Batey Libertad Learning Center
Yspaniola teaches Spanish language literacy to students ages 4 to 14 in Batey Libertad. With one Director of Community Education Programs, seven full and part-time teachers, and four teaching assistants from the batey, our Learning Center serves over 115 children and young adults from the community. Our curriculum helps students in the batey develop skills not acquired in public school, where the quality of instruction is inadequate and students often complete primary school unable to read at the most basic level.
In addition to its academic year-long classes, the Learning Center houses a community library with books in English and Spanish, as well as a Food Program, which provides nutritious snacks to students prior to class to improve classroom focus and incentivize attendance.
Youth Summer Camp
Yspaniola facilitates a two to three week summer camp for youth in Batey Libertad. On average, we enroll over 100 children and employ 30 local camp counselors and activity leaders, in addition to 10 international volunteers. Activities include arts instruction, health activities, interactive games and sports, science instruction, music and theatre programs. Our Youth Summer Camp is a great way for younger members of the community to remain active and engaged over the summer months, as well as for older youth to develop positive leadership skills.
University Scholarship Program
Empowerment means education. In 2010, we launched the University Scholarship Program, an effort to make higher education accessible to students from Dominican bateyes, and to empower them to become leaders in their communities. Scholars are chosen by an impartial selection committee of students and professionals in Santiago, the second-largest city in the country. After a rigorous application and interview process, scholars are selected based on academic merit, financial need, leadership potential, and critical reflection on problems facing the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and bateyes. All scholars receive generous stipends, significant academic support, and individualized tutoring, allowing them to focus on their studies and succeed in their professional development.
Since 2005, Yspaniola has been sponsoring student trips to Batey Libertad and the Dominican Republic. Guided by experienced Yspaniola staff, undergraduate students tour the country, explore the Haitian-Dominican border, meet with human rights activists, live with host families in the batey, and support our work through service projects. Our service-learning trips are centered around education and solidarity: we aim to show students from the United States and Mexico how intricately connected their lives are to people seemingly a world away. We support up to 6 trips each year.
Community Projects and Outreach Efforts
In Batey Libertad, Yspaniola is engaged in a number of community projects that complement our educational efforts. We have capitalized on our strong ties to the community in order to help residents improve living standards, acquire legal status in the Dominican Republic, and voice their concerns to local government. We are working every day to ensure that marginalized communities across the Dominican Republic have a voice in the important debates that affect their lives.