Outreach360 Announces New Virtual English Academy
July 1, 2021
Outreach360 President/Virtual Impact Program Director
Outreach360 Board Chair
"There are so many highlights to this virtual internship. Not only did I get to meet great people to teach with, I also got to meet so many students. Watching the students work through hard sentences or really think to figure out a question is amazing. My teaching partners and I always smile and laugh when the students all unmute at once and start speaking all together because they are so excited to answer a question. Another highlight of the internship is seeing students go beyond what they are asked to do, like when I ask them to read one sentence but they end up reading the entire page."
Claudia H., Spring 2021 Virtual Intern, New Hampshire
"The highlights of my internship were learning about each student's country, because they were very enthusiastic to share about their culture, and I feel that I was able to gain a better appreciation for the traditions of each country. I really enjoyed this program because it allowed me to improve both my Spanish and my English teaching skills, and it also allowed me to learn more from students all over the world."
Kate F., Spring 2021 Virtual Intern, Georgia
"I believe that this has been one of the most valuable experiences I have ever had. My best moment was when one of my students wrote a paragraph to us describing how much of an honor it was to be part of the program."
Maya D., Spring 2021 Virtual Intern, British Columbia
Outreach360 is pleased to announce today the creation of the Outreach360 Virtual English Academy. The Virtual English Academy is a rigorous year-round Monday-Friday virtual after-school program that provides unique and valuable educational, leadership, and service opportunities to children and youth in Latin America. It requires a high level of commitment in return. The program offers daily English instruction and a variety of enrichment activities conducted in English and Spanish designed to motivate students to commit to the program and expand their horizons.
The program is offered at no cost to the Latin American families it serves and involves virtual volunteers primarily from the United States and Canada to fundraise, teach and or lead activities. As students age in the program, there are different leadership and service requirements which may include lead teaching or leading an enrichment activity alongside international volunteers.
The Outreach360 Virtual English Academy will begin in the Fall of 2021. Current Outreach360 virtual students who have demonstrated a commitment to regular attendance, in-class participation, and completed homework will be invited to apply to the Virtual English Academy, along with new students.
Several Virtual English Academy volunteer positions will be available including:
Lead Teacher – volunteers with multiple years of education work experience able to commit approximately 3 hours/day, Monday - Friday.
English Teacher – volunteers with the ability to commit approximately 3 hours/day, Monday - Friday. Minimum high school diploma or equivalent required.
English Enrichment Volunteer and Spanish Enrichment Volunteer - volunteers with the ability to commit approximately 75 minutes/day, one day per week, Monday - Thursday. Must be 13 years of age or older.
All volunteers are selectively chosen after completing an application and interview process. Volunteers should be passionate about fulfilling Outreach360’s mission of inspiring and empowering people to reach their full potential and give back by expanding educational, leadership, and service opportunities. (Volunteer Details)
Concurrent with the announcement of the Virtual English Academy, Outreach360 is announcing that our in-country learning centers and in-country volunteer program are being discontinued. Outreach360’s full focus will be on our Virtual English Academy students and volunteers.
The primary reasons for this shift are:
Increased Student Participation: Whereas our Learning Center students were limited to a small geographic area immediately surrounding our two Learning Centers in the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua, motivated students from throughout Latin America are able to attend our Virtual English Academy. In the spring of 2021, students from 11 different Latin American countries joined us.
Increased Volunteer Participation: Whereas our in-country volunteer program was limited to those individuals able to travel to the Dominican Republic or Nicaragua and commit a minimum of one week of their time, Virtual English Academy volunteers committed to helping fulfill Outreach360’s mission can actively be working with our students with a minimum of just 75 minutes a week. Age restrictions on volunteers are reduced, and physical limitations have little or no bearing on a volunteer’s ability to fully participate in Outreach360’s program.
Improved Program Quality and Mission Fulfillment: The learning and teaching environment in Outreach360’s virtual program has proven to be superior to that of our Learning Center programs. This will provide increased results with a stronger return on limited resources.
Reduced External Risk: Outreach360’s in-country Learning Centers and in-country volunteer programs were regularly subjected to and experienced external risks including political instability, disease outbreaks, health pandemics, and natural disasters. Our Virtual English Academy is much less at-risk to these interruptions in our program.
Decreased Environmental Impact: The carbon impact of learning and teaching virtually is significantly less than volunteers flying each year to the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua to teach for one week.
In summary, we believe the move to a virtual learning platform offers several strategic advantages over in-country teaching.
Nearly 25,000 volunteers participated in Outreach360 programs in the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua over the past 25 years. We thank each volunteer and each donor for the difference they have made. You have had a significant impact on thousands of children.
We also thank the 350+ virtual volunteers who have joined us since April of 2020. You have been instrumental in helping Outreach360 transition from a physical learning environment to a virtual learning environment.
The Virtual English Academy is Outreach360’s exciting next step in our program evolution. We look forward to continuing our partnership with you as together we inspire and empower people to reach their full potential and give back by expanding educational, leadership, and service opportunities.