A Motivational Word – Fashion Designer Jeanette Limas Visits Hogar del Niño

June 4, 2013 in Events, Involúcrese, Programs

The Hogar del Niño was recently blessed with a visit from famous fashion designer and active supporter Jeanette Limas.

The highlight of her visit was a motivational speech given to fourth year high school students, which touched upon career goals and pursing one’s passion.  Ms. Limas encouraged the young men and women to not only be model citizens and responsible figures in today’s world, but more importantly to recognize the opportunities given to them and use them to help accomplish their dreams.  In a Coelho-esque moment that echoed on advice given in the Alchemist, Jeanette talked about the power of passion and ambition:

¨When you decide you want something very badly, that energy builds and helps you to achieve it. Take advantage of the opportunities given to you, and set out to fulfill that dream and that passion that sits deep within you. Focus on your dream. If you don’t, if you make the unconscious decision to not pursue your passion, it can drive you crazy. Decide what you want to be and go be it.¨

Ms. Limas, a fashion designer from La Romana who now resides in New York City and is the Head Design Assistant in Urban Zen by Donna Karan, knew at a very young age she wanted to work in the fashion industry.  But things were not always easier for her:¨It’s a struggle. I remember times of little support, knocking on doors only to have them not open for me.  Times when I received no recognition, and felt frustrated and lost.  But I kept going.  You can never give up—if you know what you want and you really want it, go and fight for it.¨

Ms. Limas found out about the Hogar about 3 years ago, at the Fashion Show Dominicana Moda, where the Patronato Benéfico Oriental was one of the benefitting charities of the event.

¨I am from La Romana and knew of the organization, but it wasn’t until speaking with people from the organization at Dominicana Moda that I realized just how much they are doing for the community of La Romana, the scope of their work and how involved they are.  At the event, I was invited to a Café de La Leche in Casa de Campo, where I later learned more about the organization. Since then I have been a constant supporter– I don’t have enough good things to say about all the great work they do in La Romana and surrounding communities.’’

The Hogar would like to thank Ms. Limas for her visit, her inspirational words, and her continuous and generous support.

H.O.P.E. Lends a Hand to Hogar’s Bilingual Program

April 22, 2013 in English Programs, Involúcrese, The Zona Verde

Every year, Stonehill College sends students from their  group HOPE to spend a week volunteering at the Hogar del Niño. This alternative Spring Break Program allows for the university students to integrate themselves into a new culture as well as into the hearts of the people in the school, both young and old. This past March, the group of 23 left the snowy streets of Easton, Massachusetts to help with the development of the “Learning English Early” Bilingual Program at the Hogar.

With the help of permanent volunteers and employees at the school, the group designed and created giant posters that will be used in each Nivel Inicial classroom. Furthermore, the volunteers taught the teachers of the Nivel Inicial what each poster meant and the correct pronunciation for each word.

Each morning, the volunteers spent time working in the Nivel Inicial, teaching English to the children through books, music and other strategies. Also, they were placed in the hearing-impaired school, the Zona Verde (the new extracurricular building) and the Infant Room. All of the locations allowed each volunteer to meet and spend time with the students of the Hogar del Niño. The week ended with a volleyball competition and an overall sadness to depart. Groups such as this one from Stonehill College are proof that with a big heart and drive to make a difference, anything is possible in a short amount of time. And, as we always say to our short term volunteers, it is never a “goodbye,” it is only a “see you soon.”

Honors English Program Part of New Initiative

March 20, 2013 in English Programs, Involúcrese

Yesterday was the last class of the school year for volunteers Rick Laird & Joyce Berman, who along with Director of Extracurricular English Peggy Goldberg helped form the Honors English Program, a group of ten high school freshman that meets every afternoon Tuesday through Thursday.  Rick and Joyce have been working with this group since the beginning of January, imparting basic English instruction supplemented by the use of the Rosetta Stone® computer program.

The Honors English Program is part of a wider initiative to start the Hogar on the track towards becoming a bilingual school in the near future.  Former volunteer and current teacher Diane Tobio has been working with students of all ages, from preschool through basic and high school.  Along with the help of a wide volunteer base, she is currently working to develop a new curriculum and helping strategize for the implementation and actualization of English teaching programs in the coming school year.

