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Complete: English Tutoring in The Dominican Republic: $3,000 Raised! THANK YOU.

9 January 2015 9 Comments

Our goal was to raise $3000+

$3,000 Raised. THANK YOU!  Stay tuned for photos and updates.

Everyone donating at least $10 to this project was automatically entered into our 2014 Holiday Raffle.

In many countries knowing English can greatly change an individual’s future by opening up new job opportunities and furthering their education.  The English as a Second Language (ESL) Program is a 12 month program, proposed for implementation in both Santiago and Santo Domingo within the Dominican Republic.  Each student’s tuition and expenses costs approximately $200 USD.  It was our goal to fund as many students as possible with a minimum of 15 students for an overall goal of $3000All projects on the Aura’s House site are 100% US tax deductible and 100% of donations go to our projects.  Learn More

ESL students, Emily and Rafael

ESL students, Emily and Rafael

Say hello to Saeida Checo Gómez – Future Doctor


Saeida is 17 years old and lives with her parents and two brothers, Javier (16) and Saul (12).  She has already finished high school and is currently a college student at UASD (Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo).  Saeida’s biggest dream is to become a doctor and is particularly interested in psychology.  As a doctor, Saeida will be required to speak English.  She wants to grow and she believes that English is an essential part of that growth.

Learn more about Saeida and meet more students you will be helping, including Ray and Danilda.

Mike Takes on The Grand to Grand Ultra Race September 2014

You can't even imagine what Mike is going to do to make sure this project succeeds!

You can’t even imagine what Mike did to make sure this project succeeds!

For this project Aura’s House Partner, Mike Epler, competed in a long range challenge project to bring awareness to the English Tutoring needs for children who are part of Children International’s program in The Dominican Republic.  You might remember that Mike spearheaded a similar community project last year to help hundreds of children from Little Rock, Arkansas get free preventive dental check-ups. Read more about how Mike runs to raise awareness and funds while also displaying super human feats of strength and endurance.

Mike recently trained and ran in the 273KM self supported 7 day Grand to Grand Stage Race, one of the Top 9 Toughest Ultramarathons, on September 21, 2014, to raise awareness and funds through matching challenges.  No funds from this fundraising went towards the stage race but rather 100% of donations went towards the prospective students in The Dominican Republic.  Read about how the race went.

The ESL Program is implemented through a set of four modules, generally covering the topics below.  Funding covers the following costs: administration; teachers; student transportation cost; refreshments at student activities; textbooks; dictionaries; office supplies; and a Graduation Ceremony.  Student awards are given at the end of each module to increase motivation.  Additionally during special occasions students will be engaged in a debate regarding the holiday.


Recent Graduates from last year's ESL program

Recent Graduates from last year’s ESL program

Module 1 – Conversation:

  • Introduction & Greetings
  • Discussing Places and Activities
  • Making Suggestions
  • Providing Directions
  • Asking About and Providing Personal Information
  • Asking about Family
  • Conveying Likes & Dislikes
  • Expressing Approval and Disapproval
  • Speaking about Home Life and Past Events
  • Discuss Individual Occupations

Module 2 – More Conversation:

  • Discussing Common Dress, Personality, Past Activities
  • Giving and Following Directions
  • Making an Offer
  • Expressing a Decision, Preference, Opinion, Agreement, Disagreement
  • Taking Immediate Actions and Setting Achievements
  • Discussing Weather


Module 3 – More Conversation, Adjectives with Negative Prefixes:

  • Introducing Yourself to a Group
  • Making Suggestions
  • Talking about Rules, Planning, Summer Plans
  • Ordering Food and Drinks
  • Discussing Location, Sports Teams, School Duties
  • Common Adjectives and Antonyms
  • Adjectives with Negative Prefixes


Module 4 – Active Listening and Speaking

  • Active Conversational Listening and Speaking
  • Asking for Information on Transportation
  • Confirming Information
  • Expressing Grief
  • Making Comparisons
  • Talk about Future Possibilities in Technology
  • Request Information and Clarification
  • Understanding the Main Idea of a Text
  • Understanding Another Culture
  • Talk with Native English Speakers
  • Building Vocabulary using Visualization
  • Writing Objectives

Post Module Completion will include attending a Weekly Conversation Club:

  • Discuss Topics in English
  • Watch English Movies and Videos
  • Listen to English Songs

For full certification, a final exam is administered and scored for each student.

More information on Children International’s past ESL Programs can be found at the links below:

This project is now complete, but please consider helping another worthy child, family, or community through one of our
current active projects.


  • Sabrina said:

    LOVE those matching fund drives! Not to mention someone who is willing to shed “blood, sweat and tears” (literally–an ultra-marathon??) to inspire people to donate. Last, but not least, there is the importance of education to poor kids. This one’s got everything. I hope it is incredibly successful so that as many kids as possible may benefit.

  • Sabrina said:

    I wish everyone’s boss gave matching funds to worthy projects like these. You’ve got a great employer, Mike!

  • Sabrina said:

    I know that there could be a lot going on in your lives, but I really think it would increase the donations if the “totals donated” were updated more regularly. Lately, it seems, two weeks or more often go by without an update. That makes it look like the project has not progressed.

  • Kristen said:

    Sorry. Children International were delayed with the spreadsheet and there were no recent donations this past week. Next spreadsheet comes out tomorrow. I have no one helping me at the moment. Life has taken over for the other partners. You are always on the ball though and dedicated to children. Might you be interested in volunteering/ becoming a partner? I could use the help and I think you’d be excellent. Think about it. If so, drop me a line at kpalana (at) aurashouse.com 🙂

  • Sabrina said:

    I love the idea of double-matching donations for the DR students learning English. But I wonder if there is any confusion among donors re: how much their donations actually are worth?

    I am pretty sure that as long as the total raised so far is under $1500, my donation would be multiplied by 3 (i.e., $10–>$30). But I still catch myself thinking, “$48 to cover the next student–I don’t have that much.” Would, then, $16 double-matched cover that amount?

    Or, if it’s getting near $500, “maybe the match won’t work and it will be just dollar-for-dollar.” Likewise, if it costs $200 for each student, would a donation of $67 (once double-matched) do the trick?

    This fundraiser is a brilliant and inspired idea, but I think clarifying the wording a bit would make it easier to understand and I think it would inspire and increase the # of donations.

  • Sabrina said:

    Hi, I was wondering, when is the due date for the funds that are raised? I don’t see it in the post. It would be helpful to know.

  • Mike Epler (author) said:

    Sorry for not replying earlier to Sabrina’s question. Donation matching challenges works like this, a person says they will donate an amount as a challenge, their company matches their personal donation and if the project raises that amount the match completes by all parties. So for this project I personally put up $500 and my company matches $500, so for the first $500 donated by other supporters of this project brings the total donated to $1500, 50% of the overall goal. Right now there is no due date on the matching. It hasn’t been something that we felt was needed as we feel people should donate what they can when they can.

    Thanks for your interest in this project.

    Mike Epler
    Partner, Aura’s House

  • Kristen said:

    Hi Sabrina and Mike. Sorry. I am only seeing these comments now myself. The matching challenge went from Jan. to April 2014. I apologize for the confusion. I’m in touch with Mike to see if he wants to do another raffle or something else for this project. Will keep you posted. Best, K

  • Kristen said:

    …aaaaaand DONE! Thanks so much to all who supported this project. Special kudos go to Mike Epler whom made this project possible and never gave up until it funded! You’re amazing!

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