Davika Parris, Clark University, S12: An Evaluation of Community Participation in Helping the Development of Homework Centers: Ema Balaguer and Iglesia de Dios, Cienfuegos, Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic.
Acción Callejera is an organization dedicated to the development of boys, girls, and adolescents in vulnerable conditions and high risk situations through various programs such as legal help, emotional help, and the salas de tarea. This research focused on the identification of the resources within both salas de tareas of Iglesia de Dios and Ema Balaguer, as well as identifying the various types of community participation and their level of usage within the schools. In order to measure the latter, the investigator used the three measures of community participation including: participation in the form of mobilization, allocation of resources, and instruction. After the identification of these various types, the investigator evaluated the advantages and disadvantages of each category as well as the differences between the two schools.
The investigator also found that the schools were not using their biggest resource; the other salas de tareas within their community of Cienfuegos. Through observation, interviews, and questionnaires, the investigator found that a connection between the teachers and volunteers of the schools was basically non-existent, but that all of the memebers were interested in forming formal connections with the other schools if there was a way to do so. This could serve as a helpful way for the school’s staff to learn from other schools and try to better their own. In this light, a recommendation to the future student would be to create an Association of Salas de Tareas that can have monthly meetings, workshops, and even serve as a support group.
Zoe Ingerson, Whitman College, S12: Reading for Everyone: an Investigation of Reading Difficulties and the Creation of Individualized Plans for Students of 6-8 years in the Arturo Jiménes Community School of Los Pérez in Santiago, Dominican Republic,”
This study was conducted in the spring of 2012 by an investigator of the CIEE-Service Learning program in conjunction with the community organization One Respe. Based on her initial observations of the school's students, she investigated which difficulties the students had as well as what factors influenced their academic achievement, all with the final goal of creating Individualized Educational Plans (IEPs) for each one.
With the help of the school's teachers, the investigator identified four students with difficulties in school and worked individually with them to conduct reading and writing activities. In the following phases, the investigator continued working with the students, while at the same time speaking with the teachers, parents and the psychologist of the school to learn more about the students through interviews and questionnaires.
Finally, the investigator created plans for each of the students and presented them to the teachers in a workshop designed to teach them the contents of the documents, their purpose, and how to use them in the future.
This study, which came from participatory observations within the school, was a collaborative one, where the investigator worked in conjunction with teachers, parents and a psychologist to do work to benefit all those involved.
Isabelle Jaffe, Clark University, S12: An Evaluation of the Effectiveness of PITS (Prevention of Sexually Transmitted Infections) and the Mutliplicators in the Japón School in Hato del Yaque, Dominican Republic
This is an evaluation of the program PITS (Prevención de Infecciones de Transmisión Sexual) in the organization FCID (Fundación Cuidado Infantil Dominicano), a non-governmental community health organization. The program PITS provides community healthcare by entering the communities of Santiago and teaching the people about their sexual health. They find volunteers or “multiplicadores” from the communities and teach them about themes related to health. These volunteers are trained to teach the same themes in their community schools in the form of “charlas” (talks). This investigation focuses on the Japanese School in Hato del Yaque, a community outside the city of Santiago, with which PITS began working in November of 2011.
The objectives of this investigation are: measure the knowledge of the students about the themes of the program before and after participating in the program, review the teaching methods used and how they work, investigate if the relationship that PITS has with the “multiplicadores” supports their success and development, and measure the role of the teachers of the school. The tools used in this investigation were the following: the pre-test and post-test, direct observations, and questionnaires. The results of a comparison between the pre-test and post-test showed an increase of knowledge of only 8%. According to these results, the students of the program are not learning enough, and the program could improve in certain aspects in order to reach their goal of providing community healthcare to Hato del Yaque. With this being said, there were factors in the classrooms that the “multiplicadores” could not control (i.e.: noise level, distractions, lack of time). But there are aspects of their work that they could improve, and the recommendations of the investigation are: use the most effective teaching methods (visual aids, group work, and dynamics), link all the themes while teaching, use at least two “charlas” to teach a theme, and involve the teachers of the school in the program. To assist PITS in continuing their work in the communities of Santiago, this investigation is accompanied by a tangible project of a booklet geared at generating funds for the program that PITS may give to possible donors.
