DREAM Project (DREAM)

The DREAM Project became a formally recognized U.S. Section 501(c)3 nonprofit in 2002, but the groundwork was laid in 1995 when a group of Dartmouth students came to the Dominican Republic for a semester to volunteer in two Cabarete public schools. With the help of local and foreign supporters, DREAM began building classrooms, libraries, computer labs and modern bathrooms in the local schools. Tourists began to bring down books and school supplies and contributed computers and funds to operate our then small programs. The word got out and increasing numbers of student volunteers began coming down for a year at a time. DREAM then moved on to building entire new schools, greatly expanding our reach. In 2006, DREAM Project because a legally constituted Dominican non-profit organization. DREAM has since grown into a major success run by a paid local staff of more than 40 Dominicans, four expatriates and numerous volunteers from all over the globe. Every year, DREAM helps more than 4,500 children receive a better education through its 15 programs in 15 different communities, affecting the lives of over 7,000 community members. DREAM’s programs focus on early childhood education, high quality primary education, holistic youth development, and arts, culture and community enrichment.

General Information

  • Legal Name: DREAM Project
  • Acronym: DREAM
  • Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
  • RNC/Tax ID No: 430041612
  • Geographic Areas: Espaillat, La Altagracia, María Trinidad Sánchez, Puerto Plata, Samaná, San Pedro de Macorís, Santiago, Santo Domingo
  • Theme Areas: Arts & Culture, Children and Youth, Economic Development, Education, Health, Human Rights
  • Quantity and Type of Beneficiaries:

    4,500 children annually
    7,000 community members

The Team

Management Team:

Administrative Staff:

Catherine DeLaura
Executive Director

Jonathan Wunderlich
Director of Development

Molly Hamm
Associate Director

Socorro Acevedo
DR Office Manager

Emily W. MacDowell
US Office Manager

Silvia Elizabeth Hernández Rodríguez
DREAM Center Coordinator

Yanlico Munesi
DPV Coordinator

Yann Reynaud
A Ganar Coordinator

Rebeca Martinez
Coordinator of Educational Professional Development

Julissa Tejeda
Community and Family Programs Coordinator

Patricia Buten
Accountant/Community Relations Coordinator

Rebecca Newell
Volunteer Coodinator

Amarilis Mena Gonzalez
Montessori Program Coordinator

Rebecca Leisher
Young Stars Coordinator

Juan Guivin
Music Program Coordinator

Board Members:

Honorary Chairpersons:

Junot Díaz
Pulitzer Prize-Winning Author

Celines Toribio
Actress and TV Personality

Executive Board of Directors:

Michel Zaleski
President and Chairman
Corporate and Real Estate Investor

Marie Josee Barshi
Treasurer
Cabarete Business Owner

William S. Friedman
Secretary
Real Estate Investor

Benjamin de Menil
Music Producer

Adriano Espaillat
NYS Senator

Spencer W. Kimball
Software Entrepreneur

Kevin P. Manning
Business Consultant

Scott Siegel
Financial Advisor

Karla Farach de Athanasopoulos
Entrepreneur

Carmen Collado
Chief Government & Community Relations Officer

Catherine DeLaura
Executive Director
M.Ed. Teacher’s College, Columbia University
MBA Columbia Business School

DREAM Board Members:

Robert Baca, Lawyer

Arol Buntzman, Ph.D., Educational Consultant

Damary Checo, Human Resources Executive

Darlene Cordero, Special Events Consultant

Catherine Cuello, Publicity and Marketing Consultant

S. Ted Foster, Consultant

Ruben Gonzalez, Entrepreneur – Cigars

Letty Gutierrez, Banco Central RD

Tim Hall, Honorary Canadian Consul, DR North Coast Consul

Donald Rabinovitch, Entrepreneur in Media and Health Care

Joana Vargas, Public Relations Executive

Michele Wucker, President, World Policy Institute

Contact Information

  • Telephone: (809) 571-0497 Dominican Republic; (607) 216-4697 United States
  • Email: info@dominicandream.org
  • Address:

    Dominican Address:
    Plaza Novus Mare, Local 11
    Segundo Piso, Carretera Cabarete
    Entrada de La Callejon de la Loma
    Cabarete, Puerto Plata
    República Dominicana

