Vida Joven Dominicana

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Vida Joven staff members (L-R),​ Fernando Mejia, Julia Veloz, Rafa Alejo, and Jose Rafael Beato.
Today, Vida Joven has over 1,200 teenagers involved in ministry – they’re going to Young Life club, hanging out with their leaders, and gathering weekly to open the Bible together. Vida Joven clubs meet in 27 different cities around the Dominican Republic. There are over 250 volunteer leaders, 27 student staff, and 6 full time staff. However, this ministry didn’t just happen overnight. 

In 1985, a man named Cliff Anderson came to the Dominican Republic to share about Young Life with a group of men and women in Santo Domingo. These folks eventually became committee members and key players in the first years of ministry. 

The first leaders were recruited from Dominican believers who began to understand Young Life. Ministry was begun in the neighborhoods and communities around Santo Domingo. Many of the teens coming to club did not have work or had dropped out of school early. They needed jobs to support their families. Young Life clubs became a place where they received guidance, training, and hope for a better life. In Los Tres Bravos teens were trained and mentored by adult mechanics, plumbers, carpenters, and English teachers. 

In 1989, the first Young Life camp for Dominican teenagers was held at a rental property. Camps were difficult to have during the week because many of the teenagers could not leave their jobs, so weekend camping was adopted. Teens depended on scholarships to pay for camp as well. It became a dream to one day have a Young Life property to raise money for kids to go to camp and host Vida Joven camps throughout the year.

In 1990, the first Young Life club was held in La Vega, and many of the key men and women who lead our ministry today were a part of that club. Rafael Alejo, now the National Director of Vida Joven was one of the teenagers that attended these clubs.  As some of these first Dominican teenagers accepted Jesus, they began to train as Young Life leaders and spread the ministry to other cities. Alejo and his wife Charo returned to Santo Domingo to continue to grow the ministry there.  In 2010 he became the National Director and leads the generations of leaders who have come from the ministry over the years.

Today, our staff depends on support from generous donors to keep doing ministry in the Dominican Republic. Our 27 student staff are all members of Developing Global Leaders (www.ylgloballeaders.org), a scholarship and leadership training program that allows them to be university students and help run the ministry around the country. Without the sponsorship of our DGL students, the ministry in many of the cities around the Dominican Republic would cease to exist. Many of the DGL students are club coordinators, others supervise multiple clubs, and others serve as principle leaders in their area. 

Vida Joven has impacted the lives of thousands of teenagers in the Dominican Republic. These teenagers grow up to become the men and women who are changing the very fabric of their country. If you want to be part of supporting this vibrant ministry, consider sponsoring a teenager to go to camp (link to give page), sponsoring a DGL Student (www.ylgloballeaders.org), or contact our National Director, Rafael Alejo about other ways to fund this ministry. 

To learn more about supporting ministry in this country, click here.
Contact Us

Pico Escondido
Jarabacoa, Dominican Republic

CALL US: (809) 878-6481

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