Talia Brock, Denison University, S12: A Study of the Professional Expectations of the Leaders in Defense of Our Country at Niños con una Esperanza (NCUE), the Perspectives of the Directors, Facilitators and the Factors Creating these Expectations
Level of self-confidence and quality of the environment are two factors that are of great importance in the development of youths, specifically in relation to the pursuit of professional success. Without confidence in one’s self or the necessary resources in their environment, youths can be confronted with many difficulties in their first years of adult life. Within the organization Niños con una Esperanza, an after-school program in the sector of Santa Lucia (La Mosca), Cien Fuegos, Dominican Republic, there is a group of youths between the ages of 11 and 17 that are called the Líderes Defensores de Nuestro País (LDP). These youths have responsibilities within the program that include helping the facilitators monitoring the activities of the younger children during recess, serving the food during snack time and being role models in general. The majority of the LDP are approaching their high school graduation, and they will have to find work, go to college or do something in order to live as adults in the near future.
The purpose of this investigation is to identify the professional goals of the members of LDP, their visions for the future and how the expectations that the facilitators and directors of NCUE have for them affect their visualization of the future. With this information, we can have a clearer understanding of how one’s environment affects youths, and how we can avoid a negative environment. The researcher learned which factors were affecting the LDP’s visualization of the future and investigated the expectations that the directors and facilitators had for the LDP as well. The results indicated that the LDP lacked the appropriate amount of confidence in themselves, and that they also lacked a clear perception of the resources at their disposal within NCUE. The program NCUE needs to find ways to build the confidence of the LDP and increase their awareness of the resources within NCUE. The final step in the LDP’s learning of leadership within their own lives is to have the confidence and faith that they truly can reach their goals
Anna Cecelia McWhirter, University of Oregon, S12: Madres Empoderadas, Niños Exitosos: Los obstáculos y las motivaciones de madres en asistir a reuniones de Estimulación Temprana. Empowered Mothers, Successful Children: The Obstacles and Motivations of Mothers Attending Early Stimulation Meetings
This investigation was done in collaboration with the Fundación Cuidado Infantil Dominicano (FCID), specifically through the program Estimulación Temprana a Infantes Nacidos en Alto Riesgo (ETINAR). Mothers and family members involved in this program bring their infants to the foundation’s weekly meetings where they do various exercises to work on the early stimulation of the 0-1 year old infant. The investigation seeks to discover obstacles that have prevented the mothers from attending the meetings, the knowledge and awareness that they have of development and at-risk children, their motivations behind attending every week, and their thoughts about the future of their children in the program. The sample involves 15 mothers, one father, one aunt and one grandmother, from four communities where ETINAR is located within the city of Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic. The results show that the biggest obstacles for the interviewees is work and school, concern about the community having negative views of their children or themselves as mothers, and a lack of time. In terms of their knowledge and awareness, there is a low level of awareness of what is early stimulation in the communities. Also, there is a disconnection about what the people believe is the definition of an “at risk” child and the definition of the foundation. The mothers are motivated to attend for having seen differences in their child’s development after continually attending the meetings and doing the exercises at home. Another motivation is that the majority of the interviewees responded that they have support and help at home to follow up on the early stimulation of their children. In the future, the mothers want their children to be able to continue the work and exercises they learned during the meetings. They want to see other mothers and family members get involved in the weekly meetings and the mothers themselves would like to participate in inviting and involving others. Based on the results of the investigation, this investigator recommends that the mothers regularly involved in the meetings take responsibility to commit other mothers to attending the meetings and that the foundation works with these regular mothers in various ways to be able to do this work.
Emily J. Sturdivant, Clark University, S12: Pilot Group of the Siblings Club: Planning a Club of Siblings of Children with Disabilities in Cienfuegos and the Sustainability of the Group after the First Two Months
This is an evaluation of a pilot support group for youth with siblings who have disabilities. The “Club de Hermanos” is an initiative of the Fundación Cuidado Infantil Dominicano (FCID) designed in a planning manual (Manual de Apoyo) to meet the emotional, social, educational, and psychological needs of these youth who have not previously had the opportunity for support. The pilot phase of the Club was conducted in the barrio of Cienfuegos, Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic and spanned 2 months. To evaluate the pilot, the investigation documented the planning and the process, measured the sustainability, and analyzed the whole to allow its application in the other communities served by FCID. The investigator observed the planning and administered surveys to the facilitators and the youth. Following the results, the Club of Cienfuegos, started as the pilot, will continue under the leadership of the team of health promoters with plans to increase involvement with the club though promotion and leadership from within the group of youth. Based on this successful pilot, implementation of Clubs in other sectors should begin by developing a strong leadership structure and conducting a promotional campaign.