I volunteered with DREAM in 2012, and I was impressed by the organizations focus and capacity in addressing a key issue in the DR: low levels of literacy. DREAM is committed to helping students with the Callejon community, acquire the reading skills they need to be successful in school. I personally witnessed, during their summer camp, how many students who started out reading only a few words, left camp able and excited to read entire books! Even more importantly, DREAM invests in training local teachers to do this work. I admire this focus on local sustainability because it is so necessary, but also often missing from international nonprofits.
DREAM's Holistic Youth Development Programs positively impact adolescents and young adults between the ages of 12-22 in a positive manner. Youth learn about gender equality, their own health, gain knowledge to become agents of change in their own communities benefiting themselves and their peers. Watching young women and men positively transform and share their enthusiasm with their peers is gratifying. Youth bring the change we are seeking for.
I have worked with The DREAM Project for over five years as both a a semester-long volunteer and as a leader of a global connections group, and I am always so impressed with the quality, impact and thoughtfulness of their work. Everything DREAM does comes from the community it serves, and takes a truly sustainable, intentional approach.
I have worked with and supported the Dream Project for the past 7 years. Their team is passionate and professional, and their leadership is strategic, committed and inspiring. I have seen firsthand the amazing impact they have on our community and in helping to radically alter the future possibilities of young lives growing up in vulnerable situations.
Amazingly dedicated team leading efficient programs, I am so proud of volunteering with this organization for more than 10 years. To witness the changes with the youth in our communities, to experience the deep connections with our communities has been a daily inspiration for me. I am also grateful for a very supportive network of donors from all horizons, allowing us to be not only a powerful educational instrument but also an important economical agent on the North Coast of the Dominican Republic.
The DREAM Project is amazing, and has excellent leadership. In the Callejón community of Cabarete on the north coast of Dominican Republic, where their first school opened, the vast majority of students and their families are very poor and face food and housing insecurity. DREAM is an oasis. Students have the opportunity to attend a high quality Montessori preschool where families know their children will be fed and learn with well trained teachers - I’m a professor of education in the US and knew about DREAM, so when we were there for a few months I even sent my own son to the school, and it was wonderful. They have other locations now and it truly is a gift in the communities it serves. They also offer a number of services for school aged children such as summer camp, after school learning opportunities, and a mobile library, and they do job training for young adults - amongst other initiatives. I urge you to recognize them with this award.
The DREAM Project is an excellent organization that is addressing a critical need for educational support and youth development in the Dominican Republic. They used evidence-based practices, and partner with domestic and international private sector organizations, NGOs and development agencies to improve education outcomes at scale.
I was a volunteer at DREAM for two years and am so impressed by the organization. They are intentional about integrating themselves into the local community and building a sustainable model to make sure that their work continues over the long-term.
I have been volunteering with Dream each year for the past 5 years. Their dedication to the DREAM is amazing. It never fails, each year when I go back I learn something more about their programs. They continually re-evaluate the needs of the community they seek to impact and adapt to suit the community's needs first, even when it means changing things on their end. Always the end goal is first in their mind.
As a yearlong fellow, DREAM helped me reach levels of efficiency, creativity, and relationship building skills that I would not have gotten anywhere else. As a Dominican-American, being able to work so closely with the communities and people that DREAM works with was very important to the way my experience was shaped. I learned so much about myself, but most importantly, I learned more about my surroundings and how my presence impacts those surroundings. Being at DREAM for two years, I've learned when it is appropriate/inappropriate to insert myself in situations where I can make an impact. I've always wanted to start a nonprofit in my home town, but DREAM and all of the experiences that it gifted me have driven me to follow through. Thank you DREAM! See you soon! : )
I volunteered at The DREAM Project for a year from 2015-2016, through the Princeton in Latin America fellowship. It was my first position as a teacher trainer and the reason I decided to go back to school to pursue a Masters and PhD in Education and International Development at the University of Cambridge. During my year at DREAM, I was lucky enough to meet an amazing group of people with the same passion for making positive change in the communities around them. It was a beautiful experience to play a small part in a huge organization developing educational and health projects all over the Dominican Republic. Thank you DREAM!
