WHO IS QUALIFIED TO PARTICIPATE?
A qualified volunteer must be able to commit to a five-week summer program and be at least 18 years old at the start of camp. A working knowledge of Spanish is also required (must be able to effectively communicate with children and teachers in Spanish). All classes are taught in Spanish.
HOW DO I APPLY?
Click Here to Apply Online. Include two letters of recommendation with your online application, or send separately to:
The DREAM Project
13 Winter Lane
Milton, VT 05468
Please note: applications will NOT be reviewed unless competed in full.
WHY IS THERE AN APPLICATION FEE?
The $40 application fee helps cover the administrative costs of the application process. We need to charge a fee to support the solicitation, recruitment and review process for our volunteer program.
CAN I APPLY FROM OUTSIDE THE US?
HOW MUCH IS THE VOLUNTEER FEE? WHAT DOES IT COVER?
The cost is $1,950 per volunteer, which covers one week of training, accommodations, 3 meals a day during the work week (Sunday dinner though Friday lunch), drinking water, pick up/drop off from the airport in Puerto Plata (up to 48 hours before the start of camp and 48 hours after the end of camp), oversight, field trip fees, transportation, and other program costs. The fee essentially covers your expenses for the 5-week stay except for weekend meals and laundry. It also does not cover airfare, personal spending money or international health insurance (see IMGlobal.com for plans).
CAN VOLUNTEERS RECEIVE A REDUCED FEE?
We do not offer fellowships to new summer camp volunteers. However, we do encourage you to seek outside donors, grants, and fellowships to sponsor your work. Past volunteers have sent letters to extended family and friends asking for a donation to DREAM in their name to help cover their volunteer fee. For more information on fundraising, visit our Volunteer Resource Guide. Experienced, certified teachers can receive a reduced or waived fee. Returning volunteers receive a reduced fee.
ARE MEALS OR HOUSING PROVIDED FOR THE VOLUNTEERS?
For volunteers who pay the program fee, accommodations are provided along with meals from Sunday evening to Friday lunch (weekend meals are on your own). The DREAM Project will make housing arrangements. We typically rent out an entire hotel for all of our volunteers to live together. The hotel provides the evening and morning meals and lunch is provided at camp. You will most likely have 1-2 roommates and each room contains a small kitchen and bathroom. We accept roommate requests for those who know others in the program.
ARE HOME-STAY PLACEMENTS AVAILABLE?
Home-stays are not available to our summer camp volunteers. Since this is only a five-week program, and it is important for volunteers to be housed together, home-stays are not available for this session.
I HAVE HOUSING IN THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, AND CAN PROVIDE MY OWN MEALS. DO I STILL HAVE TO PAY THE VOLUNTEER FEE?
If you are technically a local volunteer, your fee will be reduced. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. There will still be a fee to help cover oversight, transportation, field trips, lunch at camp, and other costs. The camp is free for the children who attend, so funds also help cover their expenses.
IS THERE A MINIMUM OR MAXIMUM STAY?
You must be able to commit to the entire five weeks. The first week is orientation week, and is absolutely required for all volunteers who have not worked with DREAM in the past, and camp runs for the following four weeks. Volunteers can opt to come earlier or stay longer to help with camp set up or clean up, but housing will not be covered past the official dates of the program (meaning you will have to pay for additional nights at the hotel that the fee does not cover).
DO VOLUNTEERS HAVE TO SPEAK SPANISH?
Yes. You must be able to effectively communicate in Spanish with students, staff and community members. Spanish proficiency will be used to determine available placements. The entire program is run in Spanish, so we encourage you to brush up before arrival. Programs such as Rosetta Stone or LingQ can be useful.
HOW CAN I GET IN CONTACT WITH A PAST VOLUNTEER?
Please contact email@example.com for specific contact information on past summer camp volunteers.
WHAT AIRPORT SHOULD I FLY INTO AND WHAT AIRLINES FLY THERE?
The closest airport is the Puerto Plata International Airport (airport code POP), which is about a twenty-minute drive from Cabarete. DREAM arranges airport pickups and drop-offs from the Puerto Plata International Airport only. Delta, JetBlue, and United airlines offer routes from the U.S. to Puerto Plata. Cheaper fares may sometimes be found flying into Santiago or Santo Domingo, but volunteers are reminded to factor in the cost of cab fare to Cabarete, which averages around $100 from Santiago and $150 from Santo Domingo. Comfortable public transportation with large bus companies (Caribe Tours and Metro) can also be taken from Santiago and Santo Domingo to Sosua for less than USD $8 one way. A taxi from Sosua to Cabarete is around USD $15. Use Kayak.com to check multiple travel sites at once.
CAN I BUY A ONE-WAY TICKET?
