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