Stonehill Service Corps - Dominican Republic is a cultural service experience in which Stonehill graduates live in La Romana, Dominican Republic and work at Hogar del Nino, a daycare and school that serves over 1,500 local children aged newborn to 18 years old.
The program is open to graduates of Stonehill College in the current year and previous two years, and runs from August through June.
Roles & Responsibilities
Corps members primarily teach English to children aged 3 to 6 in the morning. In the afternoon, they work in various positions at the facility including coordinating after-school programs. You will also be given the chance to use your unique talents within the curriculum and extracurricular activities, so graduates of any area of study are encouraged to apply.
Corps members commit to living by the program's core principles of service, community, spirituality and simple living.
Program resources will cover the cost of room and board, medical insurance, and travel expenditures to and from the destination country at the start and end of the program. A modest monthly stipend and subsidy for in-country travel will also be offered.
Student Loan Deferment or Forbearance
This volunteer experience may also allow participants to defer their student loans during their time in service. For student loan deferment or forbearance information, contact Eric Newnum, Associate Director for Loans, at 508-565-1394 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Dominican Republic Corps is open to Stonehill alumni of the current and previous two graduating classes who have some Spanish fluency. No prior teaching experience is necessary, but an interest in working with children is required.
Orientation and Training
Corps members participate in a four-day orientation program at Stonehill College immediately prior to departure. Orientation and job specific training will also be conducted onsite at Hogar del Nino upon arrival.
Our 2014-2015 DR Corps
Larissa Chassman '14, Majors: International Studies and Spanish
"As a member of the Stonehill Service Corps DR, I am serving as an English teacher at the Hogar del Niño. I teach three kindergarten classes that each have 45-50 students. It's difficult having so many students in one class, but it is amazing to watch the students grow and learn each week. Together as a group this year we are striving to create a curriculum for the English program in the preschool and kindergarten. Every week we create our own lesson plans and materials for the students in hopes of creating a fun and interactive learning environment for our kids. I have also been working in the Sala Cuna, or the daycare area in the afternoons. Soon I will be working in the high school's English honors program as well."
Nina Garambone '13, Major: Biology
"This year I am fortunate enough to return to the Hogar del Nino as a second year volunteer. In tandem with our supervisor, Virginia, I am working on improving the curriculum for the preschool (Nivel Incial) based off the Common Core Standards utilized in the States. In addition, we are here to support all of the teachers of the school and our community of volunteers in the English program. In the afternoons, I work with a group of 30 students in an empowerment program. During this time, we broach a wide variety of subjects such as self-confidence, STI’s, professionalism, etc. I could not be happier with my decision to serve a second year here in the Dominican Republic. I have enjoyed watching my students grow and learn from the past year to this one. They are the reason I love to get up for work each day! This has been the most beautiful journey of my life and I cannot wait to see what the rest of this year has in store for us."
Carola Melendez-Rios '13, Major: Neuroscience
"This is my second year here in the Dominican Republic working at the Hogar del Niño, and I couldn´t be any happier that I made the decision to stay. This year I am working on a discipline plan for the Nivel Inicial or the pre-school, which aims to work with teachers and assistants to improve class management in order to improve the education. Together with Angie and another teacher, I am also teaching a class for children ages 6-10 with a wide range of learning and behavioral difficulties where our goal is to improve literacy, conduct and over-all social skills. I am so lucky to wake up every single day excited to go to work to be with the incredible children of the Hogar del Niño. Every day is filled with laughter, heartbreak, hope, strength, and love and I would not change this beautiful organized chaos for anything."
Angela Moskwa '14, Majors: English and Spanish
"At the Hogar del Niño, I volunteer as an English teacher in the primary and secondary classrooms. I co-teach three Kindergarten classes with my fellow Stonehill Corps member Larissa. Our students love learning through singing and playing so we work together to plan lessons and activities that are interactive and engaging for our Kindergarteners. It is amazing how much English they have learned already! I am also teaching 8th and 9th grade English classes. I am looking forward to getting to know my students and help them improve their English through conversations, group projects and games. In the afternoons, Carola and I work with children who have learning difficulties and behavioral issues to improve their literacy and social skills. I am proud of the progress our students have made and will make as the year continues!"
Connielyn Ramos '14, Major: Neuroscience
"During my year here at the Hogar del Niño, I teach English in the Preschool, specifically to about 150 two to three year-old children every morning. In the afternoons, I teach Spanish Reading and Writing in the Deaf School to students in the Preschool, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grades as well. While my title may be 'Teacher,' this school is very different from the ones we are familiar with in the United States, and I also find myself in the positions of nurturer, friend, caretaker, and mentor at times. The Hogar is a special place with extraordinary students, and I feel so blessed with the opportunity to see not only my students, but all the children here, grow and learn throughout this year. Additionally, I too am learning and growing just as much as my students are."
Melissa Ulcena '14, Major: Health Sciences
"As a volunteer at the Hogar del Niño this year, I am the pre-school English teacher for about 150 four year-old children. Each class has 50 students and it is my responsibility to create lesson plans and materials for them each week. On Tuesday and Thursday afternoons I work alongside the yoga instructor and teach the kids about nutrition, the importance of being active, and how to make good choices. On Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, I coach the Hogar del Niño's running team. The kids are in grades 8 through 12 and it is a lot of fun to use my passion for running to help these kids stay disciplined and work hard towards a goal. I'm always proud to see their improvement each week and smiling faces post-race every Saturday. My different roles at the school and the range of ages I work with makes each day different from the next and my experience here worthwhile. I couldn't be happier!"
Our 2013-2014 DR Corps
Nina Garambone '13, Major: Biology
"As a volunteer at the Hogar del Nino, I am responsible for teaching English to pre-school students ages 3 to 4 years old each morning. In addition, I teach English in the elementary school, specifically second and fourth grade. Each of these classes contain 30 to 45 students which is different from many classrooms in the states. In addition to being a teacher, we are friends and mentors to students throughout the school, giving love and support whenever it is needed. In the coming months, we will be assisting with the high school English honors program and are soon to begin a women's empowerment group at the Hogar. I have enjoyed each moment with my students and look forward to seeing them grow and learn."
Carola Melendez-Rios '13, Major: Neuroscience
"At the Hogar del Nino I am teaching English to Pre-School (ages 4-5), 1st and 3rd grade as well as assisting Nina in her 2nd and 4th grade classes. The Hogar del Nino is very different then most traditional schools and therefore come very different responsibilities then a normal teaching position. I am responsible for making lesson plans for all of my classes. I teach three groups of 45 Pre-schoolers every morning and 1st and 3rd graders (about 30-40 per class) twice a week. In addition to tearching English, we are responsible for the discipline and care of each and every one of our students which could mean anything such as giving hugs to kids having a bad day or disciplining those who need a firmer hand. Within the next few months, Nina and I will be starting a Women's Empowerment group with the middle school aged as well as high school aged girls at the school. I couldn´t be any happier or loving it more, these kids really could not be more wonderful."
Ramses Montero '13, Major: Graphic Design
"This year I am fortunate enough to be a volunteer, teacher, grant writer, mentor and friend to many amazing children at the Hogar Del Niño school. I teach English to about 120 five and six year olds every morning. In the afternoons, I teach art in small groups in the extracurricular after-school program to first and second graders. Carola, Nina and I are all working with kids from the high school to the primary school on a music project with the goal of releasing an bilingual album showcasing the Hogar´s many talents. I also work with the Patronato Benefico Oriental (PBO), the organization that helps fund the school and many other community resources, as a grant writer."