Human Services

Project Esperanza

  • Winchester, VA
  • www.EsperanzaMeansHope.org

Mission Statement

Our mission is to create positive change in the city of Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic and in the New River Valley of Virginia. We do this by uniting the two communities in mutual support while providing innovative educational,  social aid, and community development efforts in both.

Main Programs

  1. Searching for Life Boys' Home & School
  2. Grassroots Schools
  3. Supesta Soccer Team

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Service Areas

Self-reported

International

We work to create sister communities between two communities.

1. Blacksburg, Virginia 24060

2. Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic

ruling year

2007

Principal Officer since 2006

Self-reported

Caitlin McHale

Keywords

Self-reported

charity, service, education, social work, Dominican Republic, Haiti, volunteer, grassroots, childcare, Puerto Plata, community development, social aid, international development

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EIN

11-3776448

Also Known As

P.E.

Contact

Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Residential, Custodial Care (Group Home) (P70)

Educational Services and Schools - Other (B90)

International Migration, Refugee Issues (Q71)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Programs + Results

How does this organization make a difference?

Overview

Self-reported by organization

In 2010, Project Esperanza housed and educated 14 Haitian immigrant boys in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic. We ran a soccer team during a 7 month season that practiced 3 days a week and competed once a week. 40 boys participated with 25 participating on a consistent basis. We ran two schools for Haitian immigrant children and adults totaling 130 students and employing 10 teachers and directors.
Four long term volunteers/interns from the US and Europe served and gained experience for 2 to 3 months each. These volunteers executed short term projects in the areas of education, social aid, and community development. 30 short term volunteers served and gained experience for 5 to 10 days each. We made headway in the creation of small buisnesses that will generate funds in order to move our programs toward financial sustainability.
We took two trips to Port-au-Prince and Cap Haitien and gained valuable insight and relationships through that. Additionally, we formed new partnerhips and relationships with other organizations serving in the same areas as us. The Project Esperanza student organization at Virginia Tech held several fundraisers and increased its membershiwe hope to build on all of these programs. On top of maintaining the aforementioned programs and increasing their impact, we plan to begin a scholarship program that will enable low class Dominican children who attend poor quality public schools and have little opportunity of escaping poverty to attend private schools that will set them on a different track. We plan to finish preparing and launch a few small businesses that will begin generating funds and creating funds here in Puerto Plata.
 
We also hope to work out some insurance issues that have kept our learning center in a New River Valley mobile home park from being able to function, which would get that up and running again and allow for more volunteer involvement among Virginia Tech students and community members. Four short term volunteer trips are already planned for 2011 and we have received a few requests from people hoping to volunteer/intern on a longer term.

Programs

Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Program 1

Searching for Life Boys' Home & School

This is a program for Haitian refugee boys who have left their country in order to search for life in the Dominican Republic, their neighboring country. Before entering the home, some live as servants in homes of other Haitian immigrants while others live on their own with friends and sometimes family members. This population is extremely vulnerable as they walk the streets facing a different language, different culture, and discrimination, while trying to earn a living shining shoes or street vending. Therefore, we have created a program that attempts to help these boys find what they came searching for: life. Our program consists of group homes each housing four or five boys, vocational and artisan classes, attempted job placement, and a night school.

Category

Human Services

Population(s) Served

Male Children and Youth (infants - 19 years)

Budget

$8,200.00

Program 2

Grassroots Schools

Grassroots schools is the term Project Esperanza uses for schools the organization runs in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic in order to educate Haitian immigrant children living in the Dominican Republic. Because the Dominican Republic shares the island of Hispañola with Haiti and, while still considered a developing country itself, is a wealthier country than Haiti with more work opportunities, there is a very high rate of both legal and illegal Haitian immigration. Haitians that immigrate to the Dominican Republic face many challenges including learning Spanish and facing discrimination from their neighboring country. While some do integrate their children into Dominican public schools, an act that increases as a family spends more time in the country, many Haitian immigrant children remain without schooling.
 
Haitian churches and groups in communities with high populations of Haitian immigrants are recognizing this problem and have been attempting to begin schools in their churches. This is not easy as funding is hard to come by and teachers themselves face a difficult situation already, some having not yet achieved their high school diploma. However, we continue to find those that are making the necessary sacrifices to educate children in their communities. Currently, all grassroots schools provide education at the pre-school and elementary level.

Category

Education

Population(s) Served

Immigrants/Newcomers/Refugees

Poor/Economically Disadvantaged, Indigent, General

Ethnic/Racial Minorities -- Other Specified Group

Budget

$22,800.00

Program 3

Supesta Soccer Team

This program is part of our program for Haitian boys who have come to Puerto Plata in search of life and face many difficulties as they shine shoes or street vend. The team was begun by members of our program in 2007. The team practices three times a week and competes one day a week seven months out of the year. An average of 20 boys attend each practice.

Category

Youth Development

Population(s) Served

Immigrants/Newcomers/Refugees

Male Children and Youth (infants - 19 years)

Poor/Economically Disadvantaged, Indigent, General

Budget

$2,200.00

Service Areas

Self-reported

International

We work to create sister communities between two communities.

1. Blacksburg, Virginia 24060

2. Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic

Funding Needs

Funding is needed in order to successfully cover expenses for the three programs outlined. We currently fall short and have fallen short since the economic decline in 2009.

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Financials

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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Project Esperanza

Leadership

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Principal Officer

Caitlin McHale

BIO

Caitlin McHale is a 2006 Virginia Tech graduate with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Interdisciplinary Studies:Leadership and Social Change. She has an ability to take calculated risks in order to reach the vision and goals she has set for the organization. She has a level-headed and intelligent way of dealing with challenges, excellent relational and communication skills (fluency in both Haitian Creole and Spanish), strong and confident leadership, the ability to encourage and mobilize people, and a willingness as director to care for the inviduals in her project.

STATEMENT FROM THE Principal Officer

"Project Esperanza has an extremely strong base as we are a group of primarily Haitians and Americans working together to create positive change with very few resources. Our intentions are pure and proven as everyone in a position of leadership has made significant sacrifice to further the cause we work toward. The multicultural leadership our organization is composed of has been challenging to develop as our backgrounds are so different, but the insight we have obtained is quite impactful. The beneficiaries of our programs are those truly in the most need and the growth they undergo in overcoming the oppression they have been born into takes place at a healthy pace that forms them into strong and productive members of society, equipped to give back to the communities they are from. Additionally, we provide thorough attention to the beneficiaries of our program, assuring that they fully develop to the necessary level before being placed in a position of leadershibut we feel confident that the change our beneficiaries have undergone is genuine and has created and will continue to create positive change that we cannot contain, nor do we want to. I assure you that your investment in Project Esperanza is highly appreciated and truly worthwhile. Thank you and may God bless you."

Governance

BOARD CHAIR

Kristin Preve

Project Esperanza

Term: May 2010 - May 2011

BOARD LEADERSHIP PRACTICES

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BOARD ORIENTATION & EDUCATION

Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

CEO OVERSIGHT

Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

ETHICS & TRANSPARENCY

Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

BOARD COMPOSITION

Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

BOARD PERFORMANCE

Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?