The past few months have been extremely busy at The Mariposa Center for Girls. In April we welcomed families, community leaders and members, and special out-of-town guests to officially inaugurate the Julia Alvarez Children's Library and the Minou Mirabal Teaching Kitchen. Acclaimed author, Julia Alvarez and her family joined us for a a very special week of celebration and volunteering with the girls, reading, doing crafts and helping to prepare them for a spectacular Earth Day performance. Representatives from the US Embassy, the Mirabal Family, donors, community leaders and friends of Mariposa all came together for a ribbon cutting ceremony and special performances by the Mariposa girls.
The Julia Alvarez Children's Library is painted with beautiful murals depicting memorable scenes from Julia Alvarez's stories and features hundreds of the best Children's books in both Spanish and English. This cozy, inviting space helps girls in our programs to foster a love of reading and encourages creativity and imagination. During this week of celebration we also officially opened the Minou Mirabal Teaching Kitchen. Tourism and hospitality is the biggest contributor to the local economy in our town of Cabarete and we want our girls to be prepared for success in the workplace. Many of them grow up with basic cooking skills as this is one of their many responsibilities in the home. In the teaching kitchen we can inspire and teach them to think outside of the box, further develop a skill many of them already have and inspire them to learn about nutrition and how to prepare international cuisine from all over the world!
The Julia Alvarez Children's Library and Minou Mirabal Teaching Kitchen are just two of the many dedicated spaces we have at The Mariposa Center for Girls. Each area of the Center is named after a Dominican or Haitian woman who is a positive role model for young women. Some of the women featured are famous and some of them are extraordinary local community leaders and parents. As girls learn and play at The Mariposa Center for Girls, they will be surrounded by imagery and information about powerful women to inspire them to become agents for positive change in their families, communities and the world.
We have lots of exciting updates planned to the Center in the coming months and we look forward to sharing more with you soon.
The girls, families, volunteers and staff at The Mariposa DR Foundation
It's been a very exciting Spring at The Mariposa DR Foundation. Joined by some very special local and international guests, we spent an entire week celebrating Earth Day with some spectacular performances, presentations on solar panels and the importance of sustainable energy, and various art projects, all done by our Mariposa girls!
Acclaimed author and Mariposa honorary chairwoman, Julia Alvarez and her family, joined us for the week as volunteers to help with the preparations for the big performance. The girls worked hard preparing costumes and skits on composting, waste and environmental consciousness, crafting costumes made entirely from recycled materials such as newspapers and plastic bottles. The older girls did a presentation on solar energy and what they have learned from the solar panels installed at The Mariposa Center for Girls. Part of the program for the past year has been understanding and explaining how this technology works and how it can benefit the entire community.
The girls performed a series of skits, highlighting the differences between organic and inorganic materials and how we can preserve the earth by reducing our use of inorganic material because it does not decompose quickly and can hurt our natural resources. All of the girls painted ceramic pots filled with dirt and seeds to bring home to their families so that they will all have a plant growing in their home to reflect on, and be proud of what they have learned.
A returning volunteer, Tori, who joined us for the festivities wrote in her blog "I was lucky enough to sit in on one of their renewable energy classes and saw how much passion and determination these girls have. The Mariposa girls know their potential; it is clear by how they talk about wanting to go to university to be pediatricians, seismologists, flight attendants and a whole host of ideas. The older girls have really taken to this renewable energy course, as it offers possibilities for sustainable energy in their town, which so desperately needs it. They have also been able to see the positive effects of the solar panels in their own Center on a daily basis, so this develops their interest in bringing sustainable energy to Cabarete.
Thank you for supporting our passion for environmental education!
We're excited to tell you more about the new space we have been working on at The Mariposa Center for Girls. Thanks to a generous sponsorship by the Garretson family and volunteers from Lawrence Academy, the Minou Mirabal teaching kitchen is almost ready! In March a group of enthusiastic volunteers from Lawrence Academy brought us one step closer to finishing the Minou Mirabal Tavarez Teaching Kitchen by building our very own pizza oven! With help from a local expert they constructed an oven where we will be able to make our own delicious pizza. What girl doesn’t love a pizza party? Besides making special treats for our girls we hope to have the oldest girls utilize the pizza oven as part of our restaurant training program to gain valuable job skills.
This summer we will expand our job skills development opportunities and provide cooking classes and hospitality training to girls that are intersted in pursuing this path. Tourism and hospitality is the number one industry in the Dominican Republic and is growing rapidly. This can be a great career option for many of our girls. In additional to cooking classes teaching girls to prepare international dishes, training for this track will also include English classes, administrative management and other skills that would enable girls to work in a leadership position or start their own business.
Many of the girls in our program have been cooking since a very young age, as adolescent girls take on many of the domestic responsibilities at home. Strengthening the skills they already have and helping them understand how to leverage them to create a viable career is very empowering. 14 year old Vivianna says "Cooking is my favorite chore that I have to do at home. At Mariposa I have learned to grow food and I can't wait to learn how to prepare different dishes from around the world. I would like to own my own restaurant one day".
We look forward to updating you on the final touches to the teaching kitchen and the kickoff of our culinary program this summer. None of this would be possible without your generosity and we thank you for your support.