I started working with Yspaniola in August of 2018 as a Princeton in Latin America fellow. Yspaniola is a small non-profit located in Batey Libertad, Dominican Republic that provides holistic educational support to this marginalized community comprised of mostly Haitian immigrants and Dominicans of Haitian descent. As a fellow, my main responsibilities were behind-the-scenes administrative work, but some of my most rewarding experiences have been assisting our local staff in the classroom and in efforts to help members of the community procure the documentation they need to live a dignified life in the Dominican Republic. Through these experiences, I built valuable friendships and gained a deeper understanding of the obstacles facing Yspaniola's students. The care, hospitality, and love the Batey Libertad community has shown me in my time here has been unbelievable, and I am dedicated to working with them to achieve a more just and equitable future for all people in the Dominican Republic.
At the end of my time here, I will be summitting Pico Duarte, the highest peak in the Caribbean, in support of Yspaniola. Each donation in support of this journey helps to fund our Learning Center, employ local staff, and send students from the community to college. I have seen firsthand the transformative effects of Yspaniola's programming during my time here. Recipients of Yspaniola scholarships return to the community to be teachers and leaders. Advanced students in the learning center take ownership of their role and provide mentoring and literacy sessions for younger students. Witnessing this individual discovery and growth in our students has been invaluable. Please consider supporting my hike to Pico Duarte so Yspaniola can continue being a source of support and refuge for the students of Batey Libertad.