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This month, two talented young women have lent their voices to our newsletter as they share their Yspaniola stories. Each week, they work hard to ensure that Yspaniola's education and community programs are high-quality and engaging for the students and parents who participate in them. As a Yspaniola donor, you directly support their efforts, and we are grateful for your belief in our work! Now, over to Ruth and Anabel... 

Ruth, Reading Hour Assistant

Ruth reads with Michenailie

Meet Ruth! In April, Ruth started working with Yspaniola as an assistant in Reading Hour where she helps students improve their reading fluency, by reading with them and helping them when they don't know a word, its meaning, or pronunciation. Ruth has been a great addition to our reading hour, so we wanted to talk to her about her experience. Here were some of the highlights from our interview with Ruth:

Q: Tell me about your prior experience with Yspaniola and why you believe your current role is important?

A: In 2020, I mentored 4 students through Yspaniola, in a class called Group 6. Today, I am so proud because the students I mentored are some of the strongest in our Reading Hour program. I think this job is important because I am helping students learn how to read.

Q: Why are programs like Reading Hour important for children in Batey Libertad?

A: It is important because there are children in our community who do not have stable attendance at school. Some students cannot attend school because they do not have legal documents, like a Birth Certificate. Through Reading Hour, students can learn to read and write outside of school. Thankfully, nowadays more children go to school than many years ago. 

Q: What do you hope to do after you finish high school?

A: Go to college! Once I finish high school my goal is to start studying medicine. For as long as I can remember, this has been my dream and I know I will accomplish it. Also, if I have time, I would like to continue helping with Reading Hour because I enjoy helping the kids learn how to read. 

Q: Would you like to share a message with Yspaniola's donors?

A: Thanks to Yspaniola, I learned how to read fluently. So, I love Yspaniola. Thanks to Yspaniola there are so many people here who can read and write. Please continue to support Yspaniola!

"Time For My Child" Project Update

Dear Yspaniola Supporters,

My name is Anabel Cruz, and am Yspaniola's Operations and Partnerships Manager. I am from Mao, a small town near Batey Libertad. For me it is an honor to be part of the Yspaniola local team. Last August, I started in the role of Administrative Manager, then, I was promoted to my current position where I create new partnerships to benefit Yspaniola.
One of my favorite projects this year is called “Time For My Child,” (Tiempo Para Mi Hijo/a), a program that encouraged parents to be more involved in their student’s schoolwork. This project was led by Sofia, a Yspaniola University Scholar, along with an assistant from the community, Daniela Monetesis, and with the guidance of of our Operations and Development Fellow, Pilar Perez, who is a social worker. 

“Time for my Child” was delivered to 15 families. Parents were given activities to complete with their child based on what the student was learning in Yspaniola's classes. Yspaniola's facilitators visited each family at home with new materials that stimulated their children’s literacy, numeracy, and motor skills, every two weeks for four months.

All the parents had a cooperative attitude despite the limitations, for example, some lacked proper chairs and tables to sit with their children while doing the activities. We recently held a ceremony to celebrate the end of the project, where the mothers received a certificate for their participation in “Time for my Child.” Additionally, each parent received a gift of a coffee mug decorated with a photo of them and their child. 

The program offered significant professional and personal growth opportunities for our facilitators. Throughout the project, Sofia improved her organizational skills, interpersonal skills, and became more confident in herself as this was the first time she coordinated and led a project. Daniela increased her logistic, pedagogic, and project management skills. Today, Sofia and Daniela have the respect of the families and they can see the positive impact that their work has had on the community.

I would love to see a program similar to “Time for my Child” launched across the whole country, because nowadays parents often lack the time and resources to support their children’s academic growth.

I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Yspaniola's whole team, especially our generous donors. Thank you for supporting our work to help amazing children and youth of Batey Libertad build the skills they need to have bright futures through educational opportunities.
L-R: Sofia, Pilar and Daniela
Yspaniola's staff with the "Time for My Child" parent participants
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Yspaniola · 33 Seaverns Ave · Jamaica Plain, MA 02130 · USA