Outreach360 Service Trip
Mission of Outreach 360:
Outreach360 is a service organization dedicated to sending a team of 14-15 volunteers to the Dominican Republic for a weeklong service opportunity during Spring Break. The Outreach team is comprised of two trip leaders, and 12-13 volunteers. Outreach360 overall is a nonprofit organization that works with volunteers from around the world to help provide English education to underprivileged youth both in the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua. This helps to provide a means to break the cycle of poverty that is often perpetuated by lack of education. Unlike many other service trips on campus, Outreach360 returns to the same community each year in Monte Cristi, Dominican Republic, fostering a strong relationship between Outreach360, the children of Monte Cristi, and Carnegie Mellon.
What the Volunteers Hope to Learn:
Our team's mission is to address the effects of underdevelopment and the solution that a quality education can provide. Our goals as volunteers is to serve as role models for these children and encourage them to continue with their English education. In addition, we aim to provide a fun and meaningful service opportunity that will encourage participants to continue volunteering, both domestically and abroad.
We believe that one of, if not the most, powerful tools we can provide is education as a vehicle for future success. The education that we work to provide for the youth of Monte Cristi is unique for two reasons. First, more often than not, English education in the Dominican Republic is taught by teachers that are uneducated in the language, which leads to lessons based on memorization and inadequate comprehension on a level below what can be utilized in society. The second component that we provide is the compassion and individual attention each student needs and often goes without for various reasons either in the classroom or at home. This helps not only to provide a quality education, but also to foster the development of a close relationship between student and volunteer. Through these intimate interactions, our members learn about Dominican values, culture, and outlook on life. Consistently, our volunteers return changed with an altered view on service, the consequences of poverty, and especially the power of education. Apart from our interactions with the students during teaching, we are also afforded the opportunity to interact with the Outreach360 staff and other volunteers during our free time. This gives us the chance to connect with like-minded peers and share our volunteer, teaching, and college experiences.
Engaging with the Dominican Republic Community
According to the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), half of Dominican children under the age of 18 live in poverty, without the daily necessities of food, safe drinking water, and proper shelter. The studies conducted have also shown that only around 30% of children finish primary school and only 18% of that 30% complete secondary school. Access to proper English education is essential in order to break the cycle of poverty experienced by the youth of Monte Cristi, Dominican Republic. Like many other island countries in the Caribbean, a principal industry of the Dominican Republic is tourism where English is a necessary skill in order to obtain work. Additionally, an English education is almost always necessary to attend college, even for universities in the Dominican Republic. One major obstacle is the low quality of primary education that is available. The Dominican Republic has one of the worst primary school systems in the western hemisphere, including less than adequate English educational programs. Outreach360 works to supplement the educational deficit by providing year round access to quality English educational programs taught by volunteers.
Although this is an amazing experience, there is a financial burden on all the team members. Outreach360 has a $900 program fee for each volunteer, plus our plane tickets which are $600. Outreach360 uses the $900 to maintain their facility, which provides all the volunteers housing, food, and general necessities for our stay. Each member needs to fundraise $1500 to cover the entire cost of the trip. We apply for many different scholarships and plan out various fundraisers throughout the year. Although that does help reduce the cost, it is still difficult to cover the entire cost through those means alone. Your donation will truly help out our team members, and every dollar counts.