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Spring 2014

Adrian Pendergast, Eckerd College, S14: Research about Leadership and Behavior of Children/Youth within the Community of Niños con una Esperanza in Cienfuegos, Santiago, DR. January-April 2014

There are many factors that influence the behavior of students in their classrooms; in particular, the culture, the organization, the schedule, the teachers, and the experiences and the lives of the students outside of school. Another of influence  is leadership within a community. Leaders have the ability to have a strong positive influence on daily events and how people process these moments. There are many qualities and attitudes that a leader can use to improve and influence the behavior of others. This includes the perseverance to achieve goals, confidence and an optimistic attitude. 

Leadership in the community,  Niños con una Esperanza (Children with a Hope, or NCUE), is something that is very valued. In the past, a leadership group called Líderes Defensores de Nuestro País (Leaders in Defense of Our Country or LDP) has been utilized to promote the good leaders and offer opportunities for the young people to learn and apply leadership skills. In general, this has been an important aspect of NCUE. 

One of the biggest problems in the schools in the Dominican Republic is the behavior of the students in classrooms. This behavior is at times aggressive, explosive, and violent. Although extremely violent behavior is not common among the students of NCUE, the students experience many problems in their outside lives. In addition, aggressive and unstable behavior is common, especially in the context of games. At times it is hard to control the students in their classrooms, to maintain friendly play, and for students to complete their work without the presence of destructive behavior. It is possible that the improvement of leadership within the community could improve these problems and provide positive examples for the students. In connection with all of these factors, the proposition of this study is to analyze how the members of the community view the concept of leadership in general, how they feel about its presence among the students and how it influences the behavior of the students in their classrooms. 

Amy Lebowitz, Macalester College, S14: The Effects of Art Education on the Behavior of the Third and Fourth Grade Classes at the Arturo Jimenes Community School in Gurabo, Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic, January-April 2014

Classroom violence is an enormous issue in the Dominican Republic, with 70 percent of  school students having at least witnessed some form of violence among their classmates. In the Escuela Comunitaria Arturo Jimenes, a semi-private school run by social justice reflection center Oné Respe, various types of violence are omnipresent among the children. This study examines the effects of one ameliorative strategy, art education, on violence and poor behavior in the third and fourth grade classrooms at this school. Community violence is known to have negative impacts on child development, and a negative classroom environment can greatly diminish learning opportunities for many students. A strategy like art education, which allows children to channel violent energy into creative outlets and focus in a different way, may prove a promising opportunity to increase learning opportunities and improve the classroom environment. Although community and school violence are structural problems, an investigation into the relationship between art education and classroom violence serves a dire need in the specific context of the Escuela Comunitaria Arturo Jimenes, which due to distraction and chaos wrought by violence and poor behavior, cannot always meet its goal of providing education to its students.

Mikayla Bobrow, Clark University, S14: Evaluation of Effectiveness of Sexual Health Curriculum 

The rates of unwanted pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections, and sexual violence in the Dominican Republic are some of the highest in the region. These high rates exist in part because of the lack of sexual education provided in the country. This research project evaluates the effectiveness of a sexual health curriculum that was implemented en the middle/high schools San Juan de la Cruz and Salomé Ureña in Barrio Obrero of Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic. This research is a collaboration with the CIEE Service Learning exchange program and the public hospital Juan XXIII. 

Josh Holt, Wofford College, S14: Study of the Perceptions that Consumers Have about The Products of Arte a Mano To Gain Knowledge of the Organization of Publicity and Points of Views to Improve their Sales

This study is qualitative and quantitative, measuring perceptions and their frequencies in order to produce numerical data that quantifies those perceptions that the sample population has. The sample population of Hoya del Caimito (by random selection) was 67 habitants (32 males and 35 females). The investigator completed half of the sample (for reasons described in the limitations of the study). In addition the researcher gave questionnaires to the group of artisans on their perceptions of the point of sale and the importance of consumer information.

This study found that the majority of the community was in favor not only of recycled materials, but also of the specific materials used by Arte a Mano. In addition to this, awareness of the group and their products is weak because many people lack information about Arte a Mano due to the scarcity of marketing. The data in this study provides basic information about the materials and products that the sample population expect and prefer. Majority supports the goals of Arte a Mano which shows us that Arte a Mano has a segmentation of people in their community who not only like the crafts that Arte a Mano produces but they prefer to buy them as well. 

