Brightening Up the Community, with Used Tires

11/18/14

Watching Alejandro Suero Reyes hold up an old tire in front of a class full of students, you’d never guess he’s a lawyer. Alejandro is teaching a free community class on how to create sculptures out of used tires. 

Alejandro began sculpting used tires as a hobby.
Alejandro began sculpting used tires as a hobby. Now he teaches a free community class and his sculptures decorate the grounds of Casa Bethesda, COTN’s ministry site.
 
Students, young and old, gather around Alejandro at the Children of the Nations (COTN) school here in the community of Don Bosco, Dominican Republic. They pay close attention as he shows them how to mark the tire before they cut it. Two students wearing protective gloves take the tire. One of them carefully positions a large knife and begins the incision. 
 
By the end of this course, Alejandro’s students will earn a certificate of completion and be able to show off their sculptures in an art show.
 
 
Alejandro’s partnership with COTN is a natural fit. His class is making a positive impact on the children and community here in Barahona, one of the poorest areas of the Dominican Republic. Many families here struggle to make enough money to buy food and send their children to school. 
 
“When you do something with a tire, it’s not sitting collecting water and breeding mosquitoes,” Alejandro says. These sculptures clean up the community and provide students with the ability to make money by selling their creations. “It’s very important because right now we don’t have jobs for young people,” he explains.
 
This class will transform used tires into everything from planters to animal scu
This class will transform used tires into everything from planters to animal sculptures by cutting them up and painting them in bright, bold colors.
 
You can see the joy Alejandro gets from sharing his talent with the children. His sculptures are proudly displayed all over the grounds of Casa Bethesda—COTN’s mission house in Barahona. He’s excited about his latest project, creating animal sculptures for Don Bosco’s kindergarten playground. He says it will make learning about animals fun for the kids.
 
Alejandro’s work is drawing attention throughout the community. Another local school has asked him to teach his class to their students. Alejandro says he will continue teaching this class wherever he can. 
 
Someday he hopes these sculptures will become a trademark for Barahona, bringing positive attention to a district that’s traditionally overlooked because of its depressed economy. One day, Alejandro says, he hopes people will look at these sculptures and say, “Look, that comes from Barahona! That comes from COTN!” 
 
Alejandro believes all children have a need to create
Alejandro believes all children have a need to create, and he hopes these sculptures will encourage them to keep creating.
 
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