Stonehill Service Corps - Dominican Republic

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.

Affordability

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 enewnum@stonehill.edu.

Requirements

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 2016-2017 Corps

Marisa Adams '16, Majors: Political Science: International Relations & Foreign Languages: French/Spanish

"After visiting The Hogar del Niño on two separate H.O.P.E. Spring Break Service trips, I am lucky enough to be spending an entire year here volunteering. This year I am one of two English teachers in the primary school. I have six classes of over 30 students, two each of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade. While the classes can be crazy at times, I absolutely love the time I get to spend with my kids who are full of endless amounts of love and energy. Additionally, I am teaching English to students in grades 4-7 of the deaf school. Communicating can be a bit of a challenge at times since I am still learning sign language, but I am blessed to have so much support from the other teachers here. Finally, in the afternoons I coach about 25 students in grades 7-12 who are preparing to run in the PBO's annual marathon fundraiser. It is incredibly rewarding to get to see how all of my students have been learning and growing so far, and I can't wait to see what they achieve throughout the rest of this year."

Haela Booth-Howe '16, Major: Interdisciplinary Health Science

"This year I am teaching English at the Hogar to children ages two to six. Although our classes are brief, I meet with the students several times a week. We sing songs in English and practice a variety of vocabulary words each class. It is such a delight to be around so many smiling, young faces all day. I am also teaching Natural Science classes in the Deaf School every day to students in second through seventh grade. I meet with each grade level once a week and we do activities and experiments based on what they have been learning with their homeroom teacher that week. Thus far I have prepared activies based on the human body systems, animal kingdoms, gardening, photosynthesis, metamorphasis, native species, and more!  Additionally, twice a week in the evenings, I teach an adult intermediate-level English class. I have a wonderful group of ladies that are dedicated and passionate about learning English. I am enjoying the unique balance between age levels and capabilities of the people I am working with throughout the day here. This has already been such an incredible learning experience and I am looking forward to all that is to come."

Sofia Przybylek '16, Major: Criminology

"This year I am teaching English to 8th-12th graders at the Hogar del Niño. In the high school, students are broken up into three levels of English and I have the honor of teaching the highest level of approximately 15 English learners in each grade. All of my classes have been working hard to advance their skills especially in regards to reading, writing and speaking. It is amazing to see the progress that each student is making every day. I love getting to know my students and being able to help them express themselves in English. I am also responsible for teaching beginner level English to adults twice a week. These classes challenge me to use my Spanish to effectively communicate English grammar and concepts to beginners. My group is very driven and determined and I am very proud of how much they have learned in a short amount of time. It is definitely a great experience being able to teach such different levels and ages of students. In addition to teaching I have been coaching a coed group of 25 energetic 4th and 5th grade students in volleyball. They have been perfecting their bumps and sets and soon we will work on spiking and learning the positions on the court. I have loved the diversity of experiences that I have been able to participate in, both inside and outside the classroom. I have felt welcomed and loved by students, teachers, and friends and I am excited to see what is next to come!"

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."

NinaNina 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

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."

AngieAngela 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!"

ConnielyConnielyn Ramosn 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 UlcenaMelissa 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 GaramboneNina 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

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

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."

For More Information

Email current Corps members Marisa Adams marisa.adams94@gmail.com, Haela Booth-Howe hboothhowe@gmail.com, or Sofia Przybylek przybyleksofia@gmail.com. Follow them on Instagram and read all about a volunteer's life in the D.R. on their blog!

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