Adelante

Ana Jimenez, Outreach360 graduate and future teacher!

My name is Ana. I am 20 years old.
When I was 7 or 8 years old, I started to attend Outreach360’s neighborhood camps. I remember how fun it was to be there, singing songs and playing. When I was 9 years old, I started the English program. I graduated in 2012 after four years of studying.

Right now I am an Adelante + Serve/Study Student at Outreach360. I teach in our Learning Center, I help volunteers teach, and I am studying to go to university. I am also the Program Director for our Spanish literacy program, which has 74 new students. As Program Director, I help to improve the Spanish reading and writing of our new students before they enter the English program.

Outreach360 for me is a place where I see hope and self-improvement. It is a place for opportunities and breaking barriers. I remember participating in a spelling bee when I was in my third year in the Outreach360 program. I was so nervous and I did not think I could win. But in the end, the unexpected happened, and I won second place! That was one of the happiest moments in my whole life.

I want to be a teacher because I like to help others. At Outreach360, I learned the value of education, helping the students to overcome their fears and believe in themselves, and helping them achieve their dreams. All of this has inspired me to make the most important decision of my life, to become a teacher. I want to be a language or history teacher because I love to learn new languages to connect with other countries and I love to see what happened in the past to make the present right now. History is important to know. 

I hope to see the students become leaders like me. I want to see them reach their goals. I want to see them happy! Outreach360 is just the beginning for me and our students as well.

To sponsor Ana and help cover the costs of her tuition, books, etc. contact us at donor@outreach360.org
To learn more about our volunteer program in the Dominican Republic, visit, www.outreach360.org/dominican-republic/

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An Interview with Adelante Plus Student Aidil

Aidil Acosta (21) is an Adelante Plus student with Outreach360. She is currently studying medicine at a university in the capital of the Dominican Republic, Santo Domingo, on her way to becoming a doctor. During her breaks from school, Aidil returns to her hometown, Monte Cristi, to teach English and Spanish literacy to Outreach360 students in the Learning Center where she spent much of her own childhood! As a Serve-Study student, Aidil receives an Outreach360 sponsorship to cover the costs of her schooling.

Since I was around 8 years old I was participating in Outreach360 camps, but officially I started at the Learning Center when I was 12. I graduated from the Learning Center in 2012 and now I am studying medicine at the  Autonomous University of Santo Domingo (UASD). 

What does Outreach360 mean to you? 
Outreach360 means hope to me, it means future and an open door to limitless opportunities.

Why is education important? 
For me, education is important because it gives us knowledge of the world around us and changes it into something even better. It develops in us a perspective of looking at life. It helps us build opinions and have points of view on things in life. It makes us capable enough to understand the world and its habitats and respect everything and everyone in a better way.

How do you see Outreach360 volunteers making an impact in Monte Cristi? 
The work done by the volunteers throughout the years has impacted my life. From teaching me English and showing me, always with a smile and a good attitude, that there is so much more than what I could see in this small city, that there was so much more out there that I could see and experience, and that my dreams were never too big, because everything is possible for those who believe and work hard to pursue their dreams. I believe this kind of impact is what the volunteers are having with all of the kids they come in contact with and not only them but also their families.

What is your favorite memory growing up with Outreach360? 
My favorite memory growing up with Outreach360 is getting to meet so many wonderful people (the volunteers) from different places and that I had the opportunity at such a young age to make many friends from other parts of the world that I never even knew about.

What is your dream for your future?
My dream is to become a doctor and help my people and change people’s lives by giving back with what grace I have received: love and service. 

Is service important to you? Service is very important to me because service teaches one to be selfless. An act of service allows a person to think first about the needs of others and then to consider how he or she may be of help. Service is the selfless act of giving others what they could not provide for themselves. The act has the potential to transform not only others but also the person who performs the service.

Click here for a video highlighting more of Aidil’s and, her brother, Caleb’s story with Outreach360.

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Learning to Serve in the Dominican Republic

Outreach360 Adelante Plus Volunteer Guest Writer: Caleb Acosta

Caleb Acosta teaches Outreach360 students in the Dominican Republic Learning Center located in Monte Cristi.

My name is Caleb Acosta, I’m from the Dominican Republic, I’m 17 years old. I grew up in a humble family, composed of five members: my dad’s name is Miguel Acosta, my mom’s name is Norma Marichal, my brother’s name is Joshua Acosta, and my sister’s name is Aidil Acosta. I want to share my Outreach360 story and how I came to be where I am today.

In 2008, I was a student at Escuela Basica John F. Kennedy in Monte Cristi. I was in third grade at this time. One day, when I was sitting in my chair watching by the window, I could see Americans in this moment. It was a group of Outreach360 volunteers inviting students to the summer camp, but I wasn’t invited to the camp because I was too young for it. I was sad about not being able to go, but at the same time, I was happy because my brother and my sister were able to go the camp. They told me everything they did in the camp and everything they learned as well. I was excited about the camp and that became part of my dream. I lived as if I had attended the camp.