Anyone interested in volunteering with English Programs at the Hogar, we invite you to e-mail:

      Inexis Zapata, Volunteer Coordinator, izapata @ pbo.org.do

OR

Peggy Goldberg, coordinator of extracurricular English Programs, mortandpeggy @ gmail.com

A Look Back at HDN Weekend 2013

March 7, 2013 in Events, Involúcrese

This year’s Hogar del Niño weekend was a great success, with record turnouts in all our events—from the MTB Marathon to our beachside Dinner & Dance party…

Here is a look back at the weekend and all of the smiling faces from our many different events:

Farleigh Dickinson Volunteers Kick Off the New Year

January 29, 2013 in Involúcrese, The Zona Verde, Programs

From January 9th to January 20th, 13 volunteers from Fairleigh Dickinson University came to volunteer with us at the Hogar del Nino. Of the group of volunteers, there were four who returned from previous year trips, some on their third or fourth visit to the Hogar.

The main project for this year´s group was the creation of a small park behind our extracurricular building, the ZonaVerde.  The idea was to create a space that could be used for class, studying, and relaxing.

The group spent the first few days clearing the space–weeding, cleaning and removing debris from the area. While cleaning up the area, the volunteers picked out larger rocks to use later to paint and outline the garden and the trees.

While laying down gravel, students from the school and volunteers painted the larger rocks to be placed around the area. The volunteers selected artwork from the students of the Zona Verde. The volunteers and the students then worked together for several days to recreate these images on the walls in the form of a mural. They also laid down dirt and soil to prepare the gardens for planting. A variety of herbs, flowers, and plants were planted in the tires as well as in the garden area.

In the end, the volunteers created a great space for learning. The area is now being used for English class and art class in the morning of the Zona Verde.

After completing the small park, the volunteers spent their last few days in other areas of the school, in Sala Cuna sharing time with the infants and visiting toddlers in Nivel Inicial. The volunteers observed the classes while also participating in daily activities, from classroom instruction to English conversation practice to volleyball games and sing-a-longs.

It was a special visit that went by all too quickly, but the Hogar was happy to have this great group visit, and even more we now have a special place created by them for the students at the Hogar to enjoy.

Artists for Kids

December 12, 2012 in Involúcrese, The Zona Verde, Programs

The visiting artists for the Zona Verde Mural project have recently been invited to attend an Exposicion at the 3rd EYE (SOL) ATION Gallery in Brooklyn, New York, where their work will be on display from the 20th of December until the 20th of January, 2013.

Art Professor Argenis Lebron and his group hope to travel and help support the program ´Artists for Kids´ by Hogar del Niño, a program whose mission is to help youth in the community to develop their artistic talents under the supervision and mentoring of professional artists and designers.

If you would like to help support these artists and their trip to New York to promote this program, please contact us by email: info@pbo.org.do or by telephone 809-556-3181.

Zona Verde Transformed

November 29, 2012 in Involúcrese, The Zona Verde

The Zona Verde at Hogar del Niño revealed this past Friday the colorful art project that has been in production the last two weeks . From the 12th to the 23rd of December, a group of 8 Dominican artists—graduates of the design school in Altos de Chavon—created a stunning work of art at the extracurricular building at Hogar del Niño.  The building was completely remodeled on the exterior, from a plain white canvas to a vibrant painting, a lifelike nature scene featuring flowers, landscapes, trees, clouds and creatures.

The unveiling of this project was a great success, and the celebration was lively and cheerful.The event included singing by Quennie Paniagua, dance performances by other students, a presentation about non-violence, and even a song for the Zona Verde. Presentations were also given to honor those involved in the project, which was conceptualized and lead by Art Teacher Argenis Lebron.

The highlight of the event was a transformer costume made of recycled art.  The costume looked as it came right out of the movie, with battery powered lights, lights, gadgets, and artist and designer of the piece, Alexis Valerio, mounted inside the costume.  After revealing the transformer costume, Alexis was instantly swarmed by students anxious to get a picture and to see the transformer up close and personal.

A special thank you to the visiting artists:

Argenis Lebrón : La Romana

Modesto Santiago : Santo Domingo

Wali Vidal : Santiago

Jesús De La Cruz : Santiago

Ivan Ramón : San Juan de La Maguana

Edward Salcedo : Higuey

Hansel Morales : La Romana

Argenis Matos : Santo Domingo

Alexis Valerio : Santiago (Transformer)

And to everyone else involved with this project.

Volunteer Profile: Francisco Mercedes

November 6, 2012 in Involúcrese

For Francisco Mercedes, volunteer service comes easily—he has incorporated it into his daily routing for exercising and staying fit.

An active and energetic person, Francisco is often found exercising, running, planning workout routines with friends and practicing sports.  In between hours working at Casa de Campo, being a father and husband, and volunteering with church groups for the community, Francisco also finds time to be active in serving the community.  It was after his friend suggested to him that he could take his passion for exercise and sports—his favorite hobby—and merge it with a different type of volunteer service, that he begin working with youth and doing just that.

