domingo, 6 de julio de 2014

2014 Camp Week Two!



Week two has flown by and it’s time for a quick update!

Peace Corps Volunteer Amanda here filling you in on everything that happened at camp.

The 85 individual students we had at camp this week worked really hard to learn the English words that related to their school. The stations were the same, but that definitely doesn’t mean things have gotten monotonous. With the addition of Peace Corps Volunteer Sara the students also gained a Frisbee for their outdoor games. The older students really took to playing Ultimate Frisbee and Sara found a way to bond with the students. We were sad to see her go on Friday.

We also gained an enthusiastic volunteer named Morganne. She was “Row Row Rowing her Boat” and “Bah Bah Black Sheeping” her way into the hearts of the students all week. The pupils also reviewed many of the songs from week one and really seem to like “5 Little Monkeys”.

In the reading room I split time between reviewing vocabulary, reading to the students, and having the students read to the group. I find it helpful for review to play games using the vocabulary words, so this week we played hangman. A lot of this has to do with the fact that individual letters are so important to the English language so I want the students to be able to recognize individual letters outside of whole words. My favorite part of camp is when I can find an enthusiastic reader to read aloud to his or her peers. I tend to find three a day who really want to take on the challenge of reading to the other students, so I try to make that time enjoyable. More than just a reading station, I hope we can also encourage a culture of books within the students.

This weeks art classes were a lot of fun, because we were focusing on colors. Taylor was able to use water and food coloring to demonstrate different aspects of blending colors. Joanne was able to encourage a lot of use of colors when she helped the students make rainbows using color and coffee filters. It's always nice when we can find a way for the students to express their creativity through art. 

Field day Friday came around lickity split and the teams were ready for their three legged races. Like we say, work hard and then play hard and play hard they did. Everybody tried their best, but the white team came out on top. That was ironic for the week focusing on color and white wins. Oh, science.

All in all it was a very successful week of camp. The students are eager to come and the volunteers are all eager to help them learn. We can’t wait to see what week three will bring.

lunes, 30 de junio de 2014

2014 Camp Week One!




Hello everybody!

My name is Joanne and I’m serving as Volunteer Coordinator for camp this summer. I’m an incoming 4th-year Architecture student at Virginia Tech, where I began my involvement with volunteer work in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. I will begin the blog this summer, and you will later also hear from our PeaceCorps Volunteer Amanda, and PeaceWorks Volunteer Taylor!

Last Friday, we ended week 1 with a quiz, followed by our newly-introduced field day! Our theme of the week was “Welcome to English Camp!” where we focused on greeting phrases, numbers, the alphabet, question words & phrases, days of the week, and our five rules of camp: raise your hand, listen, be respectful, share, and help clean up. Although it seems like it was a lot of information, our campers actually all scored around 90%-95% on their first quiz! 

The campers’ favorite activities this week were making cootie catchers with Taylor, singing “Five Little Monkeys” with me, and reading The Jungle Book with Amanda! This year, we are also implementing a camp prayer, which the kids learned very quickly! It goes like this…
Thank you for the friends we make.
Thank you for the food we eat.
Thank you for the birds that sing.
We give thanks for everything.

By Friday, a 10-year old returning camper, Milena, even led the camp prayer! A video of it is included in our Week One video. It’s wonderful to see how quickly and eagerly the campers learn. Although we had a smaller number of volunteers this week, the campers had a blast! After the field day on Friday, a few campers came up to me and said “Nos vemos mañana?” (See you tomorrow?) and I disappointed them with bad news that camp only runs Monday-Friday. So I’d say that Week One was pretty successful!

Here are a couple of ways you can keep posted with our activities:
  • Like our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Change-My-Stars/201315789952371
  • Follow our Twitter page: https://twitter.com/Change_My_Stars
  • continue reading our blog!

Also, check out our Week One video! I apologize that most of the footage are from our Field Day, because I was leading a station myself. As we receive more volunteers, I will have a chance to film some more :)
https://vimeo.com/99569699

If you’re interested in volunteer, we are still accepting volunteers! For further information, please email: volunteer@esperanzameanshope.org

Thanks for reading, and a huge thanks to our very patient volunteers who worked with us this week: PCV Amanda, PWV Taylor, PCV Dallas, PCV Queenie, David, and ex-PCV Maria! We look forwarding to our new volunteers coming in for next week! :)

lunes, 5 de mayo de 2014

Partnership with The School Fund


We are happy to announce that we have a partnership with a scholarship platform called The School Fund. They allow top students with financial need at least 13 years of age who are in high school to be posted on their site. The advantages of posting there is that they have an online journal built in where donors and students can write back and forth, as well as the requirement of posting receipts.

This first year they have allowed us to post 5 students. If things go well, we can add more in future years. Out of these 5 students,  Chinaider and Miguelina have been sponsored in full, Naomi has been sponsored 44%, but Wadner and Piterly remain without sponsorship. Please consider posting their profile on your FB page to gain interest! Donors really seem to enjoy the online journal that allows them to communicate with the students. 

In addition, here is a letter from Fefe, our university student. Unfortunately, university students are not allowed to be posted on The School Fund at this time. Lastly, we are in preparation mode for summer camp. We feel confident that this will be the best year yet! 

