Our Volunteer Guide to the
Depending on the time of year, the number of volunteers on-site, the weather for the week, and any unique opportunities that present themselves throughout the year, every day and week with Outreach360 can look very different. That's why we like to emphasize that there is no typical weekly or daily schedule at Outreach360. One week we could have 20 volunteers while the next week we could have upwards of 200. Sometimes the schools are running normally and sometimes school gets canceled last minute because of the weather. This is why our volunteer principle, Be Flexible and Creative, is such an important one to embrace.
That being said, you might expect your volunteer week to consist of a day of travel to our site on Saturday, a full orientation day on Sunday, Monday-Thursday will be direct-service days, and Fridays are usually reserved for a chance to learn more about the culture and history of the region, as well as a trip to the beach. Most volunteers travel home on Saturday.
You might expect a daily schedule to consist of:
8:30-9:00: Walk to Teaching Site
11:30-12:00: Walk to Volunteer Center
12:30-1:45: Educational Talk/Siesta/Free Time
1:45-2:00: Walk to Volunteer Teaching Site
4:30-5:00: Walk to Volunteer Center
5:00-6:00: Free Time
7:00-9:00: Cultural Activity/Volunteer Games
9:00-10:00: Free Time (Good time for Team Reflection)
10:00: Quiet Time (Lights off in sleeping areas)
The best way to prepare for the trip is to thoroughly read this Volunteer Guide and do what it says: arrive at the airport with an open heart and mind, be flexible to adapt to what comes at you, be creative in utilizing your skills and talents, and be happy! As volunteers, we often want to go into an experience like this with extensive planning and preparation, knowing where and when you'll be at every point of the trip, and setting expectations before even arriving in-country
The truth is that when you become so focused on what you will do to make a difference, you are likely to miss out on all of the incredible moments you could have never planned for. People in the Dominican Republic live much more day-to-day, taking each moment as it comes. They are much more mindful in how they approach being in the moment, as opposed to planning for something they will be doing. This lesson is perhaps the greatest gift the community of Monte Cristi could give you if you are willing to accept it.
Former Outreach360 Leader, Dale Johnson, explains it this way:
"I believe what we offer is a lesson in how to adapt to a third world environment in which time, space, and expectations are radically different from the world our volunteers know. This does not mean that they should not be prepared. What they must be prepared to do, though, is give up their reliance on preparation once they get here. The whole point of coming to a place like this is to become vulnerable to a new experience and alive to new possibilities and strengths they discover within them. There would be nothing worse than a person coming here with a lesson plan in hand and an exact methodology. If carried out, the person would have only taught the lesson plan and not the child. He would have only practiced what he already knew and never discovered something new."
So, we invite you to relax a little in regards to preparation for the trip. At the same time, be prepared to share your skills and talents and interests with the kids. If you’re a musician, bring an instrument or a song you’d like to teach the kids (English or Spanish). If you juggle, be ready to teach the kids. If you’re an artist, think of some projects you might do with the kids. If you love science, bring a science book to share with the kids, or bring some ideas for small science experiments. If you know judo, be prepared to lead some judo classes with the kids.