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DREAM-ing in the Dominican Republic

Lucy Friedman

Lucy Friedman is president of ExpandED Schools.

The Dominican Republic Education and Mentoring (DREAM) is helping more than 7,000 children, youth and young adults receive a better education through its 14 programs in 27 different communities.  

Before graduate school, I spent two years in the Dominican Republic serving in the Peace Corps. The DR has held a special place in my heart since then, and for the past 10 years or so, I have been involved with the DREAM Project.

As its name suggests, (DREAM stands for Dominican Republic Education and Mentoring), the organization works to improve the future of children in the Dominican Republic, and it focuses on early childhood education, out-of-school time learning, building libraries and fostering life skills for teens. (My best contribution has been connecting a former principal from one of our schools here in NYC to DREAM when she told me she was moving to the DR. She is now its executive director.)

I recently spent time in the Dominican Republic visiting several DREAM sites. The education system throughout the country is undergoing a major shift in moving from half-day schooling (2.5 hours) to a full day. This presents an interesting challenge to DREAM, which will refashion itself from before- and after-school programming to making more of an impact on the school day itself.

Touring schools is always inspiring. (And visiting the Caribbean is a welcome break from winter!) Whether you’re a student or a guest, there’s always something to be learned when you step into a classroom.





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