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Spring 2013

Tom Baker, Clark University, S13:  The Protagonists of their Own Lives: An Evaluation of the Capacity of the Oné Respé Youth Group to Empower and Motivate the Youth of Los Platanitos

 This qualitative and quantitative research evaluates the efficiency of the youth group of Los Platanitos that is offered through the institution Oné Respe: Centro de Reflexión, Encuentro, y Solidaridad in their ability to empower the youth the be the protagonists of their own lives and motivated members of their community. The data of the study was collected utilizing direct observation, weekly evaluations from the perspective of the youth, and formal interviews.

The results indicate that participation in Oné Respe’s youth group generally contributes to improved feelings of empowerment and personal motivation, while also contributing to an increased motivation to participate in the community. The results also indicate that there is a lack of mobilization of resources on the part of the youth because they cannot exactly identify how to use the group as a resource in their lives. Observations of the group show that participation in the group is not as consistent as the youth indicate in their interviews.

 The following recommendations were made: create a more strict system of attendance, do community visits, establish more contacts in the community, offer more opportunities for collaboration between the two youth groups of the organization, and give the youth more opportunities to select the themes of the of meetings and plan group excursions.

 Sara Hutchinson, Clark University, S13: Research to Evaluate the Support Systems that Exist for Kindergarteners in the Community School of Los Jiménes, and the Relation to their Academic Performance

The following study was done by a student in the CIEE Service-Learning study abroad program during the Spring of 2013.  The study took place in the community of Los Pérez in Santiago, Dominican Republic.  The research title also forms the general objective of the study.  The researcher examines: What are the most important needs for the kindergarteners in the community school? The study was carried out through the organization Oné Respe, which means “Honor and Respect” in Creole.  Throughout the study, the investigator asks What is a support system and how does it influence a child’s life?  A child’s support system incorporates personal relationships and different learning environments. The research tools focus on a collaborative effort, which incorporates the researcher, the teachers in the school, and the families of the kids.  The results from the collection of quantitative data emphasize the importance of the home environment in the way that children learn.  The study utilizes the results from questionnaires and interviews with the families to form recommendations for the organization based on style of the course and methods to improve communication between the family and school.

Peter Hyndman, Drexel University, S13: Determining the Viability of a Educational Club for Diabetics and Hypertensives in the Community of Pekin Abajo

Diabetes and hypertension are two of the most serious problems in Pekín Abajo, a community in Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic. There is a Center of Primary Attention (UNAP), run by Juan XXIII, which serves the Pekín Abajo community and is staffed by doctors, nurses, and volunteer health promoters. This research is about the capacities of Juan XXIII and the UNAP specifically regarding an educative club for people that suffer from diabetes and hypertension. It measures the levels of interest and tries to establish some purposes of the club. Also, it establishes a few ways in which the club can realize its goals and purposes.

The point of the research is to discover data to help with the planning of the club, rather than simply starting it without any plans. In that vein, it sets out to ensure the long-term success of the club. All of the conclusions of the research are results of contribution from the investigator, the UNAP staff, and members of the community. In the end, the research establishes that this proposed club is viable for the community.

Emily Stibbs, Vanderbilt University, S13: A Study of the Level of Knowledge and Care of the Principal Caretakers of the Children and Teenagers with Disabilities in the Community of Cristo Rey, Santiago, Dominican Republic

In Cristo Rey, a community located in the Southern zone of Santiago de los Caballeros, there is a system of health promoters and supervisors who work to maintain the health of their community. When the researcher accompanied the health promoters and supervisors in their house visits, she realized that there was a significant population of children and teenagers between the ages of four and twenty-one with visible disabilities, like severe paralysis in all four limbs, and, also, invisible disabilities, like behavior problems or mental retardation. This population of children and teenagers needs specific care en terms of their medical assistance, their nutrition, and their education.

