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Andrea de los Santos was one of many children living in poverty in Sabana Grande de Boyá, Dominican Republic. Intelligent and driven, she had dreams of becoming a medical doctor—but her parents could barely afford to provide for her basic needs, let alone a good education.

When Andrea was granted sponsorship to a Christ-centered education through Colegios Cristianos Reformados (COCREF) schools, a Resonate Global Mission partner, it seemed her dreams of practicing medicine were finally in reach.

But God had a different purpose for Andrea’s education.

Letting a Dream Die

Andrea attended COCREF schools from elementary school through high school. After graduating with the highest grades in her class, she enrolled at the Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo to study medicine.

Her grades were just as strong at university; Andrea knew she would make a great doctor someday.

“But I quickly realized that my parents could not afford the costs of studying there, although they never told me,” she said. “One day I told them: ‘I do not want to live in Santo Domingo anymore. I want to study another career. Medicine is not my thing.’”

To ease the financial burden on her parents, Andrea moved back home to Sabana Grande de Boyá, got a job as a typist at a local public school, and buried her dream of becoming a doctor.

But God was building another future—not just for Andrea, but for thousands in her community.

A New Dream

Since Andrea knew how to speak, write, and read English from her studies at COCREF schools, she would occasionally substitute for the English teacher.

“The contact with the students—the fact that they learned something that I taught them— motivated me to study Foreign Language Education,” Andrea said. “That was when I discovered that [teaching] was my passion.”

She put that passion to work, receiving a bachelor’s in education and a master’s in education management. Upon graduating, Sabana Grande de Boyá Public Schools immediately hired her as a teacher.

That was just the beginning of Andrea’s new dream.

When the position as district director for Sabana Grande de Boyá Public Schools became available, Andrea applied and was selected among dozens of other qualified applicants.

Building Bright Futures

Today, Andrea leads more than ten thousand students, faculty, and staff.

In addition to updating curriculum and implementing best practices, Andrea recruits and mentors teachers, principals, and administrative staff.

“What I like the most is when I see students feel at ease in their schools and with their teachers, [and] when I see schools that previously had difficulties but, with our orientations, have changed and continue progressing,” Andrea said. “That excites me a lot!”

In her work, she remembers the model set by her COCREF teachers.

“Attending a Christian school greatly influenced my personality,” Andrea said. “[It] taught me the importance of love, faith, kindness, and responsibility. The love, dedication, and quality of those who worked in those classrooms was evident and had a great significance in terms of learning about loving one’s neighbor as myself. This has shaped who I am today.”

Andrea thanks Resonate supporters for playing a key role in her formation. Just as her own life was transformed through education, she is honored to transform the lives of thousands of students.

“God and my faith in him is everything!” she said. “It is with him that I start the morning and with whom I end the day. Every day, I ask God for wisdom to face the difficulties of the day and the task at hand, and he always listens to me. I believe he has placed me here to serve him.”

A version of this article was originally published on