Hello to all! My name is Freddy. It is a great pleasure writing this message to you that have helped me very much in the university. Many thanks. I don't have money to return what you have given me but there is a God in heaven that will pay back those that are helping me with a good and sensitive heart. But right now I have a problem to register in this next cycle because of money. This is why I write this message to see if there is anyone interested in helping me to continue with my career that it should help not just me but other people. I don't lack much to finish. Please and thank you, his thousand graces and that God blesses you. 

He reports his grades for this quarter that just finished as:

English 5 - A
French 5 - A
Psychology - B
Phonetics - B
General Statistics - A 
Sociology - C

He says that the reason he got a C in Sociology is because of a group project where the group did not take responsibility. 

Thank you for your support! 



jueves, 19 de septiembre de 2013

End of Summer Camp & Scholarships for the New School Year


On August 2nd, we finished our third annual English immersion summer camp here in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic. It lasted 6 weeks and this summer 55 campers participated! We added a new group for youth ages 15 to early 20s. We had cut off campers at 14 in the past, but there was an overwhelming interest of this group, so we added the group and called them Watermelons, in addition to our other 5 fruit groups.

We continued with the four stations - Story, Arts & Crafts, Songs, and Active Games. 10 volunteers, all from the US, ran the camp, in collaboration with our Haitian teachers. 5 counselors were here throughout the entire summer, which created lots of consistency, and 3 counselors were returners from last year, which strengthened our program as well.

Also, as a surprise to all of us, we moved into a new and improved building on our last week, complete with a playground!

After camp, it was time to prepare for the start of the school year. We continued our three scholarships from last year. Freddy Jean Piet enters into his second year studying Modern Languages at the University of OyM. Eriverto Osvaldo has moved onto 6th grade at Sueno de Los Ninos private school. And Miguelina Joseph graduated from 7th grade at Sueno de Los Ninos, so she moved onto a new school for 8th grade and then high school. This school, Santa Rosa de la Lima, is one of the best private schools in the city, and we are proud that she is able to attend. She is loving it so far!

Oh, I almost forgot, there was a special scholarship set up this year for Eriverto's younger sister Aniverca who has cerebral palsy and has never gone to school before this year, just one summer of summer camp. She was registered in 1st grade at Sueno de Los Ninos, but unfortunately, the teacher was unable to continue with her integrated into the class, although they do have one student with cerebral palsy, but he appears to be more accustomed to going to school and working in a classroom. So the plan is to attempt to place her in a special education school, at least for a few years, if the special scholarship continues, and then attempt to integrate her again.

Thank you for your continued support! Together, we are truly changing lives and working for a better future.

sábado, 27 de julio de 2013

Change My Stars - Week 5


Change My Stars - Week 5 

The weeks are winding down and the kids have progressed so much. They have learned many english words and some great life skills. They have developed more into mature people that treat each other with respect as well as themselves. I have noticed through the weeks that their dreams for themselves are higher and their determination to make the dreams become a reality have deepened. One sweet girl, Jenny, told us she wants to be a doctor, with her studying skills and determination I believe she can do that! 
Week five's theme was my world, my community. We wanted to include how we should take care of our environment as well as our bodies by good hygiene. We had a hand washing station and also informed the children on where garbage should go. Because we changed the routine of things many of the children didn't know what was going on, so the first two days of camp went a little rough. After we had a meeting with Caitlin everything was smoothed out and we were able to teach english in addition to sharing knowledge of how to keep our world clean and safe. 
I was so proud of the little guys, some of the volunteers thought they would have been too young to understand the lessons about hygiene, but we taught them and they responded with enthusiasm. I was surprised after asking the little ones, why we should was our hands frequently, one girl, Esmiley, said because she doesn't want to get "gripa" or a cold.  Now after the first two sessions of the day everyone washes their hands and then has a snack. 
Overall, this week was great. The kids really responded well to the new lessons we added and now work together to keep the area around them clean. With  the lesson of washing hands and picking up trash alone, it will cut down the risk of people getting sick or spreading germs. 

lunes, 22 de julio de 2013

Week Four - Animals


This week in camp we focused on animals, the places they live and other related vocabulary.  We also talked a lot about pronouns.  It was great to see how many of the students were using the following pronouns correctly by the end of the week:  he, she, it, I, and, they.  We used some dialogue to practice English pronunciation.  Additionally, the students in the oldest group stood up in front of the class and were able to introduce themselves in English. 

Also, we were excited to welcome a new volunteer to camp this week, Elba.  Elba suggested we work a little on empowering the students by teaching them phrases like, “I am intelligent,” “I am strong,” “I can change my stars.”  It was so exciting to see, on Wednesday, the youngest groups of students shouting these empowering statements really loud (the entire neighborhood could probably hear them). 

We want these beautiful children to know that they are smart and capable enough to change their stars. I think we all concluded that, the children need know where they came from and what a strong group people, in order to go even further in making something for themselves. So some of the class time has been used to teach such moving Haitian history. 

We are all looking forward to welcoming EM and Jamira to camp next week and seeing what amazing things the students learn this upcoming week!