Not unless you have a visa. The law of the Dominican Republic, which is now strictly being enforced, states that all visitors (non-DR citizens) who do not have visas must have a return ticket. Please check with your airlines when booking, because there are options to purchase open-ended tickets or buy returnable fares if you are unsure of your departure date.
IS THE COMMUNITY RECEPTIVE TO VOLUNTEERS?
Yes. DREAM has worked to establish trust within our communities and schools over the past decade and each year the enthusiasm grows greater for the DREAM summer camp. In fact if anything, our program is too popular, with waiting lists of over 100 children. The children and communities welcome DREAM volunteers and eagerly await the beginning of camp.
WHO WILL I BE WORKING WITH?
The summer camp is comprised of an international staff with varying backgrounds. Volunteers also work side by side with Dominican teachers, parents and community members to exchange ideas and teaching methods. The DREAM summer camp is truly a cross-cultural exchange and the volunteers are all encouraged to spend time forming ties within the community. One of the goals of the DREAM Summer Camp is to offer local teachers from DREAM-sponsored public schools access to quality professional development. We actively seek trained professionals with at least three years of teaching experience and fluency in Spanish to volunteer this summer as professional development coaches in the content areas of math and literacy.
WHAT WILL THE WORK SCHEDULE BE LIKE?
Volunteers should be at camp Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The day consists of rotations to different classes with a break for lunch, which is eaten with all staff and volunteers. Field trips are held on different days throughout the week, and may mean the volunteers will have to arrive earlier or stay later, depending on the trip. Volunteers have the weekends free to explore the countryside, but should let a director or staff member know where they will be traveling. Volunteers must be back in time for Sunday night dinner, which usually includes important camp updates and notes. Volunteers are not allowed to take time off during the weekday, as there are only four weeks of camp and every day is important for the children. Sick days are permitted.
ARE THERE MEDICAL FACILITIES NEAR BY?
Cabarete has a 24-hour medical and dental clinic in town called Servi-Med. Servi-Med is run by a multilingual staff that can handle most minor illnesses and injuries; however, the facilities are limited. There is a well-run private hospital (Centro Medico Bournigal) 40 minutes away in Puerto Plata and a large clinic (Centro Medico Cabarete) 15 minutes away in Sosua.
WHAT SHOTS DO I NEED?
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, there are no required vaccinations for entry into the Dominican Republic. The CDC does recommend Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, and typhoid vaccinations, as well as current routine vaccinations (TPD, MMR, polio, etc., most of which are generally up to date if you have attended a public school in the US in the last 10 years). There is a risk for malaria, chikungunya, zika and dengue fever in rural areas of the Dominican Republic, especially near the border of Haiti. The risk is low in more developed cities and towns, including Cabarete, although incidents of chikungunya and dengue fever have been reported in the area recently. Please check with your local doctor about taking malaria medication. DREAM encourages volunteers to follow the advice of their personal physician.
DO I NEED INTERNATIONAL HEALTH INSURANCE?
All volunteers should be insured and will be required to sign paperwork stating they have medical insurance. If your plan will not cover you in the Dominican Republic, short-term international health insurance can be purchased at online. DREAM recommends the plans at IMGlobal.com or Insurance Services of America.
DO I NEED TO GET A VISA?
The Tourist Card is an entry fee charged by the Dominican Republic for those who visit the country for tourism purposes. It can be obtained directly upon arrival in the airport for $10 USD or Euros with presentation of a valid passport. The tourist card is valid for a stay of 30 days in the country. Any visitor who has stayed in the country longer than 30 days (including 31 days) must pay the departure tax at the airport when they leave the country. Your passport will be reviewed by customs officials according to last entry into the country, you will be directed to a separate line to pay the appropriate taxes based on length of overstay, and should receive a receipt for your payment. The current overstay fees in 2015 are as follows. Note that the timeframe below indicates how many days and months one has stayed past the allowed 30 days.
1 day to 3 months – 2,500 pesos
3 to 9 months – 4,000 pesos
9 months to 1 year – 5,000 pesos
1 to 1.5 years – 6,500 pesos
1.5 to 2 years – 8,000 pesos
2 to 2.5 years – 9,500 pesos
2.5 to 3 years – 11,000 pesos
3 to 4 years – 16,000 pesos
4 to 5 years – 20,000 pesos
After 5 years and 11 months, the visitor must pay 11,000 pesos for each additional year in the country. The conversion rate in USD is calculated using the current daily rate from the Banco del Reservas. Summer camp volunteers typically stay a total of 5 weeks in the Dominican Republic, and thus will need to be prepared to pay 2,500 pesos (approximately $50 USD) upon departure. Payment of the departure tax is the responsibility of the volunteer and is not covered by DREAM Project. Volunteers should note that these costs are significantly less than the costs for processing a visa for short-term stays in most countries. For more information about visas in the Dominican Republic, please visit the following website: http://www.domrep.org/visa.html.