MOSES LAKE — Two benefit concerts for a ministry working to reduce child exploitation in the Dominican Republic are scheduled for June 22 and 23 in Othello and Moses Lake.
Berly Bello, his sister Anmily Bello Brown and their band will perform in concert at 7 p.m. June 22 at the Bethel Spanish Assembly in Othello, and at 7 p.m. June 23 at The Assembly at Moses Lake. Admission is free, with a benefit offering.
The Bethel Spanish Assembly is located at 915 South First Ave. in Othello. The Assembly at Moses Lake is at 431 East Brown Ave.
The music, Berly Bello said, is “jazz, but it’s mixed with worship (music).” Bello is a pianist and composer who attended the Conservatory of Music in the Dominican capital city of Santo Domingo. “Since I was young, (music) was my passion,” he said.
The Bellos have recorded an album, “Te Amare.”
The money raised will go to the mission work of Berly and his wife Jamie. Jamie Bello, a 1989 Othello High School graduate, said they are working with kids, especially kids at risk of exploitation.
“Our whole purpose is to change a culture through a generation,” Jamie Bello said. Teen pregnancy is a serious issue in the Dominican Republic, where teen pregnancy rates are among the highest in the Caribbean. “There are trafficking issues also.”
Teen moms have to struggle to get the education that helps give them a chance to get out of poverty – and often don’t make it, Bello said. Their daughters often fall into the same trap, extending the cycle another generation.
“We want to break those cycles,” Jamie Bello said. The couple and their ministry have started a program to help single moms with child care, provide crisis pregnancy centers and a “purity initiative,” all of which is designed to “help them (girls) make better choices” when it comes to premarital sex and pregnancy.
The Bellos are also working on a program to help adults and children alike recognize potential trafficking, as well as how to recognize child abuse and how to combat problems from social media. The goal is to provide the information to at least 10,000 girls and boys over the next four years, she said.
Cheryl Schweizer can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.