Strength for the Journey strives to achieve measurable results. We measure progress towards our ultimate goal of creating capacities that help children and families emerge from poverty through a variety of benchmarks.

A set of life skills forms the foundation for creating capacities. Strength for the Journey requires our students to be punctual, to provide a written excuse when they cannot attend class, to be responsible, to exhibit self discipline, and to follow through with work. Because most of our children have illiterate parents, they must take responsibility for reading and sharing class announcements with their parents, completing class enrollment forms, and sending an excuse for an absence. We track these skills with every child enrolled in our classes and provide help and guidance when a child falls short of the goal.

Additionally, Strength for the Journey works closely with the local Jamao School district to determine students academic needs. We closely monitor base line skills as we begin work with each child and record progress on a weekly basis.

Some results are concrete and clearly visible. Although our focus is education, the line between educational needs and social needs blurs. Thus, to build stronger schools that can better respond to children’s educational needs, Strength for the Journey has contributed:

  • Inverters and batteries to 8 schools to provide constant electricity
  • Computers in 13 schools
  • Printers in 7 schools
  • Lighting for the community basketball court
  • Backpacks and supplies for 80 children heading back to school
  • Basic classroom supplies for 7 schools
  • A Center for Sharing where community members trade for school shoes, clothing, food, sheets and towels, and learning supplies.

The Case for Needs

Both available educational data and local observations paint a picture of a dire need for intervention in education if children and families are to create capabilities to emerge from poverty. Because historically, illiteracy rates have been high in the Dominican republic, parents are not equipped to help their children with homework. That, combined with a weak value of education in general, create measurable and observable results to define the need.


The August 2019 results of the standardized test carried out by the Dominican Republic Ministry of Education reveal that only 12% of third grade children have minimal comprehension levels and only 4.1% of sixth grade students have satisfactory math skills.  (Acción Empresarial para la Educacion)

80% of public teachers failed the standardized tests to be hired for the 2019-220 school year.  (Acción Empressarial para la Education)

Of the 79 countries participating in the PISA standardized test in Reading, Math, and Science in 2018, the Dominican Republic ranked second to last, below Haiti and all other Central American and African countries.


Some Strength for the Journey schools still hold half-day class sessions, with children attending either in the morning or the afternoon for only 3 hours of instruction daily.

Two Strength for the Journey schools do not have flush toilets. The two largest schools in the district have over flowing septic systems.

Teachers in the Strength for the Journey schools do not have text book or teacher guides.  Students are not provided a single text book. All information must be copied into a notebook.

Attendance drops about 1/3 on rainy days.  Parents do not send their children to school.

At certain times of year, the Minister of Education does not send remittances to the schools, resulting in teachers needing to buy toilet paper and cleaning supplies out of their own pocket.

No Jamao schools have internet available for teachers and students.

SFTJ is 501 c3 tax exempt in the US: EIN 81-2877406

Dominican Address

Parroquia Asunción de María Avenida Melia Jamao al Norte, Espaillat

1(849) 915-1581

US Mailing Address

P.O. Box 51, Port Clinton, Oh 43453