Rating: 4.89 stars 36 reviews
Issues: Education, Human Services, International
Location: 1291 Valley Mill Rd. Winchester VA 22602 USA
The mission of Project Esperanza is to create positive change in the city of Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic and in the New River Valley of Virginia. We do this by uniting the two communities in mutual support while providing innovative educational and social efforts in both. In the Dominican Republic we work with the Haitian refugee population through providing a home for boys and supporting several grassroot schools. In the U.S. we run an after-school program and engage our community in social awareness and involvement.
Results: Since 2007 we have maintained two grassroots schools as well as a group home and school for kids from the streets. This past year (2012) we have worked hard to improve our international volunteer program and small business endeavors in order to create sustainability for our schools and group home over the long run.
Target demographics: Haitian immigrant youth and adults in the Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic area.
Direct beneficiaries per year: 700
Geographic areas served: Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic
Programs: Home and School for Haitian street kids living and working in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic 2 Grassroots Schools which educate Haitian immigrant children who face many difficulties attending school otherwise. International Volunteer program which leads hundreds of expats to serve in the area and receive great insight into the societal problems and successful solutions. Small business endeavors that employ locals who were without work otherwise and raise to support our other service programs.
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I had a great experience volunteering with Project Esperanza in July 2014. I was very impressed by PE's (and Caitlin's) involvement in the community. They very much work "within" the community vs. working "at" the community. There is an obvious respect for the organization, both from the local Haitians and the Dominicans. Caitlin is working on several grassroots projects that will help locals build a sustainable income.
I would encourage anyone with a desire to volunteer to consider Project Esperanza. If you aren't sure what you can do to help, Caitlin has a number of jobs already lined up where you can fill in quickly. If you have new ideas for projects that haven't been done yet, Caitlin is willing to consider those as well.
It was a privilege to volunteer and have the opportunity to meet Caitlin and her amazing team. Project Esperanza is beyond impactful in the community they serve, despite working with little. I was very encouraged to see PE's efforts in working toward sustainability through multiple grass-roots projects, as donor funding can be volatile, both short and long term. Caitlin and staff are amazingly hard working, excellent stewards of resources, and they have an insightful long-term vision despite how overwhelming day to day operations can be. I can't wait to volunteer again in coming months and continually as needed, and if you haven't worked with them yet, you should!
I'm a teenager, and so it was a bit of a risk for me to travel to a different country for 6 weeks and volunteer. I am happy to report that it was an amazing experience, and I would happily return for a second trip.
Caitlin does a really very impressive job managing her organization with relatively few resources, and everything that she does seems to come from the bottom of her heart.
I had an opportunity to volunteer with Project Esperanza during my Spring Break 2014. I had a great time getting to know the locals and get to know what life is like in the bateys of Munoz. I felt like I could really connect with the people since I was living so close to them. Hearing their stories and seeing what their life was like strongly impacted me. I can see how this organization can benefit the community and imrove the lives of those who live in it.
I definitely feel like I made connections in the community that will last. I plan to return to the organization in the coming years to continue supporting the area and the people of Munoz and Padre Granero.
I had the opportunity to visit DR this past spring 04/2014 while I was looking for a charity to volunteer. I came across Project Esperanza and was very impressed with Caitlin's work. I reached out to her and shared my interest to volunteer at the school. Since the first time we connected, she was very supportive and open to answer all of my inquires. I decided to volunteer for a few days while in the DR; it was a life changing experience, I enjoyed my time with the children of Project Esperanza. I admired Caitlin for everything she does for children and youth in need is truly admirable. Since then, I have been sharing information about this nonprofit with my friends and I've been supporting the program by donations when needed. Whenever I go, I am always sharing details, pictures or any relevant information about this great organization. I am truly blessed I found Caitlin's project and look forward to continue supporting the children of Project Esperanza.
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1 person found this review helpful
I am so impressed with this organization. I have donated for several years. The emphasis on giving disadvantaged children life skills to succeed is really important. Project Esperanza has inspired me as an educator to join my school's global education trip this summer to the Dominican Republic. My students will be working with the children, but I know they will probably learn just as many meaningful lessons. I cannot wait for July 2015!!! ¡Nos vemos pronto! See you soon!
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I had the opportunity to join my daughter at Project Esperanza in July. It was an experience I will soon not forget. The children are excited to learn and in a few weeks you could see the difference we were making with them in behavior and English lessons. They are children who also need our help with basic things like clean water to drink and maybe 2 to 3 meals a day to start. One of the meals for breakfast that was provided with funds raised for their summer camp was simply spaghetti with ketchup. The children loved it and appreciated that meal so much! What I am trying get at is, any small thing you can do to help is a GREAT help.
If you want an experience of a life time...come join us! Bring a friend! You can make a difference in these children's lives.
I am a pastor of a church in North Carolina. We sent a team of volunteers in August of 2014 to work with Project Esperanza in Peurta Plata. I asked two of the volunteers to evaluate Project Esperanza because I am considering future partnership with that work in the Dominican.
Both team members from our church gave Project Esperanza a glowing review. Both said we should go back and in the future should continue working with PE. One of the guys was so moved, I know he will continue with PE in the future whether our church does or not. But I think we will. The positive experiences these guys had touched me deeply.
I hope in the summer of 2015 to send a much larger team. I want us to invest in the good work PE is doing. I love director Caitlin McHale's Christlike heart. I believe this organization is doing God's work and I am excited that our church can be a part of it.
I am Chair of the Haiti Committee at my church in Blacksburg, VA, and we sponsor Haitian students (primary school) in Pignon and several seminarians, one studying in the D.R. When I visited him last year, I also visited Project Esperanza with him to see first-hand the work being done for street kids in Puerto Plata. I know what it's like to run programs on little money, and how much volunteerism is needed to make up the shortfall for employees needed but not available to run a first-class, funded operation. I was very impressed with the dedication of Caitlin and her staff, running schools out of passion and not profit. Like so many non-profits competing for donors to be sustainable, keeping the interest and commitment of donors is difficult, especially as they age and divert attention to other projects or have unexpected financial constraints. Third-world assistance relies on first-world charity, so I hope that current sponsors remain committed to this worthwhile project, and that other sponsors are located by word-of-mouth. Caitlin and crew have the dedication to make a difference in the lives of these kids; all she needs is the financial support to make it happen. That's where we come in.
I've known Caitlin since the inception of Project Esperanza, when it began as a student organization at Virginia Tech. It is absolutely amazing to see how it has grown since then into a non-profit that reaches so many both through the schools it support, community-supporting activities, and volunteer trips. Caitlin has an amazing heart and drive to truly make a difference in the world regardless the trials that come up (an believe me she faces many!). Caitlin's drive to make Project Esperanza create positive change in the world never ceases to amaze me. PE is always seeking new avenues to lift up and support the families that is serves in the DR. The focus is on sustainability, not temporary or short-term changes. It is for this reason that PE will make a lasting change in the communities that it serves. I am honored to be part of the organization.