Caleb smiles with his sister, Aidil Acosta, and an Outreach360 volunteer, Ryan, after teaching Learning Center students in the Dominican Republic.

In 2009, I became the right age to start the classes in Outreach360. I started my classes with my sister Aidil, and the first year was such a great year; however, the next year was different. I just wanted to play all the time with my friends, and I wasn’t enjoying the classes. It was like being a new Caleb, but that is not the only sad story. It’s good to remember that even negative things can be used; we can take them as an example and with them make a positive change that will help us to mark the path of our lives.

I remember one day in my English class that the teacher asked me, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” For the first time, I didn’t know what I wanted to be. I was hearing all my friends saying, ‘lawyer, engineer, architect, and doctor,’  but I didn’t say anything this day and that question was circling in my head. The next day of class the teacher was talking about the verb ‘to be’, but I didn’t understand what the teacher was saying. Then she showed me a beautiful smile and she taught me one more time, and I just learned because of this smile. I learned from the love of her actions. There will be days where you will ask yourself:

What do I want to be remembered for?

What can I do for others to make a world a better place?

What is my purpose on this earth?

Caleb Acosta (left) takes a photograph with Peter, an Outreach360 Dominican Republic Learning Center student, during an English immersion camp.

Some of us probably think that our purpose is to get a lot of money, buy a big house or buy an expensive car, or get the latest cell phone of the year. Let me tell you that is not our true purpose on this earth, it is not where we’re going to find our sense of completion. The effect you have on others is the most valuable currency there is. When you work towards something greater than yourself, you find meaning and you find purpose. When you keep people at the center of what you do, it can have an enormous impact. Deep inside of us lives a hero who wants to do something great with their life, who wants to inspire other people, and who wants to change the world. We need to use our minds, our hands, and our hearts to build something bigger than ourselves.

If you are not making someone else’s life better, then you’re wasting your time. When your life means something to somebody other than you, then you have a purpose. We need to live in service to humanity. And from the teacher’s smile, I learned all of these things and I learned the answer to the question too. What do I want to be? I want to be in service to my family, to my church, to my city, to my country, and to the world. I think that is the purest form of joy.

Caleb poses with his father, Miguel Acosta, at his 2017 high school graduation from the Colegio San Jose of Monte Cristi as the Valedictorian.

I graduated in 2012 from my Outreach360 English class, Those three years were the best years for me because I learned a new language. That wouldn’t have been possible if all the volunteers weren’t here to teach us this new language that will open the door for new opportunities for a better life. After my graduation, I become an Adelante Volunteer. As an Adelante, I serve in the program volunteering at the Learning Center. I have the opportunity to practice my English with the American and Canadian volunteers. I was an Adelante Volunteer for six years.

In 2017, I graduated from my High School the Colegio San Jose of Montecristi as the Valedictorian. I was also accepted by Outreach360 to be an Adelante Plus Volunteer. I’m going to Dental School this fall, and right now I’m preparing by studying to take the GED and TOEFL test. In addition to this, I’m teaching English in the Learning Center, and that is a dream come true for me. I can see how the volunteers’ work is transforming the world where every person lives a life of choice, having the vision to continue to grow, and Release the Hero Within.

Learn more about Outreach360 here: www.outreach360.org.

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Reflections from an Outreach360 Adelante Volunteer…

​During my time with this program I have been experiencing the real meaning of sacrifice, service, and what it really takes to release the hero within.
The impact that every single volunteer who comes to Montecristi has in each student is amazing. The kids can feel the energy that their teachers bring to teach each class. For me it’s incredible to see how their knowledge increases which inspires me to keep volunteering here and loving it more every day.
I’m pretty sure that there is nothing more beautiful than someone who goes out of their way to make life beautiful for others and that’s what OUTREACH 360 is doing in the lives of the children and the whole community.
The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something.  Don’t wait for good things to happen to you. If you go out and make some good things happen, you will fill the world with hope, you will fill yourself with hope.
Gordon B. Hinckley once said: ” The best antidote I know for worry is work. The best cure for weariness is the challenge of helping someone who is even more tired. One of the great ironies of life is this: he or she who serves almost always benefits more than he or she who is served.”
Definitely my experience as an Adelante Volunteer has changed my life.
Aidil Acosta
(Adelante Volunteer)

Note: Aidil graduated from our English program in 2012 and began serving as an Adelante volunteer in 2013. Adelantes are graduates of our English program who volunteer at our Learning Centers after school and during their school breaks. Since 2013, Aidil has served more than 380 hours in our Learning Centers. As an Adelante she has served in many different leadership roles, including as a Spanish literacy teacher, co-English teacher, and co-camp director. Aidil is an incredible role model for our students and volunteers. She is very passionate about service and making a difference in her own community. Aidil is currently a freshman studying pre-medicine in Santo Domingo. During her breaks, she returns to Monte Cristi to volunteer with Outreach360. She aspires to one day use her medical degree to make a difference and serve under-resourced communities.

Sarah Edwards
Outreach360 Country Director
Dominican Republic

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