Image(s) © Matt Dayka/Vitamin Angels
Image(s) © Matt Dayka/Vitamin Angels

Dominican Republic 2014: Jenna Wolff Tovar

During the first week of May, Univera Associates and Corporate Staff accompanied Serve First’s partner, Vitamin Angels, on a mission trip to the Dominican Republic.

Below, learn more about the trip through the eyes of a Vitamin Angels employee.

My name is Jenna Wolff Tovar.  I am the Foreign Travel Coordinator and Executive Assistant to the President at Vitamin Angels.  I have worked for Vitamin Angels since 2013.  I live in Santa Barbara, California, with my husband, Andrés. My hobbies include cooking, hiking, going to the beach, and of course, traveling.  I have visited almost 30 countries on 5 continents, and hope to visit many, many more!

What is your favorite Univera Product and why?
I like the Immunity Support line — no one likes to get sick!

What does Serve First mean to you?
Serve First means giving back to the global community.  I believe that every person has an obligation to his or her fellow humans, to share the opportunities we have received.  The spirit of Univera Serve First is inspiring, and we are so grateful for their support of our programs. Serve First’s mission fits very well with our mission at Vitamin Angels- to help at-risk populations gain access to lifesaving and life changing vitamins and minerals.  Our goal is to ensure that every child, no matter how poor or remote, gets a fair chance at a healthy and productive life.

Describe how you felt when you found out that you had been chosen to go on the annual Serve First trip?
I am thrilled to be traveling to the Dominican Republic with Serve First!  It will be my first time to the DR, and my first time traveling with Serve First. I am so excited about meeting the women and children we reach.  I am looking forward to hearing their stories and learning what their lives are like.

What are your expectations about the Dominican Republic?
I am very glad that we will get the opportunity to see parts of the country that tourists almost never see.  We will be in the interior of the country, far from the beaches and resorts that people think of when they imagine the DR.  I think the communities we visit will be poor and crowded, but also colorful and lively.  Most importantly, I imagine that, despite the poverty, the people will be hopeful, friendly, and excited to show us their country.  I think that the children will be happy to play with us, and the mothers will be glad to show off their healthy children.
What are you doing to prepare for your trip physically, mentally and emotionally?
I am watching Dominican movies with Kelsey, and have been practicing my Spanish.  I’ve also been spending a lot of time on travel websites learning more about the country.  As part of my trip coordination, I have been working closely with our in-country partners, Batey Relief Alliance Dominicana, and learning more about their organization. I have also made a list of all the Dominican foods I want to try when we are there!

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