For One Week Only: Café Justo Reopens to Support Dominican Republic Immersion Trip


Josephine Robinson

Students going on the Dominican Republic service immersion are selling Italian sodas and treats such as muffins, doughnuts, and candy bars through Café Justo to raise money for their trip.

Josephine Robinson, Editor in Chief

During the week of Feb. 13 through 17, Café Justo has reopened its windows during both A and B lunches to sell Italian sodas and treats to the La Salle community. 

The proceeds from this sale are going to help support the upcoming Dominican Republic immersion and service trip taking place during the 2023 spring break. 

“I have been [to the Dominican Republic] probably four or five times, and I love it,” said Vice Principal for Academics and trip facilitator Ms. Kathleen Coughran. “Honestly I know that we are going there to do service, but I honestly feel like we get more out of the trip by just being a part of their culture and learning about other students, other lives, other people.”   

A group of seven La Salle students — including one future Falcon — and Ms. Coughran, as well as students from other Catholic high schools, such as Central Catholic, Valley Catholic, and Jesuit, will be traveling to the town of Cabarete.

This will be the first time that La Salle has been involved with a trip to the Dominican Republic.  

“I’m just super excited to be able to go to a developing country and learn from people who learn and experience things that I don’t normally experience just living in Portland,” sophomore Audrey Schuster said.  

The goal of this trip is to help end the generational poverty that affects many young girls and women in the country. The group will be working with the Mariposa Foundation, which is an all-girls program dedicated to providing an education that empowers women. Part of the proceeds from the lunchtime sale will also go to the foundation itself. 

“The girls we are helping are extremely important, especially because they are taking their standardized testing this year,” sophomore Melly Riel said. “So we are trying to help them get prepared for that, that way they can hopefully move on to high school.”  

Starting two weeks ago, the immersion group began exchanging letters with some of the girls they will soon be volunteering with. Some were written in Spanish and some were written in English, as a few of the girls have been practicing the latter language. 

So far, they have each sent one letter back and forth and hope to continue the correspondence leading up to the trip.  

“They were all really sweet letters, and we got to see pictures of them,” junior Anne Rust said. 

The immersion group hopes to continue fundraising and make as much money as they can to support the trip and Mariposa Foundation. “Even if we raise more than we need, it’s all going to go to that organization,” Schuster said. 

Along with the sale, the group has started a GoFundMe page, which has even garnered attention from people outside of the La Salle community and currently has two donations with a total of $150 raised. “It’s kind of funny,” Rust said. “The first donation that we got on the GoFundMe was $100 from [a Portland] Thorns player.”