What We Do

The Need

Many children in the Dominican Republic struggle to thrive in a life of extreme poverty. Exposure to violence, drugs, prostitution, chronic insecurity, hardship and hunger pose challenges that no child should be forced to navigate. Inferior schools and illiterate parents compound the problem and create a generation of children who see a life of hopelessness and failure. Behavioral issues, poor academic performance, and early onset of delinquency result as children have no vision of positive options or models for success. Providing a safe, wholesome, and nurturing environment is just the first step in rescuing these children. Given a sense of protection, belonging, and belief in oneself equips them to take positive steps to create capabilities. Strength for the Journey provides opportunity to create these capabilities. We help support a community learning center located in a safe environment for children to come, play, learn, and belong. We support after-school and summer programs that offer hands-on, enrichment which reinforces and supplements what students learn during the regular school day. Most importantly, the programs we support fill children’s basic emotional, social, and academic needs in order to equalize the educational playing field and open up opportunities for success. Currently, Strength for the Journey DR is enriching the academic environment in the small mountain pueblo of Jamao, in the Dominican Republic. The Jamao al Norte Learning Center located above the Parroquia Asunción De Maria Church, enrolls 130 children and 15 adults living in this isolated area. Strength for the Journey DR is giving financial assistance in support of this center in order to expand class offerings and serve more people. Strength for the Journey DR will be coordinating with the local public school system and technology center in future programs and activities, as well as communicating with the local advisory board to determine the community’s greatest needs.

Programs:
Currently, Strength for the Journey DR provides assistance to the Jamao learning center to offer a menu of 12 – 14 classes during after-school hours, Saturdays, or mornings in summer months. All classes, materials, instruments, and uniforms are provided free. Learning center teachers are a mix of paid locals and volunteers. Not only are we changing children’s lives, but helping the com- munity by providing jobs. Here you’ll see our current offerings of classes, activities, materials and lessons.

Education

  • English classes
  • Countries and Cultures of the World (El Mundo… Que Pasa?)
  • Story hour
  • iPad Education
  • Educational games for non-traditional learning

Recreation

  • Outdoor activities
  • Games
  • Karate

Music/Arts

  • Guitar
  • Bongo
  • Art

Library
Strength for the Journey DR provides funds to support a lending library complete with children’s books in Spanish and English.

Summer Camp

Week long sessions of activities and special events from 8:30 to 1:30 each day with lunch included.

This summer, Strength for the Journey DR will enable Jamao to hold 3 camps:

  • Technology Camp, coordinated with the Jamao Centro de Tecnologia
  • Culture Camp, coordinated with local museums and places of historical interest
  • Activities Challenge Camp, including kayaking, horseback riding, hiking and swimming, coordinated with local tour groups.

Building Education through Technology

Working with Port Clinton City Schools in Port Clinton, Ohio, Strength for the Journey DR will ship 150 used desktop computers and laptops to Jamao. In the summer of 2017, these devices will be placed in schools throughout the mountain area, some that do not have a single computer in the school! The remaining lap- tops will be sold to teachers at a minimal price to expand their teaching knowledge and ability to access learning resources.

Communicating Across Borders

Strength for the Journey DR is working with Immaculate Conception Church in Port Clinton, Ohio to provide cross cultural under- standings between their American students and children in the Dominican Republic. Regular chat sessions will be held via video calls. During the sessions, children will discuss various topics, such as the school day, family life, favorite activities, and foods.