I've spent the last 10 months working as a Princeton in Latin America fellow with Yspaniola. Yspaniola is a small education non-profit located in the community of Batey Libertad, Dominican Republic. We work with Dominicans, Haitian immigrants, and Dominicans of Haitian descent, many of whom lack access to documentation. This year, I've been mainly focused on operations and development (donor relations, facilitating experiential service-learning trips, grant writing, etc.), but I've also had the opportunity to work directly with our students when I helped in the classroom and led our Reading Hour program. We work in a small community, so I've gotten to know dozens of students and other community members outside of a work environment. Batey Libertad is a truly special place, and I am so grateful that I have had the chance to work here for a year.
At the end of July, I will be summitting Pico Duarte, the highest mountain in the Caribbean. Yspaniola is holding a hike to raise money for our programs, and I am participating. I have witnessed firsthand the effect of our empowering and holistic classes and activities. At Yspaniola, students are learning to read, mentoring younger students, and gaining access to college through our scholarship program. Every day, our bright and enthusiastic students rush into our Learning Center to attend our voluntary literacy programs. Please consider supporting me as I hike to raise money so Yspaniola can continue offering its much-needed services in Batey Libertad.