Our Model

Grassroots Community Development



We empower motivated locals to take charge of the ongoing development of their home communities

At Puente, we believe that the only people who can truly turn a community around are its own residents. That’s why our strategy is to empower home-grown leaders who can facilitate positive change in their own regions over the course of a lifetime, not a single project. This strategy is exemplified by our core grassroots development initiative: an intensive training program in the Dominican Republic that teaches motivated locals to be advocates for sustainable growth in their home communities.

Our Training Program

Core Curriculum

  • Community Development Strategies
  • Best Practices for Sustainable Development
  • Data Collection Methodology
  • Data Analysis
  • Project Monitoring & Evaluation
  • Building Successful External Partnerships
  • Working Inclusively to Benefit the Entire Community

Real World Lessons

Every aspect of our curriculum is tied to tangible, relevant examples in local communities. Students can apply the lessons to projects they’ve seen first-hand in their home communities, and our returned Peace Corps Volunteer instructors add insights from their own projects. This type of interactive, example-based training ensures that all our training is centered on and connected to the community itself.

Generational Impacts

No one cares about or understands a community more than its own residents, who want to improve not only their own lives but the lives of their children. Development organizations and volunteer groups can only focus on a community for so long, and that’s okay — after all, the end goal of community development is to build communities that don’t need external aid. Putting well-trained residents in the drivers seat ensures that there are always capable leaders on the ground to foster continuous improvement. Most of our students are in their late high school to early college years; we believe they can be forces for good in their communities for decades to come.