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Nadine Watkins and the Esperanza Project

As a Race and Ethnic Studies major at Columbia University, I am passionate about addressing the causes of systemic and cultural prejudice and racism that affect communities of Native and African descent. For the summer of 2017, I have been accepted to an internship with The Esperanza Project, a non-profit organization located in the Dominican Republic, ( whose goal is to bring educational equality to underserved communities in the Dominican Republic. Their program is free of cost for the children who participate, and the curriculum incorporates literacy, physical education, and music education. Being passionate about educational equality, I was immediately attracted to the opportunity to offer my time to help with their cause. I hope to learn from the children, grow as a leader and global citizen, and first and foremost listen to the needs of the community that I will be serving. I strongly believe in responsible volunteerism and the importance of understanding the profound effects, both positive and negative, that temporary volunteers can and have had on underprivileged communities. I will be working with the director of the program in the literacy department, as I have extensive experience working in bilingual literacy settings.

Camp Esperanza – Dominican Republic Unlike many large, faceless, non-profit organizations, The Esperanza Project is a small program run by founders and directors, Anthony and Fiona Austin who created the organization in 2009, out of a perceived need to provide a much needed educational and extra-curricular program in the town, giving children and teens an opportunity to explore, create, and inspire, whilst empowering them to grow academically and socially, in a safe, supportive, hands-on learning environment.

Summer Camp Program - For the past seven years, The Esperanza Project has been running a completely free of charge day camp for local children to take part in sports, drama, music, arts & crafts and other activities throughout the summer months in the quiet, picturesque town of Cabrera on the north coast of the Dominican Republic. The camp runs every Monday to Friday from 8:30am to 12:30pm. This program is run solely by a group of young, energetic volunteers (along ide founders and directors, Fiona and Anthony Austin). Volunteers will oversee planning and leading these activity centers. Each center will have two to three volunteer leaders and a group of roughly 15 to 20 children at a time.

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