sábado, 10 de diciembre de 2011

Pre-School Set to Launch Fall 2012

This update is a bit late, but better late than never. It is important that we explain what happened with the English immersion pre-school that has caused it to not launch this year, fall of 2011, but for us to plan on launching it fall 2012.

This was Change My Stars first year in existence, beginning with the English immersion camp in July, which went quite well. During the second half of the month of June, we just began renting the building and preparing it for the camp. Therefore, our program did not have a strong presence in the community. We were successful in getting kids out to camp, but really this year was low key as everything was just getting started. The campers who attended and the counselors who volunteered all had a great time and have gone on to tell friends and family about their experience, which will undoubtedly cause more interest in the camp next year. 

We made a strong effort to get the pre-school off the ground. We did the best that we could. But in reality, we just didn't start early enough and our program was not well-known enough. We were even last minute with teacher committments and such. We now realize that for a parent to send their child to an English camp is a bit more simple than deciding which pre-school to send their child to. Pre-school is a year long commitment and the parent wants to trust the program. Therefore, we have worked hard to maintain activity in the same building throughout the year, turning it into a volunteer and visitor hostel that has many things going on, English education and mini camps throughout the year being one of them. We will also start reaching out to parents well into the previous school year and accepting registrations, as we realize many parents are already researching for the following school year at that time.

Please stay tuned to see the progress!

martes, 27 de septiembre de 2011

Donation Matched by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

We are proud to announce that recent donations made toward the Change My Stars Scholarship Fund used to send two kids to private school this year was tripled by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The Mellon Foundation, therefore, donated a total of $2,040 to Project Esperanza. Thank you! 

Since these funds were created through the Change My Stars program, they will go back into the program through paying rent for the building used and covering some other similar costs. We would love to be able to use the funds to create scholarships for more children but we must maintain our basic expenses first so that the program can continue! 

sábado, 3 de septiembre de 2011

Change My Stars Scholarship Recipients Announced!

We are proud to announce the 2011-2012 school year Change My Stars Scholarship Recipients. The recipients were chosen during the 2011 summer camp due to financial need, consistent attendance and participation, and potential. Both students have been awarded scholarships to move from the public school they have attended in years past to a private school (colegio) which will provide them with a much more nurturing learning environment and individual attention. School began August 17th. Students were awarded the year's school tuition, uniforms, and books, totaling $320 each. And the recipients are: 

Eriverto Osaldo


Miguelina Joseph.

Congratulations! Keep up the great work!

sábado, 20 de agosto de 2011

Camp: Week 5

This week at camp was very emotional! The counselors tried their best to keep up the camp structure, but it was a little tricky when a different counselor was leaving every day.

Like last week, the counselors used as much English as possible to direct activities. Directions were explained in English first, and then translated into Spanish for better clarification. There was also more pressure on the students to use English, like reinforcing the use of “please” and “thank you” and helping them communicate their desires (such as “I want water”) in English.

In song time, the students reviewed some of the older songs like The Wheels on the Bus and Old MacDonald, and enjoyed a CD one of the counselors brought that they could sing along to. The last few days a jump rope was brought in and the students were taught Cinderella:

Dressed in yellow
Went upstairs
To kiss a fellow
Made a mistake
And kissed a snake!
How many doctors
Did it take?

The students had a lot of fun with the song, and were especially amused at it when translated into Spanish. After repeating the song many times, students challenged each other to see who could get the most doctors to help Cinderella. They loved this so much they also continued it during break time!

Another fun game we played was Mentira, which is just the name the counselors gave to the common card game in America, BS. This gave the students a good opportunity to review their numbers and colors, as well as learn the new shapes, words for King and Queen, and phrases such as “your turn”.

The final day of camp was a cause for celebration! Not only was it the last day, but it was also Ilayas’ birthday! (Ilayas is the son of Project Esperanza’s director, Caitlin.) The counselors (only two now!) decided to have a World Awareness Day, where first we showed the students a map of the world, and asked them to name different countries in each continent. We also asked them what kinds of animals lived where (ex: Australia- kangaroos, Africa- lions, Antarctica- penguins) and facts about the Dominican Republic and Haiti.

To celebrate America (where both counselors were from), the students made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and drank hot cocoa! Some students were reluctant at first to combine, what was to them, such a strange combination but it turned out to be a hit, and many students had multiple sandwiches.

Finally, one of the counselors led the students in a series of yoga poses. The students really enjoyed these exercises, and there were many bouts of laughter as the kids tried their best to do the movements where many times they ended up toppling over on the floor.

Afterwards, we did a small presentation of certificates, awarding campers for the completion of the program. We presented two star campers with scholarships that will allow them to attend private school this year! The day was completed with the students giving Ilayas his birthday presents and many tearful but loving goodbyes. It was a great way to end such a wonderful summer!

jueves, 18 de agosto de 2011

Camp: Week 4

This week at camp felt a little like review as two of the counselors were leaving mid-week for week 5.  The counselors' goal this week was to use as much English as possible around the campers and to be certain to have the campers speak in English as often as possible.  Overall, this week was by far the best for really being able to see the progress of the kids, especially those campers that had been with us from the beginning.

In story time, the campers were broken into different groups.  The younger kids read a Dora the Explorer book and LOVED it.  The book focused on short sentences and important phrases such as:

I need
I want
I have

All of the kids in this group created butterflies, just like the ones in the book to practice their colors and also talked a lot about the difference between clean and dirty as the puppy in the book needs to take a bath!

The older group of campers read a book about graduation.  They all learned many new words, as well as how important it is to learn to read before you can graduate!

In songs, the kids sang Old McDonald and learned how to say the names of different animals in English (as well as had A LOT of fun making the animal sounds at the top of their lungs- I think they heard us down the street).

In games, the kids wanted to play our version of musical chairs and duck, duck, goose (down, down, up) mostly, however, some of the students really got into coloring and continued practicing their English by coloring pages all about numbers and different vocabulary words. 

Friday of Week 4 at camp was very special, however, and all of the regular activities were put on hold so we were able to have a BABY SHOWER for Caitlin!  The kids loved wrapping the presents, decorating the school, and also practicing some English by creating cards for Caitlin!

Camp: Week 3

As promised, this week at camp we had a lot of fun focusing on prepositions!  The students learned words such as: up, down, over, under, on top, around, and into.  We practiced reading a story called, Follow Me, Mittens.

The kids really seemed to like this story and by the end of the week, many were able to read key phrases, specific words, or even the entire book!

In songs, the campers practiced their prepositions and body parts by doing The Hokey Pokey!  They all enjoyed this, especially when they were able to shake their WHOLE body all around.  

By far, however, the campers' favorite part of this week was a new game created by one of our counselors.  It was a lot like musical chairs, but with a twist.  This counselor used a ball and a bucket.  She would yell out where she was placing the ball:

The ball is under the bucket
The ball is over the bucket

But... when she yelled: The ball is INSIDE the bucket

Everyone had to find a seat.  Of course, as in musical chairs, the person without the seat was out of the game.  After playing this a number of times we noticed that the campers were yelling out sentences including prepositional phrases, and some of the youngest campers were even helping to yell the sentences for the game!

There was a lot of progress made this week in camp, but we still have a long way to go and many more words to practice!