Therefore, a study about the level of knowledge that the caretakers of these children and teenagers have about these topics and about adequate care of this population was performed. So, questionnaires and interviews were completed with these main caretakers during a period of almost three months. The data determined two important findings: 1) there is a great lack in preventative health in these children and teenagers, as is demonstrated with only 56% of the children and teenagers having all of their vaccines and only 10% of them having the correct amount of therapy, and 2) there is little knowledge about the small amount of resources available to them. As a result, a discussion about these topics occurred April 8th for the caretakers of the children and teenagers with disabilities in Cristo Rey, including guest speakers like a therapist and a social worker. This discussion was the first meeting of a monthly club for these caretakers of children and teenagers with disabilities in Cristo Rey. Also this study hopes to alert the community of Cristo Rey, especially medical personnel, so that this could be the first step so that they can receive aid in terms of resources and attention.

Holly Johnsen, Portland State University, S13: Analysis of the Relationship Between the Individual Capacity of the Members of Arte a Mano and the Strength of the Group: A Study of the Motivations and Effects of Affiliation

This qualitative and quantitative study analyzes the reciprocity, affiliation, and recent skills-building of the members of Arte a Mano in the northeast sector of Santiago, Dominican Republic. Questionnaires, focus groups, and direct observation support the investigation of the results of the previous individual skills-building, how individual capacity is related with strengthening the group, and the members’ commitment and motives for affiliation.    

The research finds that the recent skills-building has thoroughly instilled the importance of certain practices within money management, teamwork, and artistic presentation, but the technical knowledge of these skills is still inconsistent among the members of the association. There’s a basic level of commitment within the association and the motivation for affiliation is quite varied at least partially from the lack of a shared image or identity of Arte a Mano which to associate themselves. 

The investigator recommends that the members continue and practice the skills from the recent training during their monthly meetings where there is more support and where the association can share information with those that have missed certain workshops. Finally the investigator suggests uniforming some of its marketing methods like printing a general association business card and developing one iconic product to represent the association.  

Kalle Davis, Wofford College, S13: A Diagnostic of the Abilities of the Youth in the Leaders of our Nation Program at Niños con una Esperanza

Since its beginning in 2011, the group Líderes Defensores de Nuestro País (LDP) has supported 12 youth within the ages of 13-17 with viable leadership skills to use as a help to Niños con una Esperanza. Daily functions of the members of LDP help the facilitators as well as the youth to be trained as positive leaders within their community. In the program’s history, the youth have learned about leadership in their weekly meetings but, according to past studies, it has been concluded that the youth have not had many opportunities to demonstrate their abilities. The investigator did a qualitative investigation through a diagnostic of the leadership abilities the youth within Líderes Defensores de Nuestro País. This diagnostic was utilized to determine the capacity of empowerment the youth have. Through direct observation and questionnaires, the investigator found that the youth have confidence in their leadership abilities, but they want more opportunities to use these skills. They need support from within the organization Niños con una Esperanza in order to make LDP País more sustainable. The youth have demonstrated their abilities to creatively lead and solve problems and are ready to take their learning to the next level.

Frances Bursch, University of Oregon, S13: Perception and Practice of Recycling: The Recycling Center of Hope and the Surrounding Community

The contamination of garbage and the industry of recycling are both important forces in Cienfuegos—a marginalized neighborhood alongside the landfill in Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic. The Recycling Center La Esperanza, a collection center for a social cause, works to prevent contamination in the community and its proceeds benefit local children. The objective of this investigation is to discover how the surrounding community values the recycling center. Its value is understood through the framework of the community’s perceptions and practices of recycling. The investigation was carried out through the interviews of 50 community members of Cienfuegos. The study determined that the community values the cleanliness of their environment and a significant amount of the interviewed population participate in the recycling industry but not necessarily through the Recycling Center La Esperanza. The community values the Recycling Center La Esperanza but there is a disconnect between this appreciation and their tangible support through participation. The investigation measures the perceptions and practices of the community with respect to recycling in order to inform the Recycling Center La Esperanza about the characteristics of its actual and potential customers. As well as informs about the broader recycling industry in which the recycling enter exists.  The investigation provides the Recycling Center La Esperanza the necessary information to better promote itself and to involve the community in an effort to prevent contamination. 