Now, Francisco, who has worked in concierge at Casa de Campo for over 14 years, has taken up an additional volunteer post as a physical fitness instructor at the Hogar del Niño.  Every Tuesday and Thursday he spends his mornings at the school, helping physical fitness instructor Abraham Ponce, and together they teach gym and exercise classes.

For Francisco it is easy, a perfect fusion of his favorite hobby and something else he loves to do—volunteer and give back to the community.

“For me, this is fun.  I enjoy it immensely, I am volunteering, but more importantly doing what I like. If anyone is interested in volunteering, I would recommend talking to the staff at the Hogar or PBO to be given a tour.  Once you see the Hogar, you are motivated to help, whether economically or with your presence.  There are many needs at the Hogar—for example, if you are a cook you can take some time to help in the kitchens, if you like children you can help in the preschool, if you know languages you can help teach.”‘

First Graduation of Alfabetizacion Program

April 26, 2012 in Events, Involúcrese, Programs

Last month the Patronato Benefico Oriental, along with the Foundation for the Southern Future, celebrated the first graduation of the Literacy Program for Youth and Young Adults. The ceremony was very uplifting and emotional—everyone in attendance was filled with a sense of pride to see men and women, youth and young adults receiving certificates of accreditation as graduates of the program. Completion of the program will also give these graduates the opportunity to participate in programs of continued education, such as in the formal system or technical programs such as those sponsored by the PBO Vocational Workshop, in partnership with INFOTEP.

The Dominican Republic has one of the highest rates of illiteracy in the Caribbean. With an estimated 10-13% of the adult population illiterate, it is significantly above the average of 8.3% among Caribbean and Latin American counties. The problem is severe—the country is far above the average rate of illiteracy. The project Plan Estratégico de Educación Provincial aims to reduce poverty by means of intensive action, participative programs for youth and adults that will gradually eradicate illiteracy in La Romana. The communities benefited by the first cycle of the program were the Hogar del Niño, Municipal District Cumayasa KM 10, Batey Cacata, and Villa Hermosa—including the neighborhoods of San Carlos, Pica Piedra, and Tsuchi, for a total of four hundred and thirty-eight participants.

The four hundred and thirty-eight participants who finished the program received certificates accredited by the Ministry of Adult Education of the Dominican Republic (MINERD), and seventy-three participants were placed in second and third cycle of basic formal adult education.

We hope that in the future these adults can continue their education and that the success of this program continues. Literacy does not only involve letters and knowledge of words and what they imply, but furthermore it offers participants and their communities the opportunity to achieve change in their own lives of their own will, to be men and women capable of integrating graciously into Dominican society and the labor market, to develop critical thinking skills and entrepreneurial skills, and to ultimately provide independent support for their families.

Stonehill H.O.P.E. Returns to Hogar

March 30, 2012 in Involúcrese, Programs

During the second week of March, twenty-four volunteers from Stonehill College  in Easton, MA visited the Hogar del Niño. The university students, who participated in a program known as H.O.P.E. Alternative Spring Break, spent the week doing volunteer service—-painting classrooms, teaching english, working in the preschool areas and the infant room, as well as leading arts and crafts projects in the Zona Verde extracurricular building.

H.O.P.E. is an acronym which stands for: Honoring our neighbor, Organizing for justice, Practicing peace, and Encountering God.

This group has been visiting our institution every March since 2007. This trip was another successful year for all involved in our volunteer program. The students and volunteers, as always, shared many unforgettable moments and cultivated many friendships.

Alicia Talty, a volunteer who returned for her second trip to the Hogar, was happy to be back: “It’s amazing to see how much progress and improvements can be done within one year. Being at the Hogar is such an uplifting experience – it’s impossible not to be happy, smile, or laugh because it’s contagious throughout the school.”

First time volunteer Ryan Rafferty was also very moved by what he saw at Hogar: “My hope trip experience was truly world changing for me. Being an education major, I always believed that a school was solely a place for learning. But from this experience I learned that a school can provide so much more than just educational opportunities. In the Hogar, the students receive security, medical attention, food, and a real sense of family.”

 

The cultural exchange that emerges from having volunteers here is always enriching and fulfilling for both students and volunteers.  Volunteer service trips such as H.O.P.E. are inspiring for those who come to work here. But we also know beyond a doubt that every volunteer who passes through the Hogar, for whoever long or short a time, leaves a footprint here and is forever part of our family.

 

 Thank you Stonehill Hope, and all of our volunteers!

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