Project Esperanza

Project Esperanza is a non-profit organization that began as and remains a Virginia Tech student organization. Project Esperanza serves to connect the Blacksburg, Virginia community and the Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic community through service. Our programs are designed to work toward breaking the cycle of poverty present among the lower social classes in these two communities, as well toward breaking the cycle of apathy present among the upper classes.
Oct 13, 2014

We Had a Great Summer!

Game in Montellano
Game in Montellano

This summer we went back to practicing 3 times a week. We were in a drought and the Poli Deportivo field we used to play on was completely dry! Leche, the field manager, was not allowing anyone play on it. So we played at a field some community members had made themselves right by a resort. It does't have grass, but a dusty gravel. By the end of the summer, the rain started coming and we have since been able to play on the big field some! 

 

Kits for Causes, an organization in the UK, donated 40 sets of cleats and shin guards. A few donors then chipped in to help out with shipping, first to New York City, and then here to Puerto Plata. They were over six months in route, and finally made it to us mid summer! This was perfect, because we require that players come to at least three practices before receiving their cleats. Also, Pace Academy in Atlanta, GA sent literally hundreds of gym shorts and shirts which we have given to our players to practice in. They are very nice quality!

 

Stephan, a man from Belgium in the area, is passionate about organization games in the absence of a real league, so he has set up several games for us. He is also adament that players stick to their age groups so we have been trying to get a copy of everyone's birth certificate, but many do not have it.

 

Through a relationship with a local non-profit called Integracion Juvenil, our players have been able to attend karate practice 4 times a week as welll, for free! We provided transportation the first day to show them where it is, and the most interested have been walking ever since. It is quite a walk, but they want to do it! I am so glad that we were able to provide them with more recreation, since during the school year we only practice once a week.

 

Thank you always for your support!

Team Meeting
Team Meeting
Drills
Drills
Cleat distribution
Cleat distribution

Links:

Aug 29, 2014

Pre-School

last day of camp
last day of camp

This summer was a great time for our students! We bussed them over to our other school each morning, provided them with breakfast, and had English immersion camp. This is the first year that we were able to include students from Munoz and it was a huge success! After week 5 of camp, we even chose the best behaved campers with the most consistent attendance and went on a trip to the national zoo in Santo Domingo! Here is a link to some videos from each week of camp: 

After camp, we had a great week of teacher training. Topics included strength based teaching, team building exercises, discussion on the Spanish/Creole/French language issues, discovery based teaching, and more! 

School began Aug. 16th. As predicted, we have only pre-school students so far. Over the years, most of our students have integrated into the public school system, which is great! This year the school has switched from half a day to full day, so we have lost students to the school. We still believe in the bilingual curriculum we use and in instilling volunteerism and social responsibility into our students, building them up to be change-makers on the island, but since we are not yet an accredited school, if they have the opportunity to go to public school, that is where they should be. However, hopefully we will be accredited by the time our pre-schoolers advance to 1st grade, and that is in the works. 

We have several students who still need sponsors. Please consider donating $100 and we will send you a profile and updates. 

We also have a new project in the works. This summer, we began growing cacao seedlings. Our hope is to, with the participation of sponsors and donors, purchase 3 sq. m of land per tree, and be able to give at least one tree to each student. In 5 or 6 years, these trees will produce around 200 pods a year, each full of seeds that will be turned into chocolate. 100 lbs. of seeds can be purchased in town, to be exported for around $150 US (6,000 RD). So more on that to come! 

Thank you, always, for your support!

teacher training
teacher training
cacao seedlings
cacao seedlings

Links:

Jul 15, 2014

Great Summer Camp Coming Soon!

Our four scholarship students are finishing up this school year strong. Miguelina Joseph passed the Pruebas Nacionales, which are a national exam after 8th grade, and will be moving on to high school in August! 

This summer will be the best summer camp so far! It is our fourth year running the camp, and we have more resources than ever, and done more planning ahead. Thanks to Pace Academy in Atlanta, Georgia, we are providing breakfast every morning for campers. We have some movie nights planned throughout the summer, and a parents' day with presentations on the last day of camp. We are also planning a trip to the zoo after the 5th week of camp where students learn about animals! We have several campers bussed in from various communities and still need support for that so if you can chip in at this time, that is what the funds will go toward. To sponsor a camper to go to the zoo, donations of $15 are sought. Sponsors will receive a picture of their camper at the zoo, along with a thank you note!

Here is a video of week 1 of camp. 

Thank you always for your support!

Links:

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