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The Beauty of Helping From Afar: Local Couple's School In Dominican Republic Reaches Amazing Heights

Hurricane Sandy barreled over the first day of class at Bill and Birdie Levine's new school.

Bill himself had to drive some of the children to safety, some of them had never been in a car.

But classes were on for day two.

Area businessman Bill Levine says, "We had to provide a place of security, we had to provide a place where people are fed, Where you have a dry roof over your head. These kids live in a home environment which is horrific. So for them to come to school. Some of them, their first week, didn't want to leave."

Birdie Levine says, "You want them to strive to be better. And so, that's why we this."

Bill Levine says, "Through education that will enable them to break the cycle of poverty."

Bill and Birdie Levine's school would grow.

They were finding that the beauty of helping others had rewards that could well have outranked the beauty of jewels or the sunny beaches of Dominican Republic. Their partner Jacky saw the magic herself.

Jackelin Hoplanel Cortes says, "We need to do something for our country. Because I know they have some kids that don't have the opportunity to have a good school."

So, the school upgraded.

Area businessman Bill Levine says, "The school went from this tiny little shack and in the course of a year and a half, we built a branmd new facility, state of the art. Three classrooms, two modern bathrooms, we have a principal's office, we have a psychologist."

Birdie Levine says, "We're in awe of the changes. And, this huge, huge backyard. This huge playground and it's a perfect place for them. It's very safe."

They showed their students the new building

Birdie Levine says, "It was really adorable. We took all of the children and we brought them in and set them up in front of the school. And then, slowly but surely we had them all lined up outside and then we opened up the gate and they all filed in. And, their faces, they were so excited."

There are the cynics, some wondering if the Levines were doing this for a tax break.

Birdie Levine says, "No, in fact, there is no tax write-off because it's in a foreign country and that never occurred to me. You know, when you see these children, it changes your life."

The children are so proud of their school, their uniforms and their new opportunities.

They often sing in unison.

The Levines, from New York to the Dominican Republic had themselves discovered the beauty of helping others from afar

Bill Levine says, "And so the beauty of what happens is doing good for others. That's the lesson. In our business, we celebrate happy times. And, probably in the course of the 100 years my family has been in business, we've made hundreds of thousands of people happy. But the joy that we bring to the families and the kids in the Dominican Republic that give me joy is far far far greater satisfaction."