Project Hearts has been working with impoverished populations in the Dominican Republic since 1995. What started as a side project for Ruben Ottenwalder has become a full time job. Project Hearts is now recognized by the Dominican Republic as a non-profit organization, has 5 board members and 8 employees. We are always looking to expand and for additional sources of funding for our projects.

Ruben Ottenwalder (President)

Rubén was born into a poor family in the Dominican Republic and emigrated to New York when he was 16 years old, where he worked and finished high school. At 26, he entered the Franciscan religious life for 7 years, the last five in California. He entered monastic life in the D.R. in 1987 and was later sent to Argentina and Massachusetts. After nearly 30 years away, Rubén returned to the area where he grew up, in order to help the marginalized, poverty-stricken people of his community.

Andrés Bautista Reyes (Vice President)

Andrés was born on November 30th in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. His father died when he was 4 years old. Then he moved to San Juan de la Maguana with his mother and sister. After his mother died when he was 6 years old, he moved in with Rubén Ottenwalder. In Baitoa, he finished high school and then entered the University of UCATESI, where he will graduate in August with a degree in Dentistry. Andrés' greatest desire is to serve the neediest individuals in the area, especially the children who are hungry and lack education. He is very happy to be part of Project Hearts and hopes to serve by providing dental services where they are most needed.

Yahaira Abreu Hernández (Secretary)

Since her childhood, Yahaira has enjoyed working with social groups. Throughout her life, she has served as the secretary of a group of neighbors in her community, president of a youth club, and a volunteer educator. Currently, Yahaira is a fulltime teacher and the secretary of Project Hearts. Through this role and her work, she is hoping to improve the quality of life of as many people as possible who are suffering.

Agapito Simeon Ottenwalder (Vocal)

Agapito was born in Baitoa, Santiago, Dominican Republic. At 17, he emigrated to the USA where he lived in New York and worked at Stony Brook University for 22 years. In 1993, he returned to the D.R. where he has been serving as an active leader in the Catholic Church. Agapito got involved with Project Hearts with the desire to serve the neediest families in the area.