I pivoted away from a corporate position in search of an altruistic experience that resulted in a fulfilling career in education. DREAM Project was the foundation of that transition. As a Dominican American, I sought to expand my network on the island beyond family ties, and DREAM Project facilitated this goal as well. During my time with the organization, experts who came from around the world to work with DREAM trained me in progressive teaching methodologies such as culturally responsive pedagogy and experiential learning. The professional development and personal growth gained while volunteering with the organization inspired me to return to the island to work with the team in a new capacity, support the organization's fundraising efforts in New York, and nurture life-long friendships I formed with my colleagues at the DREAM Project.
The DREAM Project has an inspiring and committed team of educators who make sure that every child and youth in their programs has a positive, fun learning experience and can receive support that is tailored to their strengths and needs. I appreciate the broad range of programs that DREAM offers, which means that as students get older they can also progress through different DREAM programs. Indeed, many former students are later hired as teaching staff! I have been involved with DREAM for the past 8 years, and am continually inspired by the way it changes and grows as new opportunities arise. I look forward to seeing what's to come!
DREAM is truly committed to high quality programming that is locally tailored and relevant. It is an exceptional place.
My daughter attended the Montesorri program and it was excellent! They are so well organized with amazing teachers . It was an incredible experience. So different from the chaos in the public schools here.
I volunteered on the school year 2012-2013, It is one of the most life changing expiriences. The kids are the best teachers of life. They really make you want to be a better person a better teacher, a better example for the comunity. I will come back no doubts.
I began in January 2013 with DREAM as a librarian and special projects art teacher. I continued on in June as the summer camp art instructor and international volunteer coordinator. I most enjoyed working with the diverse individuals who created a highly passionate team at DREAM.
The strong bond I feel to the community has drawn me back to Cabarete for another year to work in coordination with A Ganar & DREAM, and US non-profit EverGift. It's easy to say that The DREAM Project will be the defining experience in my early professional career.
It was and will continue to be a wonderful experience which I would recommend it to anyone who has thought about taking a year off from the routine they are used to.
I volunteered on the summer of 2011, I was a counselor in the DREAM Project Summer camp to one of the groups. This experience changed my life completely - you not only learn about a rich culture, but become a confidant to children in the process. The kids are humble, funny, and have a desire to grow. The volunteers that come to DREAM are incredible and all have so much enthusiasm! The DR is such a happy country and Cabarete has best of both worlds: the international athletes practicing kitesurfing/surfing and volunteering, and the local population, which welcomes everyone with a GREAT smile!!!
The program is inclusive, offers a variety of trips, and will help you grow as a person. The kids love being part of the DREAM Team and so do the volunteers involved. It was honestly the best summer I've had yet.
After volunteering for DREAM for the 2010 summer camp, I decided to take a leave from my full-time teaching position in Michigan and volunteer once again for the 2011-2012 school year. My goal was to improve student academic achievement and inspire my students to continue to grow and learn long after our time together. I was prepared to give everything I learned from my educational and work experience. I was not however, prepared to receive so much love and appreciation from my students and families I became friends with. I am so grateful to have this wonderful experience that I will always treasure.
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!
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.
I came upon the DREAM Project while searching for a fun, feel good way to start off my summer. I had just graduated college, and signed up to volunteer at their annual five week summer camp. It didn't take much time for me to make connections with the community. I became passionate and determined to understand the culture, the educational system, and the incredible individuals I've been fortunate to get to know. I decided 5 weeks was no where near enough time to make a difference; so I went back to Boston to pack up my things and signed on as a year long volunteer with DREAM. It was the best decision I have ever made, I wouldn't trade it for the world. The DREAM Project is a well respected organization
I am an athletic director at Millwoods Christian School in Edmonton Alberta Canada. Last year we brought a high school basketball team to the DR to work hand in hand with Dream reaching out to the community. We ran basketball clinics for the locals as well as working on clean up projects and other similar projects. The Dream Project provided us exactly what we were looking for in a partner organization to work in the area. With their focus on Education, it was a perfect match for us. Shortly after we returned home, disaster struck in Haiti. As a school we raised a large sum of money to assist the releif work Dream was doing with the people of Haiti and we were more than excited to help Dream in their work. The experience has been so good, we are returning this winter with 2 basketball teams to continue our work with Dream in the DR. We are also looking into bring other group down to work hand in hand with this wonderful organization. R. Harrod