beautifully illustrated in this Servant’s Prayer by St. Francis of Assisi,

“Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.

O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console,
To be understood as to understand,
To be loved as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
It is in dying to self that we are born to eternal life.”

What a different world this would be if we all sought to truly love others as we love ourselves and treat others as we want to be treated.