Jacky Ayala, Occidental College, S13: An Analysis of Family Characteristics of Children and Adolescents without Birth Certificates in Hato del Yaque, Santiago Dominican Republic

The Latin American country with the highest percentage of undocumented children and adolescents is the Dominican Republic (Flygge 2009, p.8). Without a birth certificate many children and adolescents are vulnerable in society. In addition, the lack of documentation limits their educational and professional opportunities. Without being declared, children and adolescents cannot exercise their rights. They are invisible in the formal system. This investigation focused on an analysis of the characteristics of four families in Hato del Yaque, Santiago that have more than one son / daughter without a birth certificate. The data was collected through interviews with these four families. The results revealed that in all cases the parents of undocumented NNAs had their first child at a young age; they were 16 to 20 years old. The research also found that families did not have a high level of education. The highest educational level completed in each household was eighth grade. The highest level of weekly family income is $ 2,000 RD. The researcher also found that parents of undocumented children and adolescents participate very little or not at all in community clubs, organizations and clubs. The parents are not aware of their children's studies--none knew the name of the teacher at José Francisco Peña Gómez, study hall where their sons / daughters attend. Nor did they know of the services in the community like Acción Callejera ( Street Action) offering legal assistance through Apoyo Legal (Legal Support) program. Based on her observations and results, the researcher recommends that Acción Callejera focus more on the advocacy of the importance of the declaration and of the services offered by the organization.

Heather White, Clark University, S13: Evaluation of the Acción Callejera (Street Action) afternoon youth program, Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic  

 This study presents an assessment of the afternoon youth program at Acción Callejera (Street Action). Acción Callejera is an educational organization that works with children and adolescents at high social risk in Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic. The afternoon program works with a group of 15 youth who live, work, and carry out their lives on the streets of Santiago de los Caballeros.  The study was carried out with the intention of understanding the perceptions and ideas of the program participants, the employees directly involved in the program, and other Acción Callejera staff members in close contact with the program that work in the youth center. The study was conducted by means of structured interviews with the youth, employees, and long-term volunteers. The objectives of the evaluation were to learn the ideas of those involved about the strengths and weaknesses of the program to make the program better and functioning in the most effective way possible.

The results found show a lot success in the program and additionally many areas that the program can be improved. Through the interviews with the street youth, useful findings were found about the reasons they come to the afternoon program. Additionally, many different suggestions about ways to make the program better were found through interviews with staff members. 

Emily Neubig, Clark University, S13: Defining the Role of the Community Homework Center in Hato de Yaque to Motivate and Educate Youth

This study investigated the role that the sala de tarea (homework help center) of Acción Callejera plays in the community that it is located in, Hato del Yaque. The investigator began the research by forming a chart of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of the center, and discoved that many of the thearts and weaknesses could be overcome by actualizing the opportunities. The overall theme of this research study is the importance of individualizing in order to better serve the students and the community.

The investigator interviewed 23 students in the sala de tarea in order to measure their levels of educational motivation and how the levels vary based on whether or not the students attend school, their family structures, and the different influences of the community. The researcher looked at the relationship between the organizations that work with youth in the area and the sala de tarea. The investigator found that there is a disconnect between the community organizations, and that the children could be better served by greater communication between the organizations and the community.

The investigator recommends that Acción Callejera treat each sala de tarea in an individual way so that they can identify the potential that each sala de tarea has and work with it to overcome some of the obstacles they face. 

Jessica Kruger, Eckerd College, S13: Research of the Effectivity of the Community-Based Rehabilitation Program in Yaguita de Pastor and Cienfuegos

This investigation evaluates the program, Rehabilitation Based in the Community within the organization Fundación Cuidado Infantil Dominicano. This organization has passed through a period of many changes recently and now is the ideal time to make this evaluation.  The evaluation identifies some strengths and weaknesses of the program using a population of families with children with disabilities that are in the program, as well as those who have left.  This study evaluates the thoughts and reactions of the families concerning the different components of the program, the things they’re children have accomplished, the process of leaving the program, and the thoughts of the community regarding the rehabilitation program.  The study shows there is a lack of responsibility of the parents of these children.  The Fundación has the task of repairing this lack of awareness this because the main goal of the Fundación is to empower parents to develop their children and families for themselves.  However, there are also high levels of satisfaction amongst the parents and community and the Fundación should use this to continue moving forward and show it’s successes in the search for more support and resources.




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