Change My Stars Scholarship Fund: Puerto Plata, DR

by Project Esperanza

Change My Stars Student Spotlight: Miguelina

Miguelina goes to Colegio Santa Rosa de Lima and has been a Change My Stars Scholarship student since 2011. Here’s what she had to say about school this year, her 10th grade year:

"I am so thankful for this scholarship, and especially for the director- for if it had not been for her I would not have had this opportunity.

School is fun I'm learning a lot! I would also like to learn Italian. I am learning to share with my friends and classmates and although sometimes I get angry with them- most of the time they are super cool.

In the future I would like to have a good job so I can help my parents and other children- just like Project Esperanza has been helping me- I want to do the same for them as well."


It's that time of year again! Summer camp is just around the corner! And this year, we'll hold camp in our new school building. We have raised about $40K of the $130 total purchase price. It is huuuge compared to where camp has been held in the past. We have four volunteers who will be here all summer, and then others coming and going throughout the summer. One volunteer is even conducting research on the camp with a pre-test and post test to see the effectiveness of the camp. We just translated a University of Arkansas human research subject permission form into Creole and distributed it to parents. We're pretty sure there were some concepts that were foreign to them, but nonetheless, many signed and gave consent for their cihldren to participate.


We look forward to sharing the results at the end of the summer, as well as announcing our 2015/2016 school year scholarship participants. We should also have plenty of pictures to share after the summer! One exciting bit of news is that 16 middle school students from Pace Academy in Atlanta, GA will be joining us for a week this summer. After camp each day they will each have a buddy for the week who will accompany them to extra curricular activities. This will be a wonderful experience for all of the students and teachers involved! We greatly look forward to camp this summer. Thank you for your support.


Jon and Kerenchy
Jon and Kerenchy

We are proud to be sending more students than ever to school on Change My Stars scholarships!

First, let me just say that summer camp this summer was better than ever! We reached more kids, engaged more volunteers and local teachers, and even took a trip to the zoo in Santo Domingo after week 5 where the theme was animals. It is already apparent that next year we will have to split into two camps - one in Padre Granero where we have had it the past two years, and one in Munoz. This summer we bussed dozens of kids from Munoz to the camp in Padre Granero, and 13 kids from Los Dominguez. Check out vidoes (made by volunteer coordinator Joanne Ng) here.

Alright, for the past few years we have had 3 kids on scholarship. This year that was upped quite a lot. Here are the 2014-2015 scholarship recipients:

Eriverto in 7th grade at Perpetuo Socorro.

Piterly in 8th grade at the Centro de Educativo Padre Granero, hopefully soon to be moved to Perpetuo Socorro.

Miguelina in 9th grade at Santa Rosa de Lima.

Freddy studying Modern Languages at the University of OyM.

Aniverca at Escuela de Educacion Especial.

Kerenchy in 7th grade at Colegio Mundo Feliz.

Engly (Jon) in 5th grade at Colegio Mundo Feliz.

Wadner in 9th grade at Perpetuo Socorro.

Naomi in 9th grade at Perpetuo Socorro.

Chinaider in 9th grade at Perpetuo Socorro.

Milena in 5th grade at Sueno de los Ninos.

Wow! That was a lot of back to school shopping! :)

We hope to run a winter Change My Stars camp but are short on volunteers at this point. If you are interested in volunteering with us in early January, check out this link.

Thank you always for your support!

2014 camp
2014 camp
Wadner & Naomi
Wadner & Naomi


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!


Aniverca and her mother at an evaluation.
Aniverca and her mother at an evaluation.

It is great to see the constant growth of confidence in our scholarship recipients. Sending these students to schools where they can receive more individual attention than the public schools, where classes often have 45 students, and where discipline is often held at a much higher standard, makes such a world of difference. In simply observing their demeanor, you can see a huge difference and even in those who have been on scholarship for a few years now, this improvement just seems to continue.


Our student who is on scholarship studying Modern Languages at the university of OyM, Freddy Jean Piet, has had troubles maintaining his funding. He has to spend close to $200 US each quarter just on transportation, books, and meals on days where he has to be at school all day long. Tuition just rose a bit this quarter as well. His funding ran out as it came time to register for this quarter that just began in January, however more is scheduled to come at the end of the month, but this will only last through the end of this quarter. I was just contacted by another non-profit looking for a teacher in an area two hours away. The pay is good and they say Freddy is a good candidate, considering his documentation, language skills, and education. He plans on applying, and this would be a way that he could earn to pay his college education, rather than having to rely solely on donations, but he would have to move and transfer to a different university as well. So we'll see what happens and if he is given the job or not.


Aniverca Bien-aime was registered in August at Colegio Sueno de Los Ninos, where her brother Eriverto is on scholarship. She has cerebral palsy and at age 11, has never been to school before, but only attended our summer English camp during the summer of 2012. This school has another student with cerebral palsy and they are able to integrate him into the classroom setting, as they have no separate special education class or teacher. They thought that they would be able to do the same with Aniverca but it turned out otherwise. The first grade teacher was sad to report that she could not handle her in the classroom. She demands too much individual attention and is too undisciplined, having never been in school before. They then reflected that the other boy with cerebral palsy spent three years in a school specific for special education children before he was integrated into Sueno de los Ninos. They explained the location of the school and I visited. It is a wonderful facility, but it turns out that students are referred from a rehabilitation center. We were directed to take Aniverca there. So we did, and were sent to do evaluation after evaluation. Finally she got the okay to register. We have been given different dates to come back for the registration, but should be finishing up with that this week and getting her into this school!


We hope to have enough volunteers to execute two summer English immersion camps this year - one at each of our schools. We have a new Peace Corps volunteer and a new assistant who each are doing weekly lessons in the schools at this time, and by the time summer rolls around, should each be able to direct/coordinate a camp, along with one local teacher. We have plenty of volunteers spots open, so we hope you will consider joining us!


Thank you for your support! You are helping us make a real difference in the lives of these youth!


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Organization Information

Project Esperanza

Location: Winchester, VA - USA
Project Leader:
Caitlin McHale
Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic
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