    US Mailing Address:
    916 Williams Rd, Unit 2
    Colchester, VT 05446

  • Website: http://www.dominicandream.org/
  • Social Networks: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube

Contact Person

  • Name: Jon Wunderlich
  • Position: Development Director
  • Telephone: (809) 571-0497
  • Email: jon@dominicandream.org

Operation

  • Type of Organization: Non-Profit Organization
  • International Affiliations:

    U.S. Section 501c3 Entity

  • Years of Operation: Since 1995
  • Number of Employees: 44
  • Number of Members:
  • Number of Volunteers:

    10

  • Sources of Funding:

    Private Donors
    Corporate Donors
    Executive Board Contributions
    Premio Brugal, 2014
    Grants from USAID and other international aid organizations

    “Thanks to our visionary Executive Board and select private donors, all operational costs are already covered, so 100% of any individual donation goes directly to DREAM programs. We were able to create this 100% model because of our highly efficient accounting and administrative expenses, which consistently average 20% or less.”

  • Products/Services:

    Montessori Programs
    After-School Academic and Cultural Enrichment Programs
    Summer Camps and Schools
    Teacher Training Programs
    Computer Lab Access and Classes
    Book: Un Leon en Cabarete

  • Total Income: FY 2013-14 total just cash – Total Income: US$793,724; FY2013-14 Total including Depreciation, In Kind and Pro bono values -Total Income: US$1,360,835
  • Total Expenses: FY 2013-14 total just cash – Total Expenses: US$831,006; FY2013-14 total Including Depreciation, In Kind and Pro bono values – Total Expenses: US$1,200,834

Mission/Vision

Philosophy and Guiding Principles:

Involving the DREAM communities in their schools and our DREAM volunteers in the communities is essential to ensuring a sustainable, lasting impact. We build and run schools together with communities; we establish quality educational programs, and we stay and work with the communities until they are willing and able to do it on their own. This is what sets us apart from other organizations.

We give the children in our schools dignity because we believe in them and we aspire to give them the same opportunities as our own children. We contribute to a more peaceful world by bringing together different cultures and nationalities. We offer the hope of a better quality of life for present and future generations of Dominican children by greatly improving their educational opportunities.

Primary Programs and Projects

• EARLY CHILDHOOD PROGRAMS:

Montessori: The DREAM Project has established five early childhood education sites in the Dominican Republic: DREAM Center Montessori Program, Caraballo Montessori Program, Abreu Montessori Program, La Libertad Montessori Program, and Esperanza Montessori Program in Barrio Blanco. Certified Montessori teachers facilitate a safe learning environment in which students ages 3-7 years old can grow and develop at their own pace, developing self-confidence and discipline as they explore the world around them. Children are also provided with a healthy snack to fulfill their nutritional needs during the day.

Parent Education. Parent education is a core feature of DREAM’s Montessori Early Childhood Education and Young Stars At-Risk Youth Programs. Regular workshops and special events keep parents connected with the school. DREAM also has recently developed a School for Parents, targeting mothers of two year olds who will eventually enroll in its early childhood education programs. Home visits by trained professionals ensure that parents are able to implement successfully at home what they learned in the program.

• HIGH QUALITY PRIMARY EDUCATION.

The Young Stars At-Risk Youth Program. This is an extracurricular program that supports the academic growth and personal development of 1st – 8th grade students from local public schools. Young Stars places a strong emphasis on literacy and developing a culture of reading, using age-appropriate leveled books, guided reading, and balanced literacy methodology to increase reading fluency and comprehension. In addition, students have extensive opportunities to develop their personal interests through special projects, educational workshops, field trips, cultural events, and community service.

Summer Schools and Camps. The four-week, half-day program emphasizes literacy and math skills development and promotes critical thinking. In addition to academic classes, students participate in a variety of enrichment activities including art, sports, swimming, music, and life skills. The summer school and camp is also designed as an intensive teacher training experience for local public school teachers.

Public Libraries and Mobile Library. DREAM’s public libraries are built directly into DREAM education centers or public schools, serving students, families, and community members with a vast selection of children’s books and young adult literature. In communities without DREAM public libraries, DREAM brings the books directly to public school teachers and students with an innovative Mobile Library.