Ana Brambila, Elon University, S14: Study of the Causes that Motivate Attendance and Disertion in the Sala de Tarea of Acción Callejera in Hato del Yaque    

This study focuses on the sala de tarea of Acción Callejera in the community of Hato del Yaque.The sala de tarea offers tutoring for mathematics and Spanish. They also provide a snack for the children and offers time for recess.   Children’s attendance was measured daily, morning and afternoon, by participatory observation. This study seeks to illustrate the causes that motivate children’s attendance or desertion. A questionnaire was distributed to 30 parents and a different questionnaire was administered to the children but was applied as an interview. The professor in charge of the program and one of the town committee members were also interviewed. According to the questionnaires, all actors are content with the sala de tarea and think that the best way to motivate the children would be through the incorporation of a reward system. The children responded that the best way to motivate them is to visit them that their homes and encourage them to come. Overall, the professor and the town committee member thought that the sala de tarea was fulfilling its purpose, but the committee member did mention that there needed to be more discipline in the sala de tarea.

Gabriela Salazar Kitner, University of Oregon, S14: SWOT Analysis of the Morning and Afternoon Programs of the Educative Foundation of Acción Callejera, March 2014, Santiago

In the Dominican Republic, there is a large acceptance of child labor, in many forms, despite the illegality and breach of rights that occurs. There are organizations that work to support the victims of child labor and give opportunities of education and escape to the daily sloughs of unreasonable work hours, conditions and treatment. Acción Callejera is based in Santiago de los Caballeros and provides basic services and education to kids in these situations. This study analyzes two specific programs that support approximately 30 children's futures and provide more opportunities than they would have had by solely working on the streets. This study analyzes the strengths, weaknesses, threats and opportunities to the respective programs and determined recommendations and resulted in a sustainable project to be used to improve aspects of the programs.

Aviva Schwartz, Clark University, S14: The Level of Knowledge that Habitants of the Community of Rafey, Santiago, Dominican Republic have about Disability in the Period of March to April 2014

 This investigation was designed to evaluate the level of knowledge about disabilities in the community of Rafey, Santiago. About 10-15% of the population in the Dominican Republic have disabilities of varying types and levels. There is a lack of resources for these people, and a significant stigma that exists in the country against disabilities. This study explores the perceptions and understanding that the general population has about people with disabilities, how one develops a disability, and the best way to interact and support a person with a disability. The investigation was conducted through La Fundación Cuidado Infantil Dominicano (The Dominican Foundation for Childcare) in order to determine what information they should focus on when teaching the community. Through two formal interviews, with the director of FCID and the mayor of Rafey, and 221 surveys throughout the community, it became clear that the community has a strong basic level of knowledge about disabilities. The results showed that although the community does have an understanding of the abilities that people with disabilities have, and of some of the challenges that they face in our society, there is much more they should learn. Some of the information they lack relates to the how someone develops a disability, the best way to support someone with disabilities and specific types of disabilities. The Dominican Foundation for Childcare will now implement workshops educating the community about the reality of disabilities and how to best support people who are living with disabilities. 

Calli Johnson, University of Colorado, Boulder, S14: Analysis of how Socioeconomic and Social Environmental Factors Affect Individual Perception of Hypertension and Diabetes in Pekin Abajo, Santiago, Dominican Republic

Diabetes and hypertension are very serious diseases in the community of Pekín Abajo, a community of a diverse socioeconomic conditions and lifestyles in Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic.

Although there are many resources in the community for hypertensive and diabetic patients, the attendance and utilization of these resources is very low and often rather inconsistent. Therefore, this research focuses on the mentality of these patients, in order to investigate how they perceive their illness and how these perceptions are affected by both socioeconomic and social environment factors.

The statistics from this research provide a more complete picture of the social factors that exist in Pekín and within each of the individuals. They demonstrate much consensus in relation to importance and control of care of health as well as lots of variation in relation to money, feelings of dependency, and risk. Through the analysis of this data, it is evident that there are patterns in many socio-economic and socio-envirionmental factors that affect individual perceptions of these diseases.

Hannah Yore, Clark University, S14: Evaluation of the Level of Knowledge about Sexual Health an Resources of Adolescents Age Twelve to Eighteen in the Communiy

Sexual violence, rates of sexually transmitted infections, and adolescent pregnancy are among the most pressing health concerns facing adolescent women in the Dominican Republic. Adolescents' awareness of sexual health information and available sexual health resources undoubtedly influences high rates of these three health risks. Therefore, the goal of this study is to determine female adolescents' understanding of sexual health and sexual health resources. Additionally, this study investigates the opinions of doctors and community health leaders about the sexual health of adolescents and what they think could help improve this aspect of health. The study is concentrated in Cristo Rey Abajo en Santiago de los Caballeros in the Dominican Republic as part of a exchange Service Learning CIEE program and the public hospital Juan XXIII. 


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