Service Corps Update

Due to concerns around the COVID-19 crisis, and out of an abundance of caution, the college has suspended the Stonehill Service Corps for the 2020-2021 service year.

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 late July through June.

Roles & Responsibilities

Corps members primarily teach English to children in pre-K through high school, depending on Spanish fluency, and often coordinate extra-curricular programs. One Corps member is usually placed in the school for the hearing impaired which is located on-site. 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 Dominican Republic at the start and end of the program. Meals are provided at Club de la Costa where the Corps members reside. A modest monthly stipend of $120 and a subsidy for in-country travel of $500 are also provided.

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.

Recent Service Corps

Amanda Blair '18, Major: Spanish; Minors: Communication, Gender & Sexuality Studies

I am absolutely loving life with the Stonehill Service Corps. I have formed so many close relationships both in and out of school, and I find something fulfilling in every day. I teach English to grades 9-12 in the secondary school as well as grades 4-6 in the deaf school. I also run an extracurricular middle school recorder group four days a week. It's certainly given me a few headaches. My youngest student is eleven years old, as I initially did not want to work with young children, but I nonetheless find myself hanging out at primary recess just for fun. The kids here are just so friendly and curious you can't help but love them! 

Azariah Boyd '18 , Major: Biology

The opportunity to serve with the Stonehill Service Corps – DR has been a blessing to my life thus far. My comfort zone has been altered drastically yet, I have found that is where growth happens. Committing to doing a year of service was difficult for me however, the support system at Stonehill and in the DR made it easy. Currently, I am relearning the importance of service and what service means to me.

Serving at the Hogar requires me think on my feet, while at the same time, give extra consideration into everything I do. I teach English to 4th through 8th grade with group sizes ranging from 4 students to 8 students. However, spending time with students outside of class during breaks are my favorite parts of the day. Here I am able to play games, provide extra help with English or even braiding their hair. I enjoy being a resource and being present throughout the day. Choreographing for the Dance Club co-curricular allows me to teach different styles of dancing such as, Latin Pop, Hip-Hop and Afro-beats. Music and dance are important to me and it has been exciting learning some of the Dominican culture through this passion. Although I am a teacher, I learn from students more than anything. Daily I am confronted with my privileges, discovering things about myself and the world we live in.

Julia Holland '18, Major: Marketing; Minor: Studio Arts

I thought that it was important to have an "abroad" experience before I joined the real world. I researched many different service programs. I decided that this program was the best fit for me. I was really attracted to having the opportunity to practice Spanish and the support of Stonehill. 

At the Hogar, I am an English Teacher in the preschool for both the hearing and deaf schools. I usually work in small groups of 8-12 students to help them develop their vocabulary and comprehension. We sing songs, read books and practice pronunciation. I teach about 8 half hour classes a day. I also co-coach volleyball for 5th graders with Maggie. We practice fundamentals of bumping and setting. I really enjoy getting to have fun with students in a relaxed atmosphere. 

I love getting the opportunity to practice different languages and work with so many patient and supportive people. I truly feel lucky to get to live in such a beautiful country.

Maggie Kelley '18, Majors: Elementary Education and History; Minor: Spanish

After my experience studying abroad, the idea of a year of service started to make a lot of sense. As an education major, I was very interested in working with children, and the Stonehill Service Corps in the Dominican Republic had everything I could have asked for.

At the Hogar del Niño, I have the opportunity to work with students in another language and culture by teaching primary grades 1 through 3, as well as grades 1 through 3 in  the deaf school. I also work with an inclusive class of 3 grade deaf and hearing students, coordinate volunteers from a bilingual school in La Romana to come tutor middle schoolers in English, as well as co-teach a volleyball co-curricular with Julia.  Working at this school and living in the Dominican Republic has changed my perspective and made me a better and more flexible teacher.  I can’t wait to bring back the skills and knowledge that I am gaining from this year of service to my future classroom, wherever that may be!

Lauren Ireland '17, Majors: Elementary Education and Visual & Performing Arts; Minor: Spanish

When I decided to attend Stonehill College I was very attracted to the school’s commitment to service and social justice. As I considered what path I would take after graduation I saw service as a valuable chance to live out that commitment in an even greater capacity. The Stonehill Service Corps has given me the opportunity to join my passion for service and teaching with the support of my alma mater. 

At the Hogar del Niño I teach English to students in grades one through four. I also co-coach a volleyball extracurricular to fifth grade students. These roles have allowed me to develop professionally as an educator, adapting the skills I learned at Stonehill to meet the needs of my students. Living in a new country and being immersed in a foreign culture has empowered me outside of the classroom as well. Every day presents a unique challenge be it language, lifestyle, or personal, but with the support of the other Corps members - past and present - and the vibrant community of students and friends we have found in La Romana, I have experienced tremendous personal growth and interpersonal rewards. In addition to meeting incredible people and becoming familiar with the Dominican culture, I have learned a great deal about managing unfamiliar situations, fulfilling difficult commitments, and overcoming personal challenges. These lessons will prepare me for ventures - personal and professional - I take on in the future, wherever that may be.

Sydney Kelly '17, Majors: Psychology and Spanish

This year, after deciding to forgo my original plan of graduate school, I decided on a year of service. The Stonehill Service Corps was perfect because I wanted to improve my Spanish, immerse myself in another culture, and gain teaching experience. In my time here so far, I've learned so much about the culture, the people, my students and myself. Every day I'm challenged to be a better teacher and community member. I teach English in the preschool, ages 3-6, for 8 classes a day. We sing songs in English and learn different vocabulary words, depending on the lesson. I am so impressed with their ability to learn a second language and how quickly they start to retain it at such a young age. They are a very energetic and curious bunch who love coming to English class, always ready to learn! The teachers here have been very welcoming, whether that's taking us under their wing here at school, or inviting us to events on the weekends. I love spending my free time on weekends going out with them, exploring the La Romana area or spending the day at the beach. I strongly recommend a year of service and the Stonehill Service Corps has been great. My time here in the Dominican Republic has already made a tremendous impact on me!"

Sarah McCracken '17, Major: Business Management; Minor: Education

During my time teaching English at the Hogar del Nino I have been exposed to so much love. What I enjoy most about my classroom is whom I share it with. My students love teaching me as much as I love teaching them. At the Hogar del Nino I teach in the hearing impaired school to students ages 3-22. I started the year without knowing any sign language, but quickly learned with the help of the teachers and students. The Hogar is a great community and I have learned so much during my time here; I have gained a new outlook on life. I am very grateful for this amazing opportunity to learn Spanish, sign language, and about the Dominican Republic traditions and culture. 

Alison Smith '17, Major: Biology; Minor: Spanish

I was really excited by the opportunity the Stonehill Service Corps offered me to spend a year serving with a community while being able to improve my Spanish fluency. This year I am working at the Hogar del Niño teaching English at the high school level (7th-12th grade). I have five 50-minute classes a day in which I teach small groups of about ten to twelve students from all three of the English levels (beginner, intermediate and high ability). I enjoy this because it allows me to interact with the high school students as well as being able to see the progress of everyone. My students are a very energetic, talkative and loving group and I truly enjoy all of the conversations I have with them in English, Spanish or Sign Language. During the day I co-lead a co-curricular activity with Lauren that is volleyball with a group of about twenty fifth graders. They are a very energetic bunch who are currently working towards mastering bumping and setting so we can move on to spiking and serving. Check out my video testimonial on YouTube.