Individual Volunteer Trips

If you wish to come independently on a short term trip, we can make arrangements for you. The time of year you come will determine the activities you participate in. Many volunteers choose to come during the summer when we have our Change Our Stars English Immersion Camp for our students. We also have a lot of volunteer groups during academic breaks (December-January and March-April). However, volunteers are always welcome, and we are happy to plan activities that meet your interests. Potential activities include:

  • Supplemetal educational activities in schools. Art education, music education, physical education, science projects, and environmental education are what we most encourage.
  • English or French education after school or during breaks.
  • Recycling projects.
  • Gardening projects.
  • Street census.
  • Vocational training: Carpentry, mechanics, plumbing, electricity, etc.
  • Artist training: Jewelry making, painting, craft making, etc.
  • Soccer drills and other athletic training.
  • Extra-curricular school and community activities such as BINGO and movie nights.
  • Eco-construction projects.
  • Painting.

Where will I stay? 

Volunteers stay in a house close to a batey community where most of the students live. Our volunteer house has space for up to 14 group members. It is a secure and friendly place with great staff. Traditional Dominican and Haitian meals are cooked for volunteers at the building. 

This is a home for a middle class Dominican family in a semi rural area. We view this as an opportunity forvolunteers to become immersed in the culture and have a better sense of what life is really like here. 

This is a rustic setting and volunteers should be aware that we do not have air conditioning or wifi. We do have fans and there is internet at our art shop, about 2 minutes down the road. Power goes out twice a week for a few hours during the day when volunteers are generally doing activities, and water goes out ocassionally. The bathroom is shared and rooms are shared when there is more than three people. There is reliable public transportation to go into Puerto Plata (about 25 minute drive away) where most American products can be easily found. 
We encourage volunteers to stretch their comfort zones because we have found that many have a more impactful experience through this immersion. Ourvolunteer house is also very close to one of our schools and past volunteers have enjoyed the opportunity to spend more time with the children and the community. However, if the house does not sound feasible for you, we can arrange alternative accommodations. 

What does it cost and when do I pay? 

The costs is $350 for one week and $680 for two weeks. This include stay in our volunteer house, three meals a day, program transportation, support including interpretation, and some materials. Depending on the project, materials may need to be fundraised for or donated separately. If you wish to come for less than one week, the cost is $50 per day. If you are staying and eating somewhere other than our volunteer house, the cost is $15 per day. If you are staying somewhere else but would like to eat meals with us, the cost is $25 per day. People staying elsewhere will cover their own transportation and may be asked to provide some materials and potential other costs as well, depending on the project. 

The non-refundable deposit is due 2 months in advance of arrival date. The rest of your volunteer fees are due at least 4 weeks in advance of your arrival date. 

Partial refunds for extenuating circumstances are possible if requested at least 2 weeks prior to your arrival date (the $100 deposit is not refundable). We cannot offer refunds on volunteer fees within 2 weeks of arrival or after your arrival date.

 

How can I find out more? 

To find out more and discuss your trip with us, please e-mail Volunteer@EsperanzaMeansHope.org for questions and to request the sign up forms. We look forward to having you here!