Teacher Training and Professional Development. DREAM’s teacher training programs target public school teachers, future teachers studying education, and current teachers in DREAM programs. In Service Professional Development is offered by DREAM staff throughout the academic year who work with current public school teachers at local schools. The Pre-Service Teacher Training (FUTUROS) program recruits education students from local universities to serve as student teachers for one semester in the Young Stars program. The Intensive Professional Development (Summer Camp) Program offers teachers who will be staffing one of DREAM Projects summer camps or schools a week-long orientation, followed by weekly workshops, lesson planning support, and regular feedback through classroom observations and one-on-one meetings.

• HOLISTIC YOUTH DEVELOPMENT:

Deportes Para La Vida (Sports for Life). As part of the international Grassroot Soccer network, Deportes Para La Vida[/i] focuses on changing the knowledge, attitudes, and practices of youth in order to minimize the spread of HIV/AIDS and encourage healthy decision-making.

A Ganar[/i]. A Ganar is a youth workforce development program designed to help individuals (aged 17-24) gain access to good jobs and develop the ability to earn a living wage. Led by Partners of the Americas and financed by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), and the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF), A Ganar has been implemented in 16 countries across Latin America and the Caribbean. The program utilizes soccer and other team sports to provide youth with the training, support, and skills needed to secure a job and/or re-enter the formal education system.

LUCEROS Documentation and Human Rights Program[/i]. Upon enrollment in any DREAM program, children and youth without birth certificates automatically become participants in the LUCEROS (Luchando por Derechos Humanos) program. Dedicated staff works with families to collect necessary paperwork, providing step-by-step guidance through the process of declaring their child. In addition to resolving cases, DREAM focuses on prevention by facilitating educational workshops about the importance of birth certificates and the need to declare children on-time. DREAM also advocates protecting the right to an identity and a nationality for Dominican children of Haitian descent, whose access to documentation is particularly susceptible to discriminatory practices.

• ARTS, CULTURE AND COMMUNITY:

Music Education Program. This professional music program now exposes 350 youth ages 3-18 to a structured music curriculum that complements DREAM’s high quality early childhood and primary education programs. Individual direct instruction, instrumentation practice, group classes, and public performances are highlights of the DREAM Music Education Program.

Computer Literacy Program. In 2004, The DREAM Project opened the first computer lab in the region with 24-hour Internet and electricity at Puerto Cabarete Public School. DREAM subsequently opened two more labs: the first in the CADIN School and the second in the newly built DREAM Center. The state-of-the-art computer lab in the DREAM Center is used to introduce children and youth of all ages to information technology. The lab is also open to community members throughout the week, providing necessary access for homework assignments, job searches, and general communication.

Community English Program. DREAM has converted local demand into a successful English program that is free to all community members. In addition to community English courses (which serve adolescents and adults), intensive English courses are also a key part of our youth workforce development program, A Ganar. Primary school participants in our Young Stars At-Risk Youth Program also benefit from English language instruction, gaining exposure to a new language at a young age.

Volunteer Program. International and local volunteers make meaningful contributions to DREAM’s communities on a daily basis, and DREAM provides the follow-up to ensure that these contributions last over the long-term. All volunteers engage in community projects side by side with local community members, staff, and students. Volunteers dedicate anywhere from a few hours to a full year of service, contributing to established DREAM projects or fulfilling current needs based on their skills, abilities, and interests.

Expert Comments

We ask each of our experts to recommend five entities in their area(s) of expertise which have had a positive impact. Below please find comments from our experts who have recommended this entity.

  • They have had an impact on the families and children in the community.
  • This organization is located in an area in which there are many needs and in which there are few programs that bring such a holistic approach to devel . . .opment in the region.

More Expert Comments

  • Among their strengths is the use of the Montessori system, a different, interesting approach among pre-schools, and the great support that internation . . .al volunteers bring who come to work and train the staff in the schools.
  • They have established International agreements that have allowed them to mobilize funds in an effective manner at the local and International level.
    T . . .hey have excellent relations with the public sector.
    They receive volunteers from different organizations that contribute to the program offerings of the institution.

More Expert Comments

  • They need to try harder to project the Dominican face of the organization because it could be perceived as a foreign project.
  • It would be wonderful for the community if the institution could expand its early education programs to primary education. Similarly to the opening . . .of special education programs.

More Expert Comments in this Area for this Entity