Outreach360 Service-Learning Program in the Dominican Republic: June 2015
June 5th, 2015
Hello everyone! Tomorrow is our big day. Internet access might be hit or miss, though hopefully each day one of us will contribute a fun little post on the blog here. Check back in later to see how things are going!
June 6th, 2015
We began our adventure today with fuel pump troubles in Newark.
June 8th, 2015
Today was the first day of teaching the kids at The Learning Center. We started out the day with a run to the beach where we looked out to a huge mountain and clear water. None of us reallly knew what to expect going into the day; however, we prepared a ton of lesson plans just in case we ran into problems as the day progressed. With my Spanish skills being slightly sub par, I worried about communicating with the children. Hot, sweaty, and tired, it was a challenge to get these children to be engaged and to teach them English with minimal Spanish talent. Very early in the second of the activities this morning, I noticed one of the brightest and happiest children I have ever seen, Natielly. Natielly was in a group with a bunch of girls who were slightly older but she stood out the most. As Manette, Ella, Catherine and I struggled to come up with more dance moves or more English tunes, Natielly came to the rescue. Shaking her tambourine, Natielly busted out in song and dance with all of the English songs she had learned throughout her time at Outreach. On this trip, I sort of thought I would be “helping” these children, but I learned very early on we are “serving” them. I believed I would be helping these children with leadership, but in reality children like Natielly have helped me.
Following camp time, we returned home and stopped on the way for some local melon juice. Everyone here is super fun and friendly. We later went to the park and immediately kids came to play basketball and soccer. The coolest part about this program is the “Adelantes”. “Adelantes” or forwards, are students who have graduated from the Outreach Program recently. They come back to help students who are in the position that they once were in. One of the Adelantes, Aidil had been at church singing on Sunday night. Although I am by no means a good singer, she needed help with an English song and I knew the song from my Christmas Pagaent days. I developed a closer relationship with Aidil today and it was cool to interact with someone my age from a different culture. The guys also loved one of the Adelantes, Donald. Despite the few struggles with the kids, I think we are all getting the hang of it and I’m sure the rest of the week will be even better.
Grace Marshall, NA ’16
June 9th, 2015
Hello American Fams,
While we are having a wonderful time in beautiful Monte Cristi, we are having trouble with accessing the internet and finding time to blog in our busy days. Today was a blast! It was so exciting to return for our second day at camp and reunite with the campers from yesterday. They were ready to jump right in and they communicated the love with plenty of smiles and hugs. We are starting to really realize that this is it and we have to make the most of the little time we have left. Two days have never passed so quickly for me! I can’t be certain but I’m pretty sure we smell horrible so prepare yourselves for some beat stench when we come home. Lights out time is fast approaching but I wanted to let you know that we are alive and well, enjoying this wonderful town and the people who live here.