Over 1.8 million nonprofits and charities for donors, volunteers and funders

2016 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Project Esperanza

Claim This Nonprofit

More Info

Add to Favorites

Share this Nonprofit

Donate

Volunteering Oportunities

Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Education, Educational Services, International, International Migration & Refugee Issues, Residential Care & Adult Day Programs

Mission: 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.

Community Stories

62 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Denise73

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've volunteered with Project Esperanza in both July of 2012 and 2013. I was very impressed with the program....I had been to the DR many times but only to the All Inclusive resorts. Having the opportunity to go off resort and to meet the people, talk with them and see how they live was life changing. After my first summer there I decided to sponsor two students and I actually got to meet them and their families this summer. I had driven through the community they live in before but had never had the chance to actually walk in and around it.i was shocked by the poverty there....my daughter who is 23 and came with me on both trips came home and posted on Facebook saying, " I always thought that the commercials from groups like World Vision were fake....now I know they are not." We plan on going back again this summer and hopefully many more after that.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've volunteered with Project Esperanza before and I thought they've done excellent work so far. Their work in the Dominican is fantastic and though I haven't visited they go through great efforts to ensure that volunteers go and actually help out

Rachel108

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had the privilege of spending a week volunteering with Project Esperanza last March with a group of students from my university. I was impressed by how punctual, approachable and helpful Caitlin was during the planning and organizing of our trip. She was organized, answered all of my questions and really went the extra mile to ensure we had a great and meaningful service trip. Upon arriving we were immediately greeted by smiles and open arms, as it seemed the majority of the community had come to welcome us. Our experience was truly unique as we were able to work in the school, the fair trade jewelry shop, and around the yard planting a garden and constructing a compost toilet and hand washing station. I loved ever minute of each day I worked with Project Esperanza and the week seemed to fly by. When we weren’t working we were able to play baseball and cards with the children, get our hair braided and eat amazing empanadas, as we were living, and able to engage, with the community. Being able to have so many interactions with the community really allowed us to see the impact we had in one week, and opened our eyes to what continuous volunteer work and sponsorships could do for this community. I wish we could have stayed longer because this really was an amazing trip and this organization is truly making a much-needed difference in the community. I have so much admiration and respect for Caitlin, as she has devoted her life to this mission. I remember on our last day being in the school and listening to some of the teachers and students talk. They thanked God for sending Caitlin to them and for the volunteers that came because of her work and vision. Leaving the Dominican Republic was such a bittersweet feeling. I felt good about volunteering, but my heart was breaking leaving the people we had grown close to over the week. Needless to say, I know my time with Project Esperanza is not over and I fully intend to go back. I have done many international service trips and I especially respect Project Esperanza because you know exactly what is needed and expected of you, and you know exactly where your money is going when you make a donation. Caitlin is an advocate for so many who need help and she truly has created something inspirational and incredible with Project Esperanza. I think this is a great organization and would absolutely recommend it to anyone who wants to do meaningful service work.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered for Project Esperanza on multiple occasions, beginning in 2010. I have aid in funding, sponsoring, tech, as well as actually traveling to the Dominican Republic to work with them in 2011, and intend on continuing my work with them in the future. It is well run and truly for the communities it works in, supplying needed aid to the Haitian communities, which is especially needed due to recent events.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteered with Project Esperanza this summer 2013 for the first time and it was life changing. Project Esperanza is an organization that is heavily focused on addressing human rights issues with undocumented Haitian I'm/migrants in the Dominican Republic by equalizing access to education, health care, vocational training, and teacher development with several of their programs. This summer I had the opportunity to work in several of those areas including identity development/empowerment workshops. Being able to create learning communities in which all of us were producers of knowledge was such a powerful excuse. It was amazing to see the transformation, especially with the identity and empowerment workshops.

Throughout my time there, I was able to fully understand their commitment and passion for justice, equity, and inclusion with the hope of creating sustainable communities and empowering community members. Project Esperanza is invested fully in the community, which is something I cannot say about other organizations which I have worked with. I would highly recommending working with Project Esperanza and/or supporting their cause. As a matter of fact, I am returning again to help out in summer of 2014.

Tiffany Y.

Donor

Rating: 5

Earlier in the year I read about Project Esperanza online while researching honeymoon destinations! Knowing that we were heading to the Dominican Republic we were searching for local non profits in Puerto Plata that we could visit while on our honeymoon. We got in touch with Caitlin and verified if we could stop by and visit the artisan shop where locals sell their handmade crafts.
We weren't sure how much time we'd have based on our car rental agreement, the location, and navigating around an Island we knew nothing about but in the end it worked out.
Caitlin was so kind to show us the artisan store and to walk us through the Batay to meet several of the local people with whom Project Esperanza works.
We were so impressed with her dedication and passion for the work and her willingness to sacrifice on behalf of a greater cause. It was also great to meet some of the volunteers as well as the children of the community.
Project Esperanza is one of those organizations that literally 'gets it'. They are on the front lines of a battle that so few are willing to fight. They are in the midst of those in need and they are doing their best to provide a brighter future for the people of their community through relationships, education and care.
It was an honor to spend the little time we did checking it out and learning about the great work that is being done.
We look forward to seeing all that will be accomplished in the lives of these amazing people and we feel blessed to be a small part of such a great work.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I first volunteered with Project Esperanza in 2009. My experience with the organization in the Dominican Republic truly opened my eyes to the developing world and so began my interest in international development. Helping educate Haitian street boys about HIV/AIDS got me interested in global public health, which is now my career. Caitlin's continued passion and commitment to Project Esperanza is inspiring and remarkable.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

It is difficult to express how lucky I feel to have found Caitlin McHale and Project Esperanza. I have been working with the organization for about three years and have come away from this work with innumerable friendships and an immense appreciation for a community that is so interested in working together to create positive change. Project Esperanza is one of the few authentically grassroots organizations with every penny going towards furthering education in the Puerto Plata area of the Dominican Republic. Without the efforts of Caitlin, the organization, and the community, many of its members would not have access to education as well as other activities such as the English camp I have had the privilege of volunteering with for the past three summers. It is impossible to summarize the impact of an organization like Project Esperanza; I would, without hesitation, recommend working with Project Esperanza to anyone looking to donate or lend a hand as a volunteer.

Troy2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I first volunteered with Project Esperanza and met Caitlin McHale in the Spring of 2010. Since then myself and my family ( including my 10 year old )have visited and volunteered at least once a year. We have been to both of the GrassRoots Schools, meeting teachers and children, delivering supplies and even held an Easter Egg Hunt at one school. We have been able to meet and visit with the child my family sponsors. We always make sure to visit the Art Shop and make a few purchases and have met several of the artists. We spent time with some of the boys who live in the Boys Home. This has been an amazing experience for my family....my children have learned so much from these trips and they have made lifelong friendships. Project Esperanza is very much a no frills organization....they do the best they can to help those in need with the few resources they have available. They have put education at the top of their priorities and respect the people they are serving....

Donor

Rating: 5

Project Esperanza in Puerto Plata and Munoz , Dominican Republic run by American Caitlin McHale is one of the few organizations that truly does what they say they do. Caitlin runs schools for Haitian children, organizes and coaches soccer teams, runs a boys home, runs an art centre, runs summer camps and English schools and, most of all, assists displaced Haitians living in the Puerto Plata area. Every dime raised goes to the well being of others. I have donated items and helped with a special Easter program in her school in Padre Ganero. Project Esperanza is a wise charity to invest in as your money will always be used correctly. I have seen first hand the good that Caitlin does for her Haitian community.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had the opportunity to work with Project Esperanza in the English Immersion Summer Camp known as "Cambia Mis Estrellas" over the course of 3 weeks in the summer of 2012. The Camp served both Dominican and Haitian children (most of whom were also born in the DR). As an experienced teacher, I can say that the work was challenging but rewarding and I met some great people who were volunteering and some wonderful Haitians/Dominicans as well. I think they could use more help structuring the camp from teachers who have experience teaching ESL and languages to diverse populations. I saw first hand the difficult but excellent work that PE and especially Caitlin (the President) have been doing in the Puerto Plata area of the Dominican Republic. Moreover, I can attest that Caitlin "walks the walk"...she lives a simple life (by most American standards) with her family and devotes incredible time and energy and her own funds to the project...she seems to live and breathe Project Esperanza and I admire her courage and work. Although there may be larger organizations who make a bigger impact in different ways, there is no doubt that any money donated to PE will not be used unwisely and will make a difference in the lives of some wonderful, bright children. I loved my experience and highly recommend Project Esperanza to those who are looking to donate money or lend a hand.

2 Virginia B.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I spent two weeks of the summer volunteering in the Dominican Republic, mostly working with kids, & it was one the best experiences of my life. I've been a part of numerous volunteering & mission trips, & not that any of them were bad, but this one exceeded my expectations. Caitlin, the director, is inspiring & has a huge heart that shines. I loved having free time where I got to really enjoy the culture along with time teaching & playing with kids. It was a perfect balance. I'm planning to return again & hope to see this organization flourish! It was a genuine experience that taught me things I probably would have never learned living in the US.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I volunteered this summer for 3 weeks working in the Cambria mis Estrellas program, which teaches english to some of the kiddos Caitlin knows. I had a great time but the most impressive part of the program was Caitlin as a person. She is powerful and amazing. She is a world changer and an inspiration to be around. She has the most genuine and honest intentions at heart. You will not find a program director with more integrity and honesty than Caitlin.

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

I recently heard Caitlin speak in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia. I was very impressed with her degree of commitment, but most of all with her level of understanding and acknowledgement of the power relationships that exist in development projects between developed and developing countries, and of the impacts of international tourism. I think that kind of humble attitude is absolutely essential for long term positive impact of non profit development organizations, and an issue that is so often not addressed or acknowledged. Their strong networking and partnering with local groups and individuals will also ensure more sensitive and sustained impacts. I also enjoyed learning a lot about the history of the Dominican Republic and Haiti and about the cultural relationships between those two countries. Definitely an organization I hope and believe will continue great work!

2 Candice B.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

As a student at Virginia Tech, I participated briefly with this organization before they branched out and turned their student run organization into a full blown non-profit organization to better serve their community, here and abroad. They are exemplary people doing exemplary work to give children with no means the means to become educated and live better lives. With only one motivation--to help children who have nothing to one day have something--this organization stands among the best.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Project Esperanza is an amazing non-profit and it is all because of the ambitious and optimistic leader. Caitlin McHale's willingness to help the youth of Puerto Plata and surrounding areas is so infectious. She continuously gives to youth of the Dominican Republic and Haiti, and portrays so much drive and ambition. The basis of this organization is education, friendship and faith. The students love this organization and volunteers always benefit from interactions and their ability to truly make a difference. Personally, this organization provided the opportunity to give to the community and provide education to students with a true desire to learn.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My first experience with Project Esperanza and it`s director Caitlin McHale was in 2010. I was in Puerto Plata and had met with several different groups on this trip, hoping to find one that I would want to continue working with. I knew immediately that Project Esperanza was the group for me. Caitlin was refreshingly honest when telling of the organizations work. She is commited in a way that is rarely seen, living among the people she is working so hard to help. We visited several of the organizations projects including the two grassroots schools, a community garden and a community center/ art shop. We stopped by the boy`s home ( for street kids) so that I could see it but did not go in, Caitlin has the utmost respect for the boys privacy and the sensitive situation they are in....I went home and remained in constant contact with Caitlin. The more I spoke with her and heard about Project Esperanza the more I knew that I wanted to focus on helping with this group. I became a monthly sponsor and eventually volunteered to be the sponsor coordinator and then later I also became a student sponsor. I have been back to Puerto Plata three times since that trip and have spent most of my vacation time volunteering with Project Esperanza. My family, including my children (19 and 9 years old) have both gone along with me and I believe that this experience has taught them more than any class in school. My older son has even decided to take an International Development course in University because of his experience with Project Esperanza. The work that Project Esperanza does is real....it is done solely for the betterment of the lives of the people they work with. Esperanza means hope and Project Esperanza is bringing hope to those who have had little in the past.

2

Donor

Rating: 5

I first learned about Project Esperanza when its Director, Caitlin, worked for me part time in Puerto Plata. She was earning money for the project. She is conscientious and very competent and did outstanding work. I also came to know her family and some of the kids she is helping. In terms of "bang for the buck" you can't do better for charity giving. She helps Haitian kids who previously were living on the street being exploited by adults and -- at best -- ignored by the Dominican government. She and her family live simply and she is tireless in helping her kids, trying to get them treated fairly, and giving them a better and lasting chance in life through education. I've since moved back to the USA and count my blessings every day for being born in a country with 24x7 electricity, streets without yawning uncovered man-holes, and the rule of law. Help Project Esperanza early and often and as much as you can.

2

Donor

Rating: 5

Project Esperanza touched me personally and I think about the organization very often. It has changed my outlook on life and humbled me in a huge way. The organization's Director is completely selfless, driven, positive, and determined to make a difference in the Dominican Republic community as well as to increase awareness for needs in other communities. I feel that the organization is doing God's work. Through this organization, we are able to see God's children helping one another. How amazing and encouraging to think that I can make such a difference in someone's life by sponsoring a student or becoming a monthly sponsor. I look forward to being continually involved in Project Esperanza and hopeful that we'll see the organization continue to grow and do great things!

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This in an excellent organization that strives to meet the needs of so many in the Dominican Republic, from Haitian children working on the streets to struggling single mothers to handicapped babies. The director of Project Esperanza has sacrificed so much for others and needs support in order help the many hurting individuals who come across her path.