41°
UMass Boston's independent, student-run newspaper

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

3-4-24 PDF
March 4, 2024
2-26-24 PDF
February 26, 2024
An inside look at Bobby B. Beacon’s insides. Illustrated by Bianca Oppedisano/ Mass Media Staff.
Bobby's Inside Story
February 26, 2024

Interview With Catriona Grant on Beacon Voyages

Cartriona Grant is the leader of the Beacon Voyages Dominiccan Republic trip
Facebook
Cartriona Grant is the leader of the Beacon Voyages Dominiccan Republic trip

English is one of the most widely used languages in the world today. During the upcoming Spring Break, a group of UMB volunteers for Beacon Voyages for Service, a program set up by the Office of International and Transnational Affairs to help UMB students to learn about the world through acts of charity for people in need, will be traveling to the Caribbean state of the Dominican Republic to teach this versatile and practical language to orphaned boys and girls through Orphanage Outreach, a charitable organization that has been helping the children of the city of Monte Cristi in the Dominican Republic since the May of 1994. Can you tell me something about Orphanage Outreach and its history? Tom Eklund, the current executive director, founded Orphanage Outreach while working with a medical missions group, Flying Doctors of America, in 1994, after he and colleagues found the Hope of a Child Orphanage in Monte Cristi. They saw that the orphanage was struggling to provide the basic necessities to the children in their care and decided to do something about it. Orphanage Outreach was incorporated in 1995 through the efforts of the volunteers and donors that have been banding together to make a difference. Since the inception, over 10,000 short-term volunteers have worked with Orphanage Outreach and its mission to “transform individuals, families, communities, and countries through the education and development of orphaned, abandoned, and disadvantaged children.” The Orphanage Outreach has primarily focused on ensuring that the orphanage’s basic necessities – particularly in their educational development resources – has provided for in terms of preparing the children for a bountiful future.  What are the goals and/or purpose of this trip? Beacon Voyages for Service aims to provide UMB students with a unique opportunity to engage in global social problems. Our trip in particular confronts under-resourced youth and education. The volunteer program, set up by Orphanage Outreach, during this year’s Spring Break is focused, primarily, on teaching English in the local schools and at the Orphanage Outreach English Institute. What’s the state of education in the Dominican Republic and how will your trip help? The education system in the Dominican Republic is very meager in terms of the resources allocated to providing a sufficient source of educators. Orphanage Outreach’s program is designed to complement the current curriculum provided by the public school system by teaching English to the students. English is a requirement in the local schools, but there are few teachers who know it, especially in the rural areas where Orphanage Outreach works. Knowledge of the English language is a pathway to educational and career opportunities. One of the primary missions of Orphanage Outreach is that each graduating high school senior in the Monte Cristi area is conversational in English. Can you briefly explain who is going on this trip and what they will be doing? Ten UMB students and I will be going on this trip in the care of Jennifer Goode, a staff member of the Office of International and Transnational Affairs. We will be teaching and tutoring English to both the children, who live in the orphanage, and children within the Monte Cristi area. Our lesson plan will include teaching basic vocabulary classes that cover colors, numbers, parts of the body, weather, etc… Has UMB done this before? This Alternative Spring Break to Dominican Republic is one of the first international alternative break trips to be run through the Beacon Voyages for Service program. We hope it to be the first of many trips that UMass Boston students will take to Monte Cristi.  How do the trip participants benefit? Students will gain a better knowledge of themselves and the world around them as they learn the value of service. Benefits of this trip will span beyond just the participants. Upon returning to UMB, students will have the opportunity to share their experience with the university community through a presentation night. 

About the Contributor
Dillon Zhou served as opinions editor for The Mass Media the following years: 2010-2011