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amallett

amallett - charity reviews, charity ratings, best charities, best nonprofits, search nonprofits
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2 Reviews

What I want to do

International environmental education/sustainanble development

What matters to me

My family, volunteering, my friends, my studies

What inspires me

My kids in the DR

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The DREAM Project
September 25, 2011

Another summer with The DREAM Project. Another summer well-spent.

I feel honored to have been a returning volunteer with DREAM. I was placed in a different camp, with different kids. I love them just as much as my first year kids!

I LOVE how supportive DREAM is. I planned a water quality/environmental education project with a professor at my university. DREAM was supportive and enthusiastic from the very beginning! Not only did they allow my to plan and execute my project, they gave me help along the way. By the end of camp, I was proud at all that my group and I had accomplished.

Again, it is very hard to be gone again from my kids. Building such strong relationships and then leaving is one of the hardest things I've had to do. I think of my kids and my friends everyday and wish that we could all be back in the DR together.

For anyone on the fence about applying or accepting, I say do NOT hesitate to take this opportunity and have the best experience of your life WHILE having a positive impact on the lives of Dominican youths!

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

my day-to-day life

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Maybe strengthen the discipline code a little, so that students are more well-behaved

More feedback

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

Did your volunteer experience have an effect on you? (teaching you a new skill, or introducing new friends, etc.)

I taught a few lessons to my kids. I have never taught before, but it felt natural. I definitely gained the skill of teaching in front of a large group of students.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

MY ROLE:
Volunteer & Counselor/Semi-Teacher.

The DREAM Project
September 11, 2010

I first heard about DREAM at my university. They had a table set up at our non-profit expo. I stumbled across it and decided I'd at least apply, and before too long I was accepted into the DREAM team (as I like to call it). It didn't really sink in the magnitude of what I was about to do until I said bye to my mom at the airport. I met some of the most amazing people of ever that first week during orientation. Although the workshops were very informative, I wish we would have done more teambuilding because that's what we were for those 4 weeks of camp, a team. The La Cienega team was a five star team. We had really good open lines of communication. For example, one day my co-couselors were both m.i.a. and I was overwhelmed on my own. I talked to Elena and Natalie, the dance teachers, and they worked in a nap time into dance class. All my kids loved it and were really well-behaved after. Now my kids, they are the sweetest, most adorable, loving group of kids I have ever met. What was most precious to see was how eager they were to learn. They gave 110% in their classes, persistent and diligent. In fact, my group improved on their math pre- to post- camp math tests by 18%. One experience in the classroom that I will never in my life forget is when I helped one of my kids, Dani, learn how to do division. I sat down with him and we did a few problems together, and I taught him how to use his fingers to help him. After a few questions, using the new technique, he was cruising through the questions and getting them all right. I could tell the moment he understood how to divide, like a light bulb turned on right above him. Seeing him learn right before my eyes was the most magical moment of my life. My kids and I grew together over the 4 weeks, and became very close. Some of the kids even invited me into their homes and I took them to the beach a few times to play. Needless to say, leaving them at the end was tough. The last few days went too fast, and with many teary eyes. The experience opened my eyes to the passion I have for teaching, and a new possible career path for me. Not to mention, I gained 2 families: the other volunteers I worked and lived with and my kids, Las Manzanas. The experience was the richest and most rewarding of my life, and I mean that whole-heartedly.

Photos

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

the relationships I built with the community and my kids. Everyone was so friendly once they found out I was working with DREAM and not just a tourist. DREAM has a really good name in the community and is really respected.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

do more team building exercises during orientation. Also, make it mandatory for the local volunteers to go to camp and go to every class. The camp is short so it's crucial that everyone go and be with the kids when they are supposed to be.

More feedback

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

the relationships I made with people the world over and with my kids.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

fun, innovative, eclectic. They reintroduced me to my passion for knowledge. They were all extremely intelligent and made me want to broaden my knowledge.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

provide an amazing education for the children of the Dominican Republic. Every one of them would be educated and be able to rise out of their current situations to pursue their dreams.

Ways to make it better...

I had tried going out and speaking Spanish more.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

instilling American work habits/mentality. In the sense that Americans tend to make work their first priority, whereas in places like the DR family is strongly valued. Amercicanization, basically, could be the biggest problem/challenge.

One thing I'd also say is that...

local volunteers need to make it their responsibility to go to camp everyday. It was ridiculous how many times they just wouldn't show up or if they did they wouldn't go to classes with the kids.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

One time

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

MY ROLE:
Volunteer & I was a camp counselor for an academic summer camp in